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In order to succeed, you need to look at everything with your own unique perspective. When you think, you have to think in your own creative way—not accepting everything that’s already out there.

What I’d like you to do is: I’d like you to go into some field—you all have some passion, you all know what it is—so I want you to think about that field instead of learning about that field. Instead of being a student of that field, be the field—whether it’s music, or architecture, or science, or whatever.

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From 13-year-old physicist Jacob Barnett’s talk at TEDxTeen, “Forget What You Know.” At age two, he was diagnosed with autism, and doctors expected he would never speak or even tie his shoes. By age nine, he’d already built a series of mathematical models that expanded Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Jacob, now 15, is the youngest student at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. His mom recently emailed us with her thoughts about his talk: “I am so proud of the fact that he did [a TEDx talk] with autism. To me, it has been one of his biggest breakthroughs!”

(via tedx)

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