“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
I was born premature at 24 weeks, weighing
little more than a can of Coke, with chronic and lifelong challenges in speech,
breathing, and vision. For twenty years I couldn't say my own name, order a
meal, talk on the phone or make a joke. A month before starting HBS, I nearly
lost my vision altogether.
I don't have the answers. I cannot tell you
why I survived and millions of other babies didn't, why speech therapy helped
me more than it did others, why the eye surgeries held and left so many others
blind. The joy and wonder at having a chance is tempered every day by the guilt
and humility for those who don't.
There are two options: forge ahead, or pause
and rest. Life is a fragile balance of both, managing energy as well as time,
drawing inward in order to dispense outward. I wish for myself equanimity and
peace alongside the drive and restlessness to do justice to my own luck of
And for the times we choose to forge ahead, we
make the rules. The structures we are empowered and constrained by are designed
only by people, and thus can be improved by other people. I choose to spend my
life where these norms and institutions are still forming: the interface of
digital and physical. For it is in solving deep-set human needs at scale,
heightening others' delight, and ameliorating their pain that I can begin to
tackle my own.
— Aman Kumar
Each year we ask our classmates a straightforward, simple question taken from the lines of a poem by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Mary Oliver.
We share with you intimate and candid responses to this question, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
Concept and photography:
Tony Deifell, MBA '02
More Portrait Project
Harvard Business SchoolDillon HouseSoldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163