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“If only I had that person’s brains or talent or looks or luck…”

It’s tempting to think that sometimes. But the universe only asks you to be you.

There’s not another you in the world. There’s never been anyone exactly like you in all of history and there never will be—even if the world lasts another 100,000 years.

And that means you have a place to fill that no one else can fill. And if you don’t fill it, it won’t get filled.

As the Yiddish proverb says:

“If I try to be like him, who will be like me?”

This also means: you are needed in this world. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be here.

As Herzog, the title character in Saul Bellow’s novel, said,

“I am Herzog. I have to be that man. There’s no one else to do it.”

Imagine that you receive a packet in the mail, describing your mission—just like in the Mission Impossible movies and TV shows.

The packet contains pictures and descriptions of the people in your life, the situations you are dealing with, the problems and challenges, your gifts and wounds.

The cover letter says: “Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to be you and nobody else, to fill the space that only you can fill, to play with all your heart the role that only you can play.”

The letter continues: “Yes, this will require some real thought and effort. You may need to spend some time thinking about who you really are. But it is a very possible mission.”

Then, there is a P.S.: “This message will self-destruct only if you choose to reject your mission and be exactly like everyone else.”