The journey never ends

Reproduction of the “Great S–spiral frieze” fresco ca. 1400–1200 B.C. by Emile Gilliéron. Original from The MET Museum. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.
Reproduction of the “Great S–spiral frieze” fresco ca. 1400–1200 B.C. by Emile Gilliéron. Original from The MET Museum. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.

“Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’ve ever been. The one constant in our life is change.”

These are the words with which psychologist Dan Gilbert closes his TED talk titled “The psychology of your future self”.

In his research, Gilbert asked people, “how much your life has changed for them in the last ten years?” and then, to people ten years younger, “how much do you think your life will change in the next ten years?

He discovered that people vastly underestimated how much change they would experience over the next ten years.

He calls this phenomenon the “end of history illusion”. It’s the idea that we are where we need to be so there won’t be so many changes in the future.

A similar kind of illusion hinders the journey of many innovators. It lures them into believing that they have arrived and found the final answer or the definitive solution. They begin to seek praise and recognition; they want to see their efforts rewarded.

It is, in a way, the end of their innocence. That same innocence that brought them to their innovations in the first place. When we feel we have the answer, when we fall in love with our solution, we stop searching. And why should we if we are already a the end of the journey?

I have done that so many times in the past. I fell in love with an idea and stopped searching. I was so in love with my own creation that I wanted it to work. It had to be it. Instead of asking questions, I began giving answers to convince others my idea was the one.

Luckily for me, life came back with all its mighty power to knock down me and my idea. As painful the experience was, it reminded me to stay humble and keep searching. It reminded me that I have not arrived and I’ll never do.

I’ve not arrived, yet.

That is the mantra I learned to recite myself every day.

I‘ve not arrived, yet.

It’s an invitation to embrace not knowing and be curious. To open up to the wisdom of the world and the beauty of humanity. So, I won’t get trapped in what I know, but I will allow the answers to unfold while I move forward.

I may get close but I’ll never arrive.

No matter how many things I read, discover, live or experience, reality as a whole will always be unknowable.

The universe is infinite.

That is why the Innovator’s Journey is one for the daring, the adventurous, the courageous, but also for the humble and the patient. It is often a messy and chaotic journey, with thrilling accelerations and abrupt stops, rewarding successes and painful fallbacks.

But, most of all, it never ends.

That is what legendary innovators know very well; life is a never-ending quest.

You keep getting close but you’ll never arrive.

“We are in effect, always, close; always close to the ultimate secret: that we are more real in our simple wish to find a way than any destination we could reach: the step between not understanding that and understanding that, is as close as we get to happiness.” — from the poem CLOSE by David Whyte.

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Fabio Salvadori

Fabio Salvadori

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Seeker. Author. Mentor. Coach. Facilitator. | I write to remind us that we are all born innovators. | fabiosalvadori.com