Speak before you're ready
Say it. Speak it. Write it down. Out loud. Before it's finished.
The future we haven't created yet depends on it.
As Matt Haig taught me in his (totally brilliant) book, Reasons to Stay Alive, your body is pretty incredible:
"...a physical body is a universe in itself. Each of us is made up of over a hundred trillion cells. In each of those cells is roughly that same number again of atoms. That is a lot of separate components. Yet, most of the time, we simplify by thinking of ourselves in terms of larger pieces, like arms, legs and feet. We do not feel the near-infinite nature of our physical selves."
Since entering the world as a tiny, blank slate, your senses haven't stopped. You've been consistently updating your knowledge of your surroundings through every possible data source: What you see, hear, smell and touch; shapes, sounds, colours, textures; the words used to describe it, whether others like it, how it behaves when you interact with it. It's been relentless and, inevitably, there'll be things you've missed. But I'm most interested in what you chose to notice.
Every one of these experiences, absorbed as only you could, make you who you are. They shape your understanding of the world, your most innate behaviours and the language you use to share what you know. Whether you're one year, or ninety years, into that learning, you'll know some things. Like, really KNOW them.
So, here you are: Casually inhabiting your unbelievably, complex body. Housing your brilliant, incredibly experienced brain. Growing all this knowledge in a way only you can. That, my friend, makes your vantage point absolutely unique.
The connection you make between the conversation you had over coffee this morning and the book you're reading is yours. That feeling in your belly when you absorb the latest news headline is yours. The way you felt when the woman you met told you her story is yours. The expression you notice on that stranger's face as you walk by, the curry recipe you throw together without thinking when you're having friends over for dinner, that riff you hear buried in the song you can't stop playing; the way you experience total joy and absolute darkness, they're all yours. They are your treasure.
Let's go back to where this started: We form our understandings from what we encounter around us. So, from the very biggest concepts to the world's smallest details, your reflections change the course of the conversation. Tell me what you know of success. Show me what you mean by hospitality. Talk to me about economy, baking and appreciating your favourite view. Share your expertise.
I'll say it again: Say it. Speak it. Write it down. Out loud. Before it's finished. Don't leave it to the journalists, politicians, 'experts' and 'influencers': YOU have influence. Don't wait for the words to be 'the right ones': The situation as you see it will have changed by then. Offer a running commentary of what you see; commentate relentlessly. Just keep talking. Work it out like an audible maths equation. Talk us through your learning. Open a window into it for others. Feed someone else's understanding.