No recipe is more enjoyable than those with a surprising kick. Spontaneity is the true spice of life.
Hello again my wonderful readers! It’s been a while since I last wrote. My apologies. You may remember in my last post I talked about recent life changes and how they opened my eyes to the possibilities available to me. For a long time I felt trapped in a circle of mundane, boring rituals that formed my simple existence around the typical 9-5 job. Looking back, I ponder as to why life at 28 y.o got boring so quickly. What was it that led me to be ‘trapped’ inside the little world I saw as my ‘normal’ every day existence?
Predictability, the ominous sister of spontaneity, was dominating my life.
It’s true that predictability, born of security, is one of the six fundamental human needs each and every one of us have. That said, it does not need to dominate our existence.
In this post I’m going to talk about predictability – why we all need it, and also why we don’t – and how using spontaneity is creating some truly remarkable life experiences for me right now. You’ll be able to take this new awareness of predictability and apply some simple ideas to add a little spontaneity ‘spice’ to your life.
Let’s get started 🙂
The prudence of predictability
Never was there anything more predictable than a man with pants…
Yes, it is indeed reasonable, and in many cases necessary, to exercise an element of predictability in life. After all, how would we function without basic, predictable routines (bathing, meals, exercise, work/purpose) to keep us on track?
We all know what predictability is. Your best mate is a gym junkie, you know it, and you ask what they’re up to tomorrow evening. “Just going to the gym, nothing special”.
It’s easy for me to critique the use of predictability in life, and my writing above is doing just that. However, my awareness is such that I respect people’s need (including my own) for a little slice of predictability every once and a while.
Predictability – why we need it
I see predictability as being tied very closely with one of the 6 fundamental human needs we all have, as discussed by Tony Robbins in his blog.
Predictability goes hand in hand with certainty.
To be stable, calm, nd content, we all need an element of certainty in our life. Certainty that our actions lead to pleasure and avoid pain.
Quite often, predictable habits are those which we have created to ensure a pleasurable outcome. Going to the gym is an excellent example. Those who indulge in regular physical activity know the ‘feel good’ endorphins released during a workout are able to dull any pains, worries, and stresses of the day. After experience (which provides certainty) we realise it makes us feel good, so we schedule it into our weekly routine, thus making it a predictable occurrence in our lives.
There are many more instances of certainty – Friday night movies, a house that provides shelter, a desire to experience life with another. Looking deeper, there is an element of certainty present, which is tailor made to the individual by incorporating it as a predictable event.
I myself require meaning in my life. This is certain, as I have experienced pain in having nothing. So I am predictable in my nature to fill the day with actions that lead me toward my objectives, and towards pleasurable feelings.
Unfortunately, pleasurable, comfortable, and predictable actions can be counter productive in abundance.
Why we (sometimes) don’t need predictability
There’s predictability, then there’s spontaneity.
Comparatively, there’s certainty, and there’s uncertainty.
Equally as important as certainty, uncertainty is another of our 6 fundamental human needs.
Uncertainty is that butterfly feeling when you attempt a new experience. It’s the tingle in your skin before you jump off a waterfall. The feeling of dread when you’re let go from your job; and….
The excitement of anticipating the unknown.
I want to focus on the above ‘positive’ use of uncertainty in life.
Yes, there are many scary instances we want to avoid, or dread to experience (some are listed above, and I’m sure you know many more). This is where predictability (and certainty) can be a saviour of our sanity. How about the exciting, crazy new experiences that await each and every one of us? Don’t be fooled. Predictability isn’t all sweet-smelling roses.
Predictability can lead us to be blinded by the security of certainty, and accept a substandard life.
It may be a strong use of words, and it’s how I feel.
I feel that uncertainty in the form of spontaneity is vital for living an exciting, purposeful, and rewarding existence.
How would you know your capability if you didn’t jump?
How would you learn to find if you never got lost?
How would you act, if never chose to ‘just do’?
Being spontaneous is like drinking liquid courage. It’s the acting on an idea without too much forethought and planning – which in many cases convinces you to do nothing instead.
I’d like to share an example with you of an application of spontaneity in my own life.
I’m writing this blog post for you outside a simple hotel room in a small town called Gilimanuk, Bali. Had you have asked 2 weeks ago where I would be, I would certainly not have dreamed I would be here. Why? I had no job, and I had no desire to travel to Bali. Everyone I asked would say “why would you go there?”, or “it’s such an unsafe place. What about the bombing?”.
It’s true, I had heard many other negative comments of Bali, and combined with my uncertain financial situation, my desire to be spontaneous and travel to Bali was low. There was something present in that moment. All the negativity, all the roadblocks, all the lure of certainty in doing nothing, drove me to be spontaneous. Within a week of the initial thought, I was embarking on a 5 week trip to Bali – no planning, no research, and an expectation of expecting the unexpected. Now I’m in Bali. I’ve been here over a week and I have only praise for this wonderful island and its remarkable culture, atmosphere, and natural wonders. To me, I think the ‘haters’ don’t know what they’re missing out on.
Would I be here if I didn’t be spontaneous? Definitely not. I would have found many other reasons not to venture abroad, or choose a ‘safer’ destination.
This is one such example as it relates to me. Sure, you may not feel comfortable embarking on a journey to Asia, or there may be real life limitations (such as finances) to your ability to do so. Be creative and find what’s out there for you to spice things up.
There is gold to be found in spontaneous action. Find what suits you, and give it a try.
Not sure where to start?
4 ways to embrace spontaneity
It’s easy for me to write about, and I’ve got experience that’s for sure. What if you don’t?
1. Get curious
Ideas are born out of curiosity.
Rather than look around and just accept how things are, try being curious and delving deeper into hidden meaning and a realm of possibility in alternative ways. Remember, there are two sides to every story, and what you actively recognise is only one of these. Only ever seen spaghetti cooked in a pot? Try frying it instead. Never tried Indian food because you thought it was too spicy? What if it isn’t?
Get curious and question what you know. Chances are you’re wrong 😉
2. Try something new
It’s a pretty simple thing, and sometimes it’s the most overlooked.
Once curious of alternative ways, you can use your power of action to try something new. Remember, ideas don’t exist until action makes them a reality.
Take action of your new ideas and try them!
3. Be spontaneous with someone
Need some extra courage? Lacking inspiration? Want to enhance an experience?
Try it with someone.
I find that life experiences are enhanced when I attempt them with someone else, particularly someone I care about. Thee’s something really special in sharing moments of joy, sadness, laughter and adventure. If you’re having trouble being spontaneous, chances are it will be many times easer with someone else.
4. Travel – to a place you wouldn’t normally go
One of my favourites.
If you’re looking for a way to be spontaneous, get packing and go to a destination not on your bucket list.
By no means do you need to travel overseas. It could be as simple as a local suburb you’ve avoided.
As with my Bali experience, there is magic to be found in squashing your negative pretences. Get out there and start hammering yours…
The comfort of predictability has uses for us all, and in many cases it’s a necessary tool to make life ‘work’.
That said, I’m a strong believer that there’s immense value beyond this ‘box’ of living, so I encourage you to try one of my ways to embrace spontaneity in your life:
- Get curious
- Try something new
- Do it with someone
- Travel somewhere you’d normally not go.
Battling fear of the unknown?
Remember to ask yourself “what have I got to lose?” Chances are there’s much more to be gained….
Thanks for reading my work.
Like it? Please share with your friends on social media. The more people I can inspire, the happier I’ll be.
Until next time…..
Yours in inspiration,