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Recently, a friend of mine wrote a book about how she’s always longed to go to Paris but finally resigned herself to the fact that she won’t. And she’s okay with that. Because Paris, for my friend, is not something out there — it’s what’s right in front of her. She’s given up on the veneer of a life captured on Instagram and rejected the promise of fulfillment a city can bring. Instead, she’s embracing the life she has to live right now and discovering some extraordinary lessons along the way.
When I heard this, I couldn’t help but think of Hemingway’s move to Paris in the 1920s, and how it changed the course of his life forever. But for every Hemingway in Paris, there’s a Bronte in Haworth. In spite of what we’ve been told, creative success rarely happens in isolation. It is often the result of complex systems and networks. There are no lone geniuses — only collaborative communities that seemingly produce extraordinary individuals.