Some people say the biggest currency is money. Some would argue it’s time. Some would go to lengths to secure freedom.

But I like Jim Carrey’s answer when he gave his commencement address at Maharishi University of Management in 2014.

Here’s the video, and a short transcript to what I think is the crux of the matter:

I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.

It’s not the only thing he taught me though, you know.

I watched the effect of my father’s love and humor and how it altered the world around me and I thought: That’s something to do, that’s something worth my time.

It wasn’t long until I started acting up.

You know poeple would come over to the house and they’d be greeted by a 7 year old throwing himself down a large flight of stairs.

They’d say: What happened, and I’d say: I don’t know, let’s check the replay.

I’d go back to the top of the stairs and come back down in slow motion. It was a very strange household.

My father used to brag that I wasn’t a ham, I was the whole pig. He treated my talent as if it was his second chance.

When I was about 28 after a decade as a professional comedian, I realized one night in LA that the purpose of my life had always been to free people from concern, just like my dad.

And when I realized this, I dubbed my new devotion “The Church of Freedom From Concern” – the Church of FFC.

And I dedicated myself to that ministry. What’s yours?

How will you serve the world? What did they need that your talent could provide?

That’s all you have to figure out.

As someone who’s done what you’re about to go and do, I can tell you from experience, the effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is, because everything you gain in life will rot and fall apart, and all that is left of you is what was in your heart.” [about 13:40 in video]- Jim Carrey, Commencement Address in 2014 at Maharishi University of Management

I have to say he’s really a buffoon, a satirist, a slapstick all joined in one. I don’t think I will take him seriously when I meet him in person. But Jim Carrey, in the video above, explained what his comedy was all about — and he went on to deliver one of the most powerful speeches I’ve ever heard him speak.

And I finally understood him. And his humour.

I loved it. I love the fact that he has honed his craft to impact the world in ways that not many people would like (truthfully, his jokes were sometimes very lame) —  but he did make an impact: to make people smile.

Or laugh. And be free from concern.

As a teacher, coach, public speaker, and now, a scholar (I am completing my PhD by January 2016), I have always been reminded that my knowledge counts for nothing, if what I do with it has no other impact in the world. In the classroom, my students wouldn’t care if I had a PhD, but they can smell a genuine teacher from afar.

This is the quote by Theodore Roosevelt, a source I cannot verify though:

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Till then, find your passion… fuel it with a strong reason… and change the world.

For me, the biggest currency there is, is love.

© 2010 | EDMUND CHOW