The Importance of History

Today’s post and historical header image are dedicated to my friend Asher, who dedicates so much effort into compiling the pictoral history of New York in “The Old NewYork Page” (

As a child I remember knowing who I was based on the people who were around me — my folks, my family, our neighbors, the little shops and market places we would go to, the weekend picnics and getaways, the shows we’d watch, the books we’d read, the conversations we’d have, the stories I was told…. Each of these experiences helped to build my “history” — to make me the person I am today.

Similarly, the places in which we live and work tend to have a long, rich history. For those who are just starting out, it may be helpful to engage in a historical “grounding” exercise to get to know how you fit into the larger scheme of things. Whether you work in New York on a daily basis or travel frequently, try to take in as much as possible about the space in which you work. Read up on the history, take in the sights, catch a special performance, walk around. Discover the person you are in that environment and what you can bring to it. Don’t be afraid to seek out productive opportunities as they present themselves to you.

Feeling like a specific environment’s not for you? This also happens from time to time. Sometimes apparent opportunities presented to us are not as fulfilling as we’d hoped they’d be. In such cases, those with a firm understanding of who they are will be strong enough to walk away and seek a alternate career path.