Call me crazy, but I enjoy taking tests. It’s like a showdown between me and the material (or in a hostile situation, me and the professor). Standardized tests are the same for me. It’s me and the test clashing in battle, and only one of us can emerge victorious. I love it. (This is part of the reason I want to be a professional student, but that’s a discussion for another time.)
When studying for standardized tests, I often see these instructions:
Choose the best answer.
That concept is key because for a multiple choice question, there can be several good answers. Many can be good, but only one can be best. The best answer is the one that must be selected.
In the same way, there can be many good uses for my time. Reading books, studying, listening to music, knitting… any of these could be good uses of time. However, at any given moment there can only be one way to make the best use of my time.
For example, last week I signed myself up for two classes through Coursera, a website that offers online classes from top universities for free. (If you have time you should definitely check it out. The courses are awesome.) I signed up for Think Again: How to Reason and Argue and Calculus 1. I love calculus, and I love the idea of learning how to create and recognize a good argument. While these things are great, Coursera courses aren’t the best way to use my time right now. My time is better spent searching for employment, writing, and brushing up on my Greek and Hebrew.
Considering my goals, I decided to drop both Coursera courses. I hope to take more courses though Coursera at some point, but now is not that time. I sacrificed what was good and choose to do what is best.
Minimalism is about choices. We choose to live with less. We choose freedom from clutter in our homes and in our schedules. We choose full lives over fashion. We choose to live intentionally. We choose the best uses of resources – our time, talent, and treasure. When presented with many good options, we choose only the best.