X can always be Y

by See-ming Lee
Key = Find the link


X can always be Y.

I have not seen a single instance where X cannot be Y. The most brilliant ideas exist to connect X to Y. New ideas are often extensions of existing concepts.

Photojournalism = Photography + Journalism

Programming = Translation from Logic to Machine Language

Installation = Concepts expressed in space = Site-specific sculptures that only makes sense in the space where they exist

When someone say that X can never be Y, it’s because they haven’t found the connection (link) yet.

Not known != Non-existent

The key is thus to find the connection.

If there’s any universal truth about my experience of the world, it’s that anything can be anything.

The best kind of these connections will be called innovation — the ability to see how something can be something else, and to then create completely new genres that change everything.

Finding the link is thus the key.

Link finding can be achieved in many ways. Examples:

  • Pattern Recognition
  • Asking “What if…“ and “Why not?”
  • Allowing yourself to dream
  • Doing nothing (boredom inspires imagination)
  • AI — LLMs are exceptional at finding connections at lightning speed. Hallucinations are “unwanted artifacts” that can potentially inspire possibilities


I wrote this originally as a reply to someone’s comment on Twitter. He suggested that X cannot be Y unless Z says it is.

In this instance, the context was:

  • X = lots of lawyers
  • Y = have ADHD
  • Z = psychiatrist/psychologist

The comment implies only psychiatrists (someone with titles) can say that someone has ADHD. I challenge this notion that one must be someone with specific titles and/or achievements to state something.

You’re an expert if you have the knowledge of that subject matter. You are an artist or a designer if your portfolio demonstrates that you are one. Having an MFA does not automatically make you an artist. It’s the same thing.

You don’t need to go to law school to become a lawyer btw — pass the bar and you’re all set.


A friend from college told me that lots of lawyers have ADHD also — pretty much most people have never been diagnosed / late diagnosed so no one ever knew.

I said that I wish that I could type less.

She said, “you can’t, you have ADHD.”

I laughed, and said, “well, how do you do it then?”

She said, “years of practice. Being concise is important. I care more about winning.”

What I learned: you can change your nature if something is more important to you than anything else — if being concise is important enough to me that it’s a matter of life and death, then I’d probably write less also.

TLDR my pitch decks are super brief. Concise. They get the points across in no more than 7 words per page.

I get my points across with images. I hacked the system by using images. It’s technically cheating. But then I use things that are most effective.



Is she a psychiatrist/psychologist? If not I would take that with a grain of salt



This view where only X can determine if Y is Z shall be your doom.



If you hold the view that X is only Y if Z said it’s so, then you’re limiting your potential.

X can be Y as long as you see the link (pattern).

Z is no better than you — they’re also interpreting X and Y in their own way. Their understanding of X and Y might not actually be better than yours.

If you think that X can be Y, and is able to articulate why it can be, then X can be Y, period.

If there’s any universal truth about the world, it’s that:

X can always be Y — anything can be anything — as long as you can find the connection / link.

So the key, mainly, is for you to find that connection, and to articulate in a way that others could also see it.