Well- even though it is hard for a regular applicant to REALLY identify “What really matters to him, and why?” primarily because not all of us are very well connected with our own existence- not many of us really have the bandwidth or time to identify if we are working for Significance, or admiration, or money, or authority or contribution- and this leads to very pedestrian responses. However, the most successful responses IMO have been the ones that in someway portrayed the intentions of the author to make an impact on people/surroundings. Faking this response does not work. I worked with an applicant from consulting Industry( Top 4), and his initial edits suggested that his prime purpose of life is to “DO GOOD FOR PEOPLE” –
Think about it- The word MOST in the question demands a superlative. If the most important thread of your life is philanthropy, you will not be working with a consulting firm helping companies restructure their supply chains.
I was amused when an investment banking applicant also suggested the same. I really liked this applicant as he was funny, and good to be with, and it was so easy to tell him that your answer SUCKS. 🙂
Go deep! Really introspect- go get DRUNK! Wake up with a Hangover- and think- if you cannot figure out- REPEAT. Be authentic with yourself. If you cannot figure out a strong response, your problem is not the STANFORD Essay. You have bigger problems. You really need to identify what is driving you in your life.