As a kid I loved cracker jacks. It wasn’t for the coated popcorn, it was for the experience of finding a surprise. I hunted down the peanuts and the toy surprise straightaway. My hands would get sticky scrounging toward the bottom of the box, but it was worth the effort–even if the humidity made the box soft and the popcorn a untied front against me. The real jackpot was when I scored some water-based sailor tattoos. An anchor or a heart that read “mom” and had an arrow shot through it.
Inspiration and Creativity have a lot to do with finding the “toy inside the moment”. Locating the surprise. We get lazy about this sometimes. We stop looking. Don’t we?
Here are 5 ways to disrupt the ordinary to find the surprise at the bottom of the box you’re in right now.
1. Eagle’s eye – worm’s eye.
What did this look like from somewhere else? Change your perspective, maybe even your actual physical perspective. If you still can’t tell, ask around.
2. Kiddie Ride it.
How might a child approach the situation in terms of curiosity, wonder, or even naiveté? You’re familiarity with your situation may be too stifling to find surprises. A breakthrough can come when we treasure hunt for wonder. And by the way, cynicism kills wonder.
3. Stew it.
Have you noticed how some things come to their fullest potential after they mull or stew for a while? This applies to more than food. Try a slow cooker approach: First write down your concerns and obstacles, and then fully set aside your situation or dilemma for 2 or 3 days. Give your unconscious mind time to simmer on things. Rest, work on something new, and absorb beauty in art or nature. Then, encounter your situation again nice and fresh. Jot out your new ideas before you get out your list, and then you’ll uncover some surprises. It’s like shaking the box to get the goodies to shift.
When was the last time you were lost in joy? Let yourself really enjoy something for the fun of it without worry. Something simple, like when you were young and carefree. Cease the day and suck the marrow out of life. It could be the mental break you truly need to find the primo surprise.
Are you pulled in a bunch of different directions? Media, relationships, obligations, work, projects, and commitments can make finding the good surprises all but impossible. Unplug. Turn down the “life noise” for several uninterrupted hours. You’ll start to feel human again, and that’s important. You can’t discover surprises in a mosh pit atmosphere, right?
What was the last thing that surprised you in a good way?