Earlier this year I read a book that was written in 1989, 30 years ago.
It’s made me realize how much of my thinking, writing, philosophy is developed for the here and now. It’ll will only be relevant for a couple years. How much knowledge am I amassing that’s irrelevant in three weeks?
On one hand, we’re on the cutting edge of a lot of cool things in technology such as AI, machine learning, autonomous cars, and 5G, but it’s also a reminder that a lot of what I do and how I think will be obsolete pretty soon. Remember when taking photos with your phone was radically new? Remember when you first started using a computer NOT connected with multiple cords — you had this thing called wireless.
Compare that to the book I’m starting — written 30 years ago — it’s still extremely relevant today. In fact, you could call at Evergreen. It was valuable 30 years ago, it is valuable today, and it will be valuable 30 years from now.
What are you doing today that will be valuable 30 years from now?
What are the contributions that I want to make? Sure, I want to make contributions that affect the here and now. However, I also want to make long lasting contributions. Leave a legacy, is what they call it. They want something that will last far beyond their own short life. They realize life is short and want to be remembered. And I guess, in a way, I want the same thing. I want to create something that has a long half-life. I don’t need to become Albert Einstein, Mohammed, Buddha, Alexander the Great…but I want my work to be meaningful.
I believe part of this is when I think about the “here and now,” I should not only find the specific momentary relevance , but define the underlying principles. An old Jewish proverb says there’s nothing new under the sun. On one hand, that’s honestly a little depressing because that means there’s really nothing new in life (sure we can make discoveries like whether there was water on Mars, a different type of frog in the Amazon rain forest, or something else. But it’s not like I can reinvent the second law of thermodynamics. That just is.). But there are certain underlying principles that can be rediscovered, explored in new ways, or taught to the next generation. Too often we put aside what is true and established for what is new and fleeting.
So as the memories of this book fade but the truths remain, I want to reflect upon the underlying principles I’m learning in my day-to-day life and how they relate to other fields, industries, and the future. Some things are evergreen, they were with your grandparents, your parents, you, and will be around for a long time. Don’t you want to know those truths too?