I’ve got a bit of an issue with articles that proclaim that the golden age of something or the other is over. (I saw one recently proclaiming that the golden age of American dining was over.)
I get that stream of thought when it comes to specific brands or technologies. For example, I don’t think any of us would disagree that The Golden Age of the Walkman is pretty much done and dusted. Or that The Golden Age of Atari is essentially behind us.
But it’s always a stretch to suggest that for broader categories such as dining or television or news, etc. Because for every moment when a traditional player in a medium wanes, a new evolution emerges. As we got comfortable (perhaps jaded?) with mainstream television, HBO emerged and changed the landscape, forcing traditional networks to up their game.
The point is, it all depends on our perspective on stability versus change. If we find success in an endeavor and expect things to never change, that we need not evolve, perhaps even breaking our own status quo intentionally, then we are sure to suffer.
But if we go to work with a mindset of constant evolution, that it’s inevitable that how we do something today must change tomorrow and, in fact, that we force some sort of change on a periodic basis, then we’re far more likely to stay relevant, focused and successful.
Because, to quote an overused business cliche, change is our only constant. Once we find success, we have a finite period of time before something else comes along to alter the way things are done. Evolution is inevitable.
And to expect things to stay the same indefinitely, to not take steps to ensure our own evolution, to not believe that there’s a better way out there, is foolish.
So it isn’t about Golden Ages - the term feels like a romanticized notion for those who can’t let go, who wish for something different, who don’t want to change. Because change is inevitable.
It’s about never taking where we are for granted, so that we do get to define our path forward, knowing that our golden age cannot and, will not, be static.