Don’t you just love surprises? I know I do! Even a just tiny surprise—a visit from a friend or an unexpected text from someone special—can give a pleasant twist to an otherwise predictable day. Yet, many of us often overlook these small moments of wonder and complain about how dreary and boring our lives are. We go through the motions of our daily routine, spend endless hours reading inane posts on the Internet, and often go to bed feeling unsatisfied.
During a recent TED talk, professional surprisologist (yes, that’s her job!) Tanya Luna shares 8 simple tips on how to make your life more surprising. Born to simple Ukrainian parents who kept her satisfied with weekly treats of Bazooka gum, Tanya moved to the United States when she was a little girl and promptly fell in love with the wonders of her new world. She never quite outgrew that sense of childlike wonder and eventually harnessed it to establish Surprise Industries, a quirky company committed to fostering the spirit of exploration, humanness, and craftsmanship among teams and individuals.
Ready to beat boredom for good? Read on below for Tanya’s tips on how to transform your daily grind into a wonderful playground of surprises.
1. Embrace the outlook and experience of surprise.
The first thing you need to do to inject the element of surprise in your life is to shift your mindset. Try to be a surprisologist and condition yourself to welcome uncertainty. Shift your routine to include surprises—indulge your inner child and give yourself time to explore the world a little each day!
2. Familiarize yourself with the feeling of awkwardness.
Most of the time, people get stuck in a rut, not because of fear, but because they simply refuse to confront the uncertainty and awkwardness that a new situation can entail. If you really want to realize your dreams, learn to see awkwardness and embarrassment as necessary steps to success and personal growth. Go beyond your comfort zone and try a new hobby, go to a new place or introduce yourself to interesting strangers. You’ll never know what is going to happen unless you try!
3. End your love affair with Google.
In today’s world where Google has become a permanent fixture, the temptation to find every single bit of information about an upcoming trip, a shipped package, or a future dinner date can be quite hard to resist. But peeking on spoilers can divest us of feeling surprised. If you want to maintain the element of surprise, learn to let go of Google and indulge your imagination instead.
4. Step out of your social circle.
Birds of the same feather flock together, but opposites also attract. The easiest way to step out of your comfort zone into something new and exciting is by introducing yourself to strangers whose lifestyle or preferences are different from yours. Not only will it allow you to make new friends, but it will also enrich your knowledge and make you a better person. Afraid of approaching others? Ask your friends to do the introductions for you!
5. Use your senses creatively.
Embark on an adventure and taste, see, hear, smell, and feel things not on your daily routine. Doing so on a regular basis will not only fill you up with a sense of discovery but will also help you make precious memories.
6. Get off the beaten path.
Learn to explore and travel to new places. It does not have to be expensive; simply going to an unfamiliar part of your neighborhood or city can open your eyes to new sights and sounds that will fill you with wonder. Ditch the GPS or the map and simply go where your feet take you—Tanya recommends playing the Left, left, right game where you turn left, left, and right until you are see something interesting.
7. Say YES!
Agreeing to new things or experiences is usually a nerve-wracking process, taking days or even weeks of careful consideration. Why not surprise yourself by celebrating a weekly YES day where you say yes to all new prospects, no matter how scary!
8. Sprinkle surprises on others.
One of the best things about living a surprise-filled life is that you can easily share the surprises with others. Write down things or experiences that you can surprise others with—you’ll find out that their priceless reactions to your surprises will be well worth the effort.
That’s it! Do have other tips on how to live a surprise-filled life? And what’s the best surprise you’ve ever given or received? Do share!