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Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

Would you like to be more creative?  Here is a simple 3 step technique for getting your creative juices flowing from the man who wrote the book on Creativity, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

  1. Try to be surprised by something everyday.
  2. Try to surprise someone every day.
  3. Write down what surprised you and how you surprised others.

These three steps are great in that they are so simple and also so powerful.

First, you will begin to consciously look for surprises.  This curiosity is precisely the thing that makes children so creative.  They question.   They thrive on obtaining new knowledge.  They want to learn.  They seek the unknown, because they truly don’t yet understand.  It is this curiosity or beginner’s mind that forces questions, which yields understanding.

Second, by surprising others you can add enjoyment to your life.  Spreading happiness in unexpected ways is a great way to make friends, and in general it is good to have friends.  Again, you must challenge yourself to surprise others.  It takes creativity to determining how you will surprise someone in a meaningful way.  Yes, sometimes this will just happen, but on other days a little effort will be required.  Either way, people love pleasant surprises, and will appreciate your efforts.

Next, as you chronicle all of this activity, you can look for patterns that may guide you to new adventures in your life.  One of Czikszentmihaly’s great quotes from the book is “Life is nothing more than a stream of experiences.  The more widely and deeply you swim in it, the richer your life will be.”   You can begin to understand that there is deeper meaning in life.  You can begin to see what it is that you enjoy doing or what you do well, or both.  You will make new friends, uncover new truths, and over time create a rich and interesting story of surprises.

Finally, if you are at all interested in blogging, this chronicle can become the basis of content for your future posts.  Whether you are chronicling a specific experience, presenting a newly postulated question, or just sharing something funny, this journal of surprises becomes the answer to the age old question of “what am I going to write about?”

Give it a shot.  Be surprised by something.  Surprise someone.  Write it down.  Watch as your creativity begins to awakens.   You may surprise yourself with just how creative you can be.