A Mindful marketplace for the intentional shopper

Let’s be honest. Being human can be a somewhat bizarre experience. We spend so much time trying to fit in while also loads of time trying to stand out. We are continuously striving to be a part of something: collectives, groups, relationships, and all the while trying to be sure we don’t lose our individuality. What’s it all for?

In many ways, humans are like grains of sand, seemingly uniform to the naked eye but beautifully unique when examined closer. I, for one, think it’s time that we start thinking of ourselves in the same magical way.

It’s estimated that by 2050 about 113 billion people will have ever lived on Earth. I sometimes wonder, out of that number, how many will have felt their own uniqueness? How many will know that they belonged while also realizing their own individuality? Will most have felt lost in the sea of people, trying to be seen and heard? Or, will they learn the truth that they were here for a reason.

Don't Dismiss your uniqueness 

In mid-March 2020, I, like thousands of others, was feeling down. COVID-19 was in its early days, and we were on the first round of quarantine. My truth? We were on lockdown, but this feeling of isolation wasn’t new to me. In fact, I had been feeling detached for what seemed like years. I’d been living in a confused place and wasn’t sure how to climb out of it. Now looking back, I can see I was ‘letting’ and not living, and it had finally caught up to me. For years, I let life happen to me, and then I would react to it. Now, nothing was happening, and I felt lost.

A cog in a wheel; I felt that in the grand scheme of things, what I had to offer didn’t matter. Dismissing my uniqueness, I’d make up excuses rather than going out and discovering my best self. I’d think about my unused potential and get down on myself for how unremarkable I felt.

Sure, I had a ton of ideas, but so did everyone else. Everything I thought of doing someone else had already done. Or, as soon as I came out with something, someone would just steal it and do it better. The result? I did nothing, and I was unhappy doing it.

It was a frustrating place to be in because while I didn’t know the purpose of life, I knew one thing for certain — I couldn’t have been put here to be miserable.

The ideas that I had in my head had to mean something!

Clinging to this truth, I went on a hunt for more facts. I dove into research, first asking the question, “What is so unique about me?” aka “What makes me so special?"

When I reached the light at the end of the tunnel, I had more than just facts. I had a purpose! I was so overtaken with emotion and awe of how unique we all are that I sat at my computer and cried. Then, I called my sons over and shared with them what I had learned.

“You need to know how unique you are,” I said to them. “No matter how many people have ever lived on this planet since the beginning of time, and no matter how many will ever live until the end of time, there will never be another version of you.” As they looked at me with their big youthful eyes, I went over the list with them of what makes them so special.

I want to share this list with you so that you, too, can know the reason that everything that is within you is so special.

10 things (other than fingerprints) that are unique to each one of us

1. Iris

(The Iris’ creation is so random the process is called chaotic morphogenesis.)

Have you ever seen a close-up view of an iris? Do yourself a favor and dive into Suren Manvelyan’s work called “Your beautiful eyes,” which was published in 2010 and now has 4.3 million views on Behance. They say that the eyes are the window to your soul, and after seeing them up close in this way, I can see why. In fact, if you can take it, grab a light, and take a peek at your own if you’ve never done it. It’s magically captivating and totally unique to you!

The distinctive texture, pattern, and pigmentation that you see are all determined by your unique DNA. As we developed as a fetus, the continual opening and closing of our eyes in the womb created the various pits, swirls, and furrows that developed the beautiful patterns. This process is so arbitrary that it’s called “chaotic morphogenesis.” This means that no two eyes can match, not even your own.

2. Retina

(If no one person’s retina is the same, then can anyone really see the same thing, even when looking at it together?)

The eye is its own magical playground and is full of wonder. “The retina is a thin layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye on the inside. The purpose of the retina is to receive light that the lens has focused, convert the light into neural signals, and send these signals on to the brain for visual recognition.” Because of the complex structure of the capillaries that supply the retina with blood, each person’s retina is unique.

Let’s think of this for a moment. If everyone has a unique component in our body that takes in the light and translates these to images, how can we be sure we are seeing the same exact thing as others? Really brings the saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” into a new light.

3. Lips

Close up of Lips
(Pucker up like only you can! The prints that our lips make are as unique as a finger print.)

Imagine kissing your phone to unlock it? While gross in the age of Covid, it wouldn’t be any less accurate than using your fingerprint. Cheiloscopy, the study of lip prints, tells us that the pattern of elevations and depressions in our lips are unique to each individual.

Lip prints are admissible in court, but as you could imagine, not easy to come by. So while there may not be much application for this unique identifier, the knowledge that your kiss is truly unique is just plain cool!

Some context here:

Out of the approximately 7,674,000,000 people on the earth and all of their ancestors, you and only you have the specific kiss!

So, don't forget to remind your partner just how exclusive your kisses are the next time you pucker up!

4. Tongue

(The tongue has its own shape and texture, and its tiny bumps and ridges are distributed in a unique way.)

It surprised me to find out that a tongue print is just as accurate as the prints on our fingers. As with our fingers, the tongue has its own shape and texture, and its tiny bumps and ridges are distributed in a way that is indigenous to you! These patterns rarely change over time since the tongue is protected inside the mouth (unlike fingertips, which may become scarred). Another logical conclusion might be that unique tongues create unique senses of taste.

Uniqueness might affect our sense of smell, as well. In a recent study, “Scientists from the Monell Center report that functional olfactory receptors, the sensors that detect odors in the nose, are also present in human taste cells found on the tongue. The findings suggest that interactions between the senses of smell and taste, the primary components of food flavor, may begin on the tongue and not in the brain, as previously thought.

