Relevance Replaces Reverence.

August 19, 2020

Relevance Replaces Reverence.

May 29, 2023

A curmudgeon friend recently shrugged, “I hate change!” I responded without trying to be too cheeky, “You’ll probably hate irrelevance even more.”

Google replaced Grandpa and Grandma long ago. A kid has a question today, and they go online. Yes, we all know elders were once revered. Our kids and grandkids sat quietly at our feet while we dispensed what we thought was wisdom. The power hierarchy required young people to be “seen, but not heard.”

If you’re aspiring to be a revered elder today, the road is tricky. If you don’t know the context for the wisdom you want to share, you will likely sound like some version of “Back in my day, blah...blah...blah…” And nobody wants to be that guy. Truth is, nobody wants to listen to that guy.

Sharing wisdom requires relevance. So, what is relevance? It’s “the quality or state of being closely connected or appropriate.” And to be connected means you’re serving. And serving means understanding the circumstances and person you’re engaged with well enough to package your wisdom such that it’s relevant. Wisdom and relevance go full circle.

Steve Jobs once said, “Create relevance, not awareness.” In other words, relevance matters because it feels useful and germane. In another time and space, Jimi Hendrix said, “Knowledge speaks. Wisdom listens.” Put the two men together, and we come to see that the number one step toward being relevant is to listen. And once you’ve listened with compassion, your intuition will know how to make your wisdom and truth relevant to the other person.

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