Why You Need to Get Lost

Getting lost is easy to do. It's getting found that's hard.I hate getting lost. I don’t like to get lost in Ikea. I definitely don’t like to get lost when I’m headed to a meeting. I start to panic even though I know I can ask a sales clerk for directions, or I can call the person I’m meeting and tell him or her I’m going to be late.

Even though I don’t like getting lost, I try to make room for it. I see the value in it. It’s in getting lost that I start to discover who I am and what I think. Not having my bearings causes me to evaluate my direction and to reorient myself when necessary.

Getting lost doesn’t require a lot of effort. It can happen in a familiar setting – the sun goes behind the clouds and the park looks entirely different. Maybe that seemingly friendly tree is now menacing. It can happen with a book; it happens to me all the time when I read. I return to a book and reread a section and discover a new layer. I find myself understanding the book in a way that I hadn’t previously.

Getting lost isn’t just for the creative people; it’s important for the more analytical people, too. My youngest brother is one such analytical person. He often feels lost when he’s taking a new engineering class or conducting research. He then grows, and it’s the result of embracing uncertainty and bewilderment.

The business world isn’t exempt, either. Businesses may be more hesitant to get lost, especially when they’re thinking about the bottom line, but getting lost is a prerequisite for being found. Getting lost leads a business or a communications department to consider other avenues. That business or department begins to examine what they’ve been doing and either to supplement those activities with something new or to choose a different route altogether.

Do you think getting lost is important?

Photo: Kotomicreations (CC BY-NC 2.0)


  1. Getting lost is critical to growth and a deeper comprehension of knowledge. It separates the men from the boys (so to speak), meaning that there will be those who get lost and give up. They’re boys (or little girls) regardless of their ages. Then there are those that will continue looking for the path, dead reckoning for that solution, until they make it to the light. Those are the men and women. Get lost! The next time someone says that to you in a snarky way, just answer, “Gladly!”

  2. Remember the next time you ask me to stop directions that I won’t and it is not because I am a man but because the joy of finding a new place is worth the price of the journey. Or something like that.

    • TheJackB I like your thinking, Jack. But, you’ve got to remain chivalrous as well. It’s a fine line you’ve got to walk, but one that’s worth the trouble.

    • TheJackB When I was taking a photography class, I tried to get lost. I found some of my best photos by taking an excursion.I’ll try not to get too irritated when you refuse to stop and ask for directions… 🙂

  3. Getting lost is important; that is the only way you find new questions and maybe even answers. What is the fun of knowing everything and having everything laid out in front of you?

    • Hajra  Even though I prefer to have directions when I’m building a bookcase or something like that, I tend to  build the thing by myself. Part of it’s my stubborn nature; the other part is the curiosity about how far I can go before I recognize and admit I need help. When there aren’t any instructions, I might flounder for a bit, but I’ll eventually figure out a solution – even if it’s not the most intuitive one.

  4. Lovely post Erin! One of my favourite characters in literary history is Dirk Gently. Behold, the glory that was Douglas Adams… “I rarely end up where I was intending to go, but often I end up somewhere I needed to be.” Really, what more needs to be said?

    • RebeccaTodd Nothing at all!I remember having a conversation in a creative writing workshop about whether we wrote with the ending in mind or the beginning. It’s very rare that I have an ending in mind. Sometimes, I don’t even have a beginning. I just start writing and hope I find my way.

  5. Erin F. RebeccaTodd TheJackB I invite you all to come read my post about what freelance writers can learn from the GoT — given our recent convo: http://www.freelancewritingdreams.com/what-the-game-of-thrones-can-teach-freelance-writers/

  6. JennaTest says:

    @dilip Patel 

  7. JennaTest says:

    Erin F. KBNKB


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