5. Ear

(All ears are not created equal, even two on the same head.)

Yes, “ear” as in singular. Because even the two on your own head are different from each other. Those slopes, peaks, and valleys are, while seemingly random, all serve a purpose. While it’s long been known that different parts of the brain process different kinds of sounds, there have also been studies that examine how the different ears hear different from even themselves.

Ears are so unique that in one British study, researchers developed an algorithm called “image ray transform,” that could identify a single individual out of more than 250 others with a 99.6 percent accuracy rate by analyzing how light reflects off the curves of the ears. Do we even hear the same thing when listening to music or two siblings hearing their mother’s voice? Makes you wonder what Beethoven heard when composing while he was practically deaf? Did he mean for it to sound as it does to us at all today? Cool stuff.

6. Voice

An individual’s vocal tract is partly genetic and partly learned but completely yours.

Some vocal characteristics are easy to detect, such as frequency (high or low) and intensity (loud or soft). However, other traits, such as tightness, resonance, or nasality, are more difficult to pinpoint and alter. The length of your neck and the width of the pharynx both play a part. But so do learned characteristics such as lip rounding and vowel pronunciation.

In a nutshell, voices can often be imitated but never duplicated. Literally.

7. Heartbeat

(We all have a slightly different heart size, shape, and valve placement which results in a unique beat.)

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone’s heart looks the same. We all have slightly different sizes, shape, and valve placement which results in a unique beat.

Also, unlike faces or gait, our heartbeat cannot be altered or disguised. This makes it the perfect target for long-range analysis and identification. If you hook yourself up to a heart monitor or do an ECG, the peaks and valleys on the chart may look identical to the untrained eye. They’re actually anything but. Even when your heartbeat speeds up and slows down, the signature doesn’t change. Your ECG has a signature, much like a fingerprint, based on the structure of the heart itself.

I imagine it’s why we love listening to the heartbeats of our loved ones. Even if we can’t consciously pick out the distinctions, our subconscious must know and love that unique sound.

8. Vascular pattern

(While the general layout is the same, our exact vein pattern is different for all.)

It’s well known that the general layout of blood vessels, arteries, and veins, are almost consistent in all people. However, did you know researchers have determined that the vascular pattern of the human body is unique to a specific individual and does not change as people age? This is interesting when coupled with the knowledge that we also have different heartbeats. So not only does the blood pump different, it takes slightly different pathways to get around our bodies.

To put this in perspective, the arteries, veins, and capillaries of a human child stretched end to end are estimated to wrap around the Earth about 2.5 times (the equivalent of about 60,000 miles). What about the number and length of blood vessels in a human adult? That would circle our planet four times, equaling 100,000 miles, according to Thomas E. Eidson, a phlebologist (vein disease specialist) at Atlas Vein Care in Arlington, Texas. Thousands of miles worth of blood vessels and none of it identical to anyone else.

9. Butt

(Imagine being identified by your booty…it's not as farfetched as it sounds.)

This is not as sexy as you might think. In fact, it’s kind of gross. But our unique rear end can help us track some very important health indicators.

It turns out that our anal print is totally unique. Scientists at Stanford University have even developed a smart toilet that can monitor the health of human waste. And this toilet keeps track of the users by scanning their anal print for identification.

I told you it wasn’t going to be sexy, but it’s still pretty amazing, right?

10. Walk

(Even if you’ve never noticed anything unusual about how you stroll, the fact remains; it can’t be duplicated.)

Even if you share the same foot size, weight, and height as another, the way you place the pressure on each foot as you walk varies. Gait pattern analysis shows that just based on walk alone, you can be identified at a 99.8% accuracy rate.

There is so much that we can tell about a person by watching them walk. Are they feeling happy, sad, rushed, relaxed? At times, the feeling of one’s walk can even be contagious. Think John Travolta’s epic “Staying Alive” strut that made us all feel like we were on top of the world with him. While Travolta’s walk may go down in history, yours is just as unique and cannot be replicated.

The time is now because nobody else can do the things you’re put here to do. Every cell in your body says so!

Now, do you see why I was crying? This isn’t even a complete list. Things such as the shape of your skull, body odor, teeth, nail beds, pores on your nose, and skin, in general, all set you apart from any other human on this planet.

My takeaway:

Walk the walk that only you can walk. See the world in a way that you can see it. Why? Because even if someone walks a day in your shoes and looks at things the way you do, they still can’t have the same experience that you can. For me? It was time to do the thing I was put here to do. Even if it didn’t feel unique, the fact that I was going to do it made it unique in and of itself. This exact potential will never exist again, no matter how many came before and will come after. What is that thing you’ve been putting off or the idea you haven’t done because you don’t think it is original enough?

It’s time to stop letting and start living! What are you waiting for?

About The Author: Isis-Rae Goulbourne is the founder and CEO of DEUIT, a design and empowered innovation firm based in Stamford, CT. Also the founder of the lifestyle and retail brand Little Black Boutique, her life’s mission is to give a path to business and individuals to “do the thing” that only they can do.

Through DEUIT, she empowers businesses with futuristic technologies to improve and expand their ROI. Isis-Rae works daily to highlight individual creativity is highly committed to applying the principles of design thinking in her work.

Isis-Rae considers it her soul purpose to create vehicles of empowerment for others. In 2020 she founded LBB, to give both men and women of all colors the tools they need to connect to their higher self and step fully into their own unique soul purpose.

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