Focusing On The Timely vs. The Timeless

What’s timely is what’s going on in today’s news cycle, on Twitter, or in the media. What’s timeless is cyclical nature of news, of our compulsion to focus on (and magnify) the negatives, and the corruption of power.

What’s timely is what’s working according to today’s newest digital marketing best practices. What’s timeless is the way human beings behave, what they desire, and what they hope to avoid.

What’s timely are gas-powered cars. What’s timeless is the human want to get around freely and easily.

What’s timely are today’s technological revolutions—such as consumer VR. What’s timeless are the principles that guide them, as Kevin Kelly has laid out here.

To be an effective practitioner in the modern age in any craft, you need to fuse together a knowledge of the timely with the timeless. Because as the timely changes (economies, labor demands, fads, entertainment), you want to still have solid ground to stand on.

That is, if like me, you want to be a writer, you need to learn to communicate in clear and concise ways, tell powerful stories, and research well. But you also need to pay attention to the changing business landscape (traditional publishing is struggling). If the landscape experiences a big shift, you still want to have relevant skills to rely on.

Think of yourself as a submarine with the ability to drop below and rise to the surface.

Timely events are like waves, constantly changing based on the wind and weather patterns. The timeless lies beneath the surface, and goes unaffected by today’s currents.

If there’s a storm, it’s best to at least have the option to go underneath.

Kate Ward