At ninety, I shall penetrate the mystery of things

It is my 48th birthday today. That doesn’t sound like a milestone, but consider this: 47 rounds to mid-forties, while 48 clearly rounds to 50. That’s a big jump!

In The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success (which I picked up thanks to Vinod Khosla’s 2019 Book Recommendations), Albert-László Barabási writes about what he’s learned from studying the relationship between success and age. His conclusion is poetic:

Stubborn creativity, combined with a John Fenn-like tenacity, not only gives our lives their essential meaning, it also — as the data shows — provides the true secret to career-long success. That is what not only most effectively binds what we do with who we are but also explains why the people we most admire are those who recognize that while life may be finite, age is nothing more than a set of opportunities to celebrate with our friends.

I also love this quote he takes from Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai:

All I have produced before the age of seventy is not worth taking into account. At seventy-three I have learned a little about the real structure of nature. When I am eighty I shall have made still more progress. At ninety, I shall penetrate the mystery of things. At one hundred I shall have reached a marvelous stage, and when I am one-hundred-ten, everything I do, whether it be a dot or a line, will be alive.

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“The Great Wave off Kanagawa” by Katsushika Hokusai via Wikimedia Commons

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