Looking at the Past and Reflecting on the Present

Posted by martin.parnell |

As I sat here thinking about the past year, I decided to take a look at events that have happened on this day, January 8th, over previous years. Here are just a few examples of some that I found, as listed by onthisday.com 

  • 1790- President George Washington delivers first State of the Union
  • 1877- Crazy Horse fights final battle
  • 1946- Elvis Presley receives his first guitar
  • 1962- Mona Lisa exhibited in Washington 

It struck me that there are often times that things occur that are so profound, they are remembered as historical events even though they may not affect everyone and some that occur that may not affect us at the time, but may resonate, in the future. 

When Crazy Horse led his starving people to Fort Robinson on the Red Cloud Agency in north-western Nebraska, he had reluctantly led them to life on a reservation where most indigenous peoples still find themselves today. When Elvis Presley was given his first guitar, who knew how this might lead him to becoming one of the best-known entertainers of all time? There aren’t many people who wouldn’t recognise the Mona Lisa and her famous smile. 

I then decided to take a look at some events which occurred on tomorrow’s date, January 9th and found an equally varied selection: 

  • 1431- Judges' investigations for the trial of Joan of Arc in Rouen, France, the seat of the English occupation government.
  • 1760- Afghans defeat Marathas in battle of Barari Ghat. 
  • 1909- Ernest Shackleton as part of the British Nimrod Expedition reaches a record farthest South latitude (88°23' south) 
  • 1941- 6,000 Jews exterminated in pogrom in Bucharest, Romania
  • 2007- Apple Inc CEO Steve Jobs launched the iPhone

I found it interesting to note how some of the issues mentioned can relate to more recent events, e.g.  there is still fighting and unrest in Afghanistan and Catalonia is fighting for independence from Spain.

On 12 September, we saw updates to the iPhone, Apple Watch and Apple TV, as well as the 10th anniversary iPhone X, with its brand-new virtually full-screen OLED design  and NASA’s Juno spacecraft is orbiting Jupiter.

And so, as I look to the future, I wonder what events will occur that will have my grandchildren looking back on, in their futures, as news-worthy or life-changing.

With ever-advancing technology, the world is communicating as it never has done before and yet, sadly, some people find it easier to send a text then to sit and have a face-to-face conversation and many of us have to make a concerted effort to live active lifestyles.

In business, we are constantly seeing new innovations which affect the way we work and feel the need to chase increasingly-challenging goals. Changes occur and events happen on a daily basis, both personally, nationally and globally.

We may not all be history-makers, but, in our own ways, we can make a difference. Whether it’s doing something to help ease the life of someone else, by making their working conditions more pleasant, spending some of our spare time volunteering or just being there when someone we know needs a hand or someone to talk to, to others, our actions can prove to be not just memorable, but life-changing.

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