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Only You

2 min

Here’s a thing that is both exhilarating and terrifying:

There are certain ideas only you can come up with.
There are things in this world –
Paintings, songs, books, concepts, speeches, organizations, businesses, products, romantic evenings, longing glances, buildings, achievements, inventions…
That will only exist if and when you decide to birth them.
They are completely and uniquely yours.
They are your responsibility.
This is not like saying “you could cure cancer one day, if you put your mind to it!”
Maybe that’s true, maybe it isn’t. I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell ain’t curing cancer anytime soon.
I’m not saying you can do anything. I’m saying there are some things that you can do that no one else can.
I know this to be true, no matter WHAT you think your capacity is.
Here’s how I know:
Right now, and for every moment of every day, you are being bombarded.
By ideas.
By statements.
By observations.
By sense data.
By thoughts.
By interactions.
Every moment, of every day, billions upon billons upon billions of bits of information are streaming through you, through your sense organs, into your brain.
And each of these bits, you process.
Some, you store away.
Some, you discard.
But every bit gets processed in some way.
How do we determine what to keep, and what to get rid of?
How do we determine what keeps us up at night, and what we forget?
That’s a function of you.
Your experiences to this point…
Your upbringing…
Your genetic disposition…
Your tastes and preferences…
Everything that makes you you, and not someone else.
The things that are unique.
The common pieces of human life that, combinatorially, make you an individual.
Somewhat like everyone, but exactly like no one.
Every day, this unique lens –
This filtering mechanism that exists solely inside your brain and your brain alone –
Filters this infinite stream of data, keeping some things, discarding others.
That, in and of itself, is pretty incredible.
But where do new ideas come from?
What is creativity, really?
It’s the combination of existing pieces.
The spotting of previously-undiscovered connections.
The archaeology of how things are alike and unlike.
As with any system, different inputs produce different outputs.
So if your base of information –
The things you believe are important, or rare, or impactful…
Are unique, different than anyone else’s…
If your palette contains colors that exist nowhere else on earth in that exact formation…
Then there are ideas that can only arise within you.
You’re the only one with the pieces to build…
whatever it is you have within you to build.
Not every idea you’ll have is unique, of course.
But you have within you the seed of a completely original idea.
Something that is –
And I say this very carefully –
Your responsibility.
You either do the work to bring those ideas into existence –
Or they fade away forever.
Only you decide.
Only you can do it.
Only you have the choice to do the work or not.
Only you.

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