There are rules all around us. Innovation happens by knowing what those rules are and then bending them or breaking them to do what we want. The surprise and kudos from friends regarding an innovation is the context from which it was achieved, i.e. “despite being a single Mom, she was able to get her degree and provide for her family.” Everyone understands that the woman’s achievements are monumental, because everyone knows what the rules are. They have a point of reference. If no one knows what the rules are there is no platform from which to start. The real question would be, because the woman was a single mom, was she aware that her achievement was so special and did that motivate her more to succeed?