The Loneliness of Innovation

I really enjoy Rob Bell’s podcast, The Robcast. “So good!” as he likes to say. He’s an entertaining storyteller and an engaging interviewer. He also laughs at his own jokes, which I find amusing.

On a recent show (Episode 122, if I recall), he was talking about how isolating it can feel when we are in the process of changing, growing and evolving. When we embark on any kind of personal journey—be it creative exploration, a new way of being, a fresh perspective or worldview—we often find ourselves all alone. We can feel disoriented and misunderstood.

Sometimes in order to strike out on a new path that calls to us we have to leave the familiar behind. This could be as simple as purging our clothes closet or as complex as relocating to a new country.

Sometimes those around us are not ready to journey with us. Change is scary. The familiar feels safe. They prefer us to remain exactly as we are.

Sometimes—at least it feels this way to me—the world works overtime to stifle our emerging voice and hinder our good intentions. It conspires to keep us small. It desperately wants to label us and place us into neatly-organized, little boxes. It wants to maintain the status quo.

Sometimes, as Bell says, “There’s this loneliness to innovation.”

I often wish the pathway to change was different or easier or less isolating, but this seems to be nature’s formula. Honestly, I don’t know the solution, if there even is one. All I know is innovation can be a lonely road.

That said, I’d rather walk alone—even if it’s just baby steps at first—into the dark tunnel of the unknown than grow stale and bored and uninspired on the superhighway of average.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone