Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Characteristics of a competent human being

What are the characteristics of a competent human being, a real man/woman?

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

Or in other words:
“If you can keep your head when all about you 
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools

If you can make one heap of all your winnings 
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!” 

― Rudyard KiplingIf: A Father's Advice to His Son


  1. I guessed that you were going to quote Heinlein when I read your title. You get an extra point if you've actually read that novel. ;p

  2. Great poem by Rudyard Kipling! Thank you for sharing it! The question that come in my mind about the two text, though, is how to get the time needed, considering the necessity of work to live... Congratulations for your blog! I read about it in the "Learning interface design" book, by Dorian Peters, and I´m also resarching about e-learning design in my MsC in Design here in Brazil. I have an english version of my blog too, which is this: Keep in touch. Best regard!