I didn’t write that headline. J.R.R. Tolkein wrote it for Lord of the Rings. He was referring to a wandering chieftain named Aragorn. While exploring Middle Earth, Aragorn came across The Fellowship of the Ring in a tavern—a meeting that would eventually lead him to become one of the greatest men of his time.
“Not all those who wander are lost.” Above and beyond the Lord of the Rings, that line has become a treasured proverb for entrepreneurs, inventors, product developers and creatives everywhere. I have it taped to the bottom-left corner of my keyboard where it affirms my wandering ways every day. It reminds me that those who are curious and adventurous—those who are willing to get off the beaten track and explore the unknown or the unexpected—will be rewarded with discoveries.
Endless examples of exploration and invention bear this out. Columbus was wandering around in search of India when he discovered an entirely unexpected continent. Physicist Karl Jansky was exploring the vastness of the Milky Way when he discovered radio waves. Author Hirsch Goldberg reminds us that penicillin, X-rays, rubber, photography, electric current, the microwave oven, the telescope, even Silly Putty and Post-It Notes were all fortuitous by-products of looking for something else, or just plain nosing around.
“Finding is reserved for those who search,” wrote Jim Rohn. I’m going to tape that on the other corner of my keyboard right now.
- Aragorn found his destiny by getting lost.
- When you explore, you make discoveries.
- Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction.
An excerpt from the upcoming “Trust Your Crazy Ideas” book by Dan Zadra. To Pre-order your copy, click here.