How To Be Spontaneous
I’m a planner. My calendar is always up to date, my day scheduled and my to do lists ready to be checked off. I like order, so you may be surprised to learn that I’m also quite spontaneous. One of the greatest adventures of my life began when I accepted a six-month contract to work aboard a cruise ship as a juggler/comedian. It was a spontaneous decision that I made within an hour of receiving the offer, despite having to leave home and begin work on another continent just three days later.
Singles regularly report that one of the top traits they look for in a mate is spontaneity. Spontaneous people are regarded as exciting, adventurous and fun. For some people it comes naturally, but spontaneity is also something you can learn.
What are the benefits of being spontaneous?
1. New experiences. Being spontaneous exposes you to a whole new world of experiences that you would not have otherwise enjoyed.
2. Better relationships. Spontaneity can breathe new life into relationships that have become predictable.
3. Be noticed. Spontaneous people are considered exciting, adventurous, and fun. They get noticed for doing the unexpected.
4. It’s interesting. A predictable life is a boring life. Spontaneity welcomes the unknown and makes life more interesting.
5. Overcome shyness. Spontaneous people are rarely shy. Learning to become more spontaneous can also help you overcome shyness.
6. Growth. Being spontaneous opens doors that would otherwise be closed, offering opportunities for growth.
7. Encourages flexibility. Sometimes spontaneous actions result in a disappointing outcome. That’s okay. Life can throw challenges your way sometimes. Being spontaneous helps you prepare for those challenging times by teaching you to be flexible and go with the flow.
8. It’s fun! Most spontaneous acts are fun. I don’t know anyone who dreams of spontaneously scrubbing the toilet.
How can you learn to be more spontaneous?
1. Yes and… Being spontaneous means seizing new opportunities when they present themselves. Yes and… is a concept used in improv games that can help you be more spontaneous. Yes and… means accepting a suggestion that someone puts forward in a scene and adding to it to keep the scene moving forward. Practice Yes and… in your life by accepting people’s suggestions. The next time a friend asks you out for a coffee date, don’t hesitate. Forget about checking your calendar and planning. Accept their offer and suggest that you meet right away.
2. No and… This is contrary to the first step above, but it’s necessary for some people. Are you the kind of person who can never say no to someone? Consider whether or not that prevents you from being spontaneous. If you’re constantly meeting the needs of others you may not have the time to be spontaneous.
3. Schedule time to be spontaneous. This may sound like the opposite of being spontaneous, but think of it. If your schedule is filled with commitments, even if they’re things you want to do, you won’t have the time to be spontaneous. Leave some flexibility in your schedule and you’ll have more opportunities to be spontaneous.
4. Start small. Learning to be spontaneous can take time. Being spontaneous doesn’t necessarily mean taking a last minute trip around the world. It can be as simple as going to the coffee shop across the street instead of your regular java joint. Look for little ways to be spontaneous. Take a new route home. Surprise a friend with an unexpected call. Try a new restaurant.
5. Embrace the unknown. Many people don’t like surprises. They prefer order and predictability. But being spontaneous often means experiencing the unknown. If you follow step 4 and start out small, you’ll soon learn that the unknown often holds more positive experiences than negative. Embrace the unknown.
6. Be curious. Always wondered what that restaurant is like? Curious where that road leads? Interested in knowing what that woman’s tattoo represents? Give in to your curiosities and take action. Your curiosity is an excellent guide to being spontaneous.
7. Expect the best. Negative expectations stifle spontaneity. If you worry about what people will think or how things can go wrong, you won’t take action. The next time you want to be spontaneous, expect the best and go for it.
Being spontaneous is a wonderful way to welcome excitement, adventure and fun into your life. Don’t hesitate. Take action now. Pick up the phone and call a long lost friend. Make a reservation for dinner and surprise your partner. Stop a colleague in the hall and tell them how much you appreciate their work. There are opportunities to be spontaneous all around you. Seize them.
What am I doing to be spontaneous? My wife and I have just decided that tomorrow we’ll pack up the car and embark on a road trip to the East Coast of Canada. We’re not sure how long we’ll be gone – maybe a week, maybe two. I suppose it’ll depend on how spontaneous we are during our trip.
Photo credit: Mike Baird