“I literally could not come up with a better use for my time.”
I’ll never forget the phrasing of this sentence at the GEL 2010 conference, spoken by Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy. He was justifying why he had created the largest, most exhaustive library of free educational videos on the web (over 1100 ten-plus-minute videos), a kind of Librivox for education, but created by one man. Amazing.
Sal could not come up with a better use of his time. Watch the video below (click here if you can’t see it) to get an idea of what he’s about.
I spent five days in West Virginia in July studying MovNat, a natural way of moving and exercising (and possibly, thinking) founded by Erwan Le Corre and based in the Natural Method.Â While George Hebert’s slogan was “be strong to be useful,” Erwan’s slogan could be “be strong to be free.”
During these five days, Erwan and Vic would teach us to climb, swim, run, balance, and defend ourselves more effectively. We came away from it with a sense of increased competence, an understanding of our surroundings not only as scenery, but as environment. You come away with the impression that you can better help yourself and others. It’s a very strong, and addictive, feeling.
I think of this blog as one of the best uses of my time. I write to help me get ideas straight in my head, to help me understand myself and my surroundings better, to spread my ideas, and to help people in the best way that I know how. It literally is one of the best uses of my time. So is writing books.Â I can help a lot of people at a time, writing about the things I know better than others and spreading those ideas.
This is something everyone can do. You should know that understanding risk, knowing yourself and your abilities, and seeing the world as an environment instead of a corridor will help you become your best self. It’s so important that it should be taught in school. If you don’t learn it there, where better than starting with your body?
Physical competence is running faster than others, jumping over obstacles and not getting winded when you’re going up the stairs, or helping someone out of a burning building.
Social competence is understanding status and not being afraid of talking to people.
Emotional competence is not being stopped by your own flags.
When you have all of these, you are supremely useful, and you are close to being the best human being that you can be.Â You are also a Renaissance Man (or woman), the kind of person people remember for generations.
Shouldn’t this be everyone’s goal? Is it yours?