What barefoot running can teach us about leading a happier life

I was cleaning up an old hard drive recently and stumbled upon the video of an Ignite talk I gave almost 10 years ago. In the 5 minute presentation, I share some of the history & science behind barefoot running, and then connect that topic to broader issues of technology, consumerism, and happiness:

Apologies for the sound issues — obviously, younger Jeff didn’t know how to hold a mic properly…

What I find fascinating in watching it for the first time since then is:

  1. It’s refreshing how unaware I was of being in over my head— I had never given a talk before to 30 people, let alone 300 (as evidenced by my awkwardness in even figuring out where to stand, or how to the hold the mic), the Ignite presentation format is especially difficult (it’s a short amount of time & the slides automatically change every 15 seconds), and all the other speakers were more experienced & accomplished. Despite all that, 25 year old me thought “I have something to say — let’s do this thing”. Thank you, young Jeff, for the reminder to be bold and to take chances.
  2. My core belief system has not changed much since that point — I’ve learned so much and grown up in so many ways, yet the core of what I said — that we as a society often get too wrapped up in our ability to innovate, and end up trapped by the consumerist ecosystem around that — is still the topic I’d pick if I were to give a similar open-ended presentation today.

I’m sharing the video both because I (still) believe in the message, but also because I find this open-ended, video based format for retrospection intriguing.

If you were to pick any topic as the basis for a 5–10 minute presentation, solely based on the fact that it’s the thing that most interests or inspires you right now, what would you pick? Whatever it is, I bet your 10-year-from-now self would surely find it captivating for a whole number of reasons.

Depth over distance every time, my dear; And this tree of ours may grow tall in the woods

PS — as proof (of sorts), here’s a picture of my feet before the Charlottesville 10 miler in 2010:


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