Who said, "If you love something set it free. If it comes back, it's yours; if not, it never was"?

Answer

The earliest known version of this statement comes from a book by Jess Lair called "I Ain't Much Baby – But I'm All I've Got," which was published in 1969.

Jess Lair was a teacher, and the quote came from one of his students. The original quote reads: "If you want something very, very badly, let it go free. If it comes back to you, it's yours forever. If it doesn't, it was never yours to begin with." Lair did not identify the student who presented him this quote, and because he did not insist that the writing samples be original, there is no certainty that it did not come from an even earlier source.

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