surprise yourself

Not everyone likes surprises. Well, I suspect most people like good surprises but not everyone likes the feeling of being surprised.

Let’s be honest here, I think we all enjoy finding an extra $20 in an old birthday card we’d forgotten about. But plenty of people don’t want to come home to find a room full of people hiding in the dark waiting to jump out and yell, “Happy Birthday!” at the top of their lungs. I don’t mind it so much, but I may require a new pair of pants afterwords. So if you do that, make sure you get me pants for my birthday, just in case.

Like it or not, I think it’s good to be surprised. It shocks us, it wakes us up, it brings a level of alertness. I talked about repetition earlier this week. Along those lines, I think our lives can often become so repetitive that we run on auto-pilot, just doing what we need to get by. Surprise knocks us off our rockers—even off the porch they were on—and gets us moving again.

Surprises come whether we welcome them or not, but when we invite them in, something changes in us. Even a little element of surprise can help us discover something new about ourselves, and more importantly, overcome some of our fears that keep us comfortably stagnant.

Maybe you just need to have a box of random things shipped to your door (a lot of companies do this now) or let someone else pick your wardrobe for a day. Whatever it is, I hope you are surprised at the magic a little surprise can bring.

My inspiration for this post was from a song called “Surprise yourself” by Jack Garratt. After writing it, I found this video.


* EDIT *

So one of the readers asked me for a call to action on this post, suggestions on good ways to surprise oneself. So, here you go:

  • Try an art form or style you're completely unfamiliar with, like watercolor, or even drawing without looking at the paper.
  • Give a friend $20 (or less if you're short on cash) and have them ship something fun to you, delivered a month from now.
  • Before you turn your car off, set the volume up really high and the air at full blast and turn the windshield wipers on. Guaranteed surprise when you get in the next day.
  • Write down a few restaurants you haven't tried on some pieces of paper and draw one at random. You could do the same with meals you haven't tried at a particular restaurant.
  • Go with a friend to an event you're not familiar with such as a musical, play, motocross, art exhibit, or a convention. It doesn't need to be big or expensive, you could even try something as simple as a book club. If you can't think of anything, have a friend suggest and take you on one.

So there you have it. Even if you think all those are terrible, perhaps it will help you think of other ways in which to shake you out of the ordinary.


A.P. Lambert

A. P. Lambert is an author and creative professional who helps other creative entrepreneurs achieve more and find purpose in their work.