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Don’t Edit Your Imagination

As children, we have vivid imaginations. We stay up late waiting for Santa Claus, dream of becoming President, and have ideas that defy physics. Then something happens. As we grow older, we start editing our imagination.

For me, it happened gradually. At the time, I thought it was just part of becoming an adult. I stopped imagining things if I couldn’t imagine how to create them. It’s like there was an internal editor in my head fact-checking the possibilities out of my world. But then I got to RISD, and a professor said something I will never forget. He said,

“If you can imagine it, you can create it.”

Think of the imagination as a giant stone from which we carve out new ideas. As we chip away, our new ideas become more polished and refined. But if you start by editing your imagination, you start with a tiny stone. I think this is why many companies are founded by first-time entrepreneurs (including us) — if they had known better, they may never had started their company.

Editing is important since it provides the logic to make our imagination real. But as Albert Einstein once said,

“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”

Written by

Co-founder, CEO of Airbnb

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