As my friends all know, I have a Hamilton problem. I'm not listening to it as much now, but as one of the more exceptional pieces of art created in my lifetime (I don't think I'm overselling it), it sure has opened up a lot of things to think about in terms of history, finding our place in the world, the way our government works, the way we as humans affect each other. So I was struck by an interview that 60 Minutes re-aired and updated a bit with Lin-Manuel Miranda, when he mentioned that it's often the crossing of other people in our lives, in his case Alexander Hamilton, centuries after he died, that inspire us to be more. That's really profound.
Indeed, it's easy for most of us to encounter people and wonder, "What am I really doing with my life?" I've written countless times before that scope doesn't matter that much. I think that frankly if you can raise a child and not screw them up too much, you've already achieved one of the hardest things ever regardless of whether or not anyone recognizes you for it. But sometimes people still challenge you, whether it's in person, in books, in the past or the present. Sometimes the people may not even be real, as a work of fiction.
Like a lot of things in life, I don't believe that this is simply the result of randomness (though it may help). You can make this situation happen for yourself if you choose. I live by the idea that you're only as good as the people you surround yourself, so that's part of it. Beyond that, you seek out others who make things happen. You read books, especially more non-fiction. You study history and its most interesting people. There is a lot to draw on out there, but you have to want to see it.
If the world can get through the next decade or so, beyond all of the willful ignorance, the optimist in me sees a renaissance. Creative, driven people can and will solve problems. Knowledge, learning, science will be celebrated. I think our humanity depends on it, and we can be motivated to do it.