In some ecological systems, a paradox appears: when common species appear to be rare and rare species appear to be common. The thing you think is everywhere becomes hard to find…but when you finally find one, you immediately recognize it and start to spot others like it.

The parallels to design and writing (and life) couldn’t be clearer.

Sometimes, you go searching for the right typeface, the right stock photo, the right word. You search and search and nothing is right. You find thousands of not-rights. You start to wonder if the loosely sketched idea you had in mind is an unrealistic request of the universe. You despair, or nearly.

And then.

You see it. And you recognize it as what you were subconsciously seeking. The loose sketch takes on dimension.

And when you recognize it, you know you’ll be able to identify it again. And the next time, it might take on a different form, but it will also fit the loose sketch.

So then, it—whatever it is to you—is rare in the world (because in reality, it always has been), but has become common to you (because it is now easy for you to spot).

It takes just one to change the way you see.


By the way, when you see a four-leaf clover, don’t get so excited that you dash away. In my experience, it’s likely that you can find a few more near it. (My guess is that this has more to do with clovers being clonal organisms than your having a keener ability to identify similar others, but I could be wrong.)