Since we lead a very finite existence on this Earth, it is important to consider what sort of impact you will have on future generations. It’s nice to collect new toys and buy the latest gadgets, but you can’t really take these with you to the grave. It is far more important to think about whether you are making a difference and how you will be remembered. How can you leave your permanent stamp on the world?
I don’t recall exactly where I heard or read this quote, but it expresses one way that you can effectively achieve immortality: To write is to live forever. Some of the greatest men (and women) that this world has ever seen will be remembered for their words. President John F. Kennedy told us not to ask what our country can do for us, but rather what we can do for our country. Playwright William Shakespeare asked us whether a rose, by any other name, would smell just as sweet.
While I certainly don’t expect to reach the same level of importance or fame as these two fine gentlemen, I want to think that I am making some sort of impact on the rest of the world through my words, if only in a small way. Perhaps you found some value in my top blog posts, learning to use search engines more effectively or reading about why dot com moguls eat from a toilet. Whether it be entertainment or education, words can be incredibly powerful.
While writers in the past may have scribbled their thoughts onto a piece of parchment, most writers these days find themselves sitting in front of a computer keyboard, allowing the words to flow through their fingers. In the past, that piece of parchment could have easily been lost, damaged, or destroyed in some way. By contrast, anything that you post on the Internet will live forever. Even if you delete it from your own online storage space, your content has already been cached by Google, “borrowed” by a scraper, and otherwise reproduced elsewhere on the web. Once it’s there, it’s there forever. The same can be said about your tweets on Twitter.
As cliche as it may sound, the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. A “simple” decree from the higher-ups can end a war. Those words hold weight. To a lesser extent, blogging is valuable to freelancers too, because those blog posts simultaneously serve as an evolving portfolio and a snapshot in time. Each blog post can capture your exact thoughts in that exact moment. My ambition is to maintain this blog in some shape or form, right up to my deathbed. That is a part of my contribution to the world.
If you’re lucky, you’ll spend 80 years or more booting around on this planet. If you’re motivated, your words will live on forever.