Derek Sivers
from the book “How to Live”:

Here’s how to live: Value only what has endured.


The longer something lasts, the longer it will probably last.
Something that’s been around for a year will probably be around for another year.
Something that’s been around for fifty years will probably be around for another fifty years.

Only the strong survive, so what’s still here after decades is proven to be well-made and well-loved.
The longer something lasts, the more people know and depend on it, solidifying its place in our world.
Only these proven things are worth your time and attention.

Think back to ten years ago.
Remember the technologies that the media were hyping as the future?
How many lasted?
It’s hard to remember because we haven’t heard of most of them since then.
They didn’t stand the test of time.

Old technologies aren’t exciting because they aren’t changing as fast.
But they’re more important.
Cryptocurrency versus water filtration.
Virtual reality versus air conditioning.
Which gets more media attention?
Which is more important?

The media focuses on what’s new, because that’s what pays.
Their attention makes new things seem important.
But only time will tell.

New things have some benefits but deeper downsides like addiction, pollution, scattered focus, or wasted time.
The marketing shouts the benefits and hides the harm.
But the benefits rarely outweigh the downsides.
Only time will tell.

The pleasure of buying a new thing disappears in days, even hours.
So much misery comes from indulgences in current junk.

So the way to live is to ignore everything new.
All of it.
Let the test of time filter everything.
Value only what has endured.

Ignore all marketing and advertising.
Nobody is pushing what really matters.
Friendships, nature, family, learning, community.
The best things in life aren’t things.

Ignore all news.
If it’s important, there will eventually be a good book about it.
When people ask you about current news, proudly have no opinion.
Admit you’ve given it no thought at all — and don’t plan to — because it’s not important.
Indulging is common.
Refraining is rare.

The world of news is noisy, because they have to hype it.
They try to get you to pay attention to something that’s not actually important.
They create a false sense of urgency, social status, fear, shock, or any tricks possible to manipulate your psychological triggers, and ultimately help them profit.
By contrast, the truly important things are quiet.
Life is incredibly peaceful when you shut out the noise.

The modern life is shallow and distracted.
The timeless life is deep and focused.

Live in the past.
Watch the greatest movies of all time.
Read the classics.
Listen to the legends.
These things have lasted because they work so well.
Time is the best filter.

What technologies have the best future?
The ones with the best past.
Be the last to adopt a technology, after it’s cheaper, better, and no longer changing.
Pity the early adopters, exploring the pitfalls, like the first mouse caught in the mousetrap.
Technology advances faster than wisdom.
It’s smarter to move at wisdom’s pace.
Don’t buy a bandage unless you have a wound.

When you need a coat, table, or house, find one old and used.
They’re incredibly well-crafted — sturdier and more beautiful than anything new.
They’ll outlive you.

Before trying to improve something old, find out why it is the way it is.
Never assume people in the past were ignorant.
They did it that way for good reasons.
Study the past — understand Chesterton’s fence — before thinking you know better.

Study history, tradition, and culture.
Get to know places that haven’t been homogenized by globalization.
When a person loses their memory, they lose their sanity.
When a culture loses its traditions, it loses its sanity too.
The world is acting crazy because it doesn’t know who it is anymore.

Move to a small self-sufficient town that has resisted modernization — ideally an untouched place that hasn’t changed in a hundred years, and won’t change in a hundred more.
Spend time outside.
Find happiness and perspective in nature.
It reminds you that you don’t need anything the modern world is pushing.
Everything they’re shouting about will soon be gone.

Learn time-tested skills that were just as useful in your grandparents’ time as they are today.
Speaking, writing, gardening, accounting, persuasion, and survival skills.
These skills have hardly changed in a century.
They’re unlikely to change in your lifetime.

Master the fundamentals, not new tricks.
Learn the timeless aspects of your craft.
This knowledge will never lose its value.
In any given field, learn the oldest thing still around, since it’s the one most likely to last.

Become a geologist.
You’ll measure things in millions of years.
Your timeline will be so long that mountains seem fluid.
The whole modern world will seem like a sandcastle, built and washed away in a single day.

And so, by ignoring the new, you will improve your life in every way.
Better investment of your time.
Better peace of mind.
Better quality items and entertainment.
Better skill set.
Better perspective.
Better everything.

The best way to live is to value only what has endured.