We make the road, others will make the journey.
— Victor Hugo, “Thoughts”
There is a very curious thing that exists in this world. There exists “the way things have always been done.” Since the dawn of man, when the first humans made fire, there has been the way things had always been done. Most people go out of their ways to make sure not to distrupt this precious thing. They walk home a certain way; the teach in a certain style, they practice medicine using certain techiques.
In some cases, this is laudable. Why reinvent the wheel? Why experiment on a new headache drug when aspirin works for the target audience? In other cases, it is what is holding us back.
Our ancient ancestors would carry supplies on foot from the rivers to the caves. One of them, at some point, thought there had to be a better way. They invented the wheel and cart. They had always communicated by gesture. Someone thought there had to be a better way and started writing in pictures. Then, something even better, someone else came along and thought that there had to be a better way. Symbols represented thoughts and ideas, in addition to just “pictoral” symbols. Even better, someone thought that there had to be a better way and invented an alphabet with words to represent our thoughts and ideas for transmittal.
We must constantly push for the next thing. That doesn’t start by inventing the next thing or redefining the old. It starts by trying. It starts by having the courage to step up and possibly look stupid.
One of the most beautiful things about being young is our ability to transform what is around us. There is no limit to human achievement and there is no limit to what one person can do. We can transform one person who will then change the world. We can transform people- helping them to realize the potential that exists within. We can transform disciplines and fields to become the Mendel’s of heredity or the Crick’s and Watson’s of genetics.
What field will be turned upside down next? Which one of us will be the one to do it?