Sustainable Innovator Forever

in process birthday song

Some of you have gone through many years of torrential idea dousing. And some of you have also been dousing everyone around you with some fraction of these ideas. It may have made you unpopular or rich, or successful in many ways, or maybe all three at different points in your life. But somehow, you did manage to do something with this gift of more. And survived the travails that came along with it. You did manage to become a sustainable innovator partly because it was involuntary, and after all, what was the alternative?

You could not flip or even find the switch to flip, releasing you from the combination of new ideas and insights, which sometimes caused you to act prematurely, hastily, and with more force than was called for. The innovation impulse is strong, and this is a good thing; otherwise, humanity would never have made it this long. We were not the strongest, fastest, or most agile. Nor are we at the top of the food chain like bears, whales, elephants and hippos. But we out-innovated all of the creatures on the planet to become the pre-eminent problem solvers. Do we make mistakes? Occasionally wipe out thousands or even millions? Bring ourselves to the precipice time and time again? Sure, we do, but our innovative impulses still beat stonily within us, and rightly or wrongly, many of us still, perhaps irrationally still, believe we can figure it out.

This is neither a celebration nor a condemnation. Our involuntary innovation simply is. We are hard-wired for it. Some more than others. And it has kept us alive for millions of years, for better or worse. We may not be as understood as well as we would like, but perhaps this post will help some of us to understand ourselves more. And perhaps some of those individuals who have to, or get to, deal with us may have dipped into these pages to gain a better understanding of who we are and why we do what we do.  These ideas are not new because we are not new. We have been on this path forever, some of us more than others. Some of us are less and more resistant than others. And some of us oscillate between self-acceptance, self-flagellation and self-aggrandizement. We are who we are. Innovation is what we do. And the consequences pile up. Generally, it is not a smooth ride for those who see what others do not, for the exceptional are also excluded. We can not be exactly like everyone else, but we learn to live with it and, at times, exhaust it. We may be more likely to get divorced or remain alone or have many temporary relationships. We may have even managed to turn our innovation toward relationship sustainability, but one thing is certain. Innovation and being an innovator is not an entirely voluntary stance in the world, and this is a good thing because humanity would have died out long ago. 

Be grateful that you survive as an innovator and have to innovate, for then you get to innovate, which transcends all manner of difficulty, obstacle and inconvenience. It is humanity’s superpower, and be grateful that a healthy diet has been bestowed upon you.