Definitions Life Skills Ponderings

Spontaneity….. big word… good? bad? other?

My approach to life is to plan. That is not to say I don’t do things spontaneously. I do…. I plan… then live.

“Spontaneity is the quality of being able to do something just because you feel like it at the moment, of trusting your instincts, of taking yourself by surprise and snatching from the clutches of your well-organized routine, a bit of an unscheduled plea.”

Some of the happiest people you’ll find are the most free thinking and spontaneous. Not content to carry out the same, dull routine each day, they strive to add new experiences to their routine to give life fresh flavor and meaning.

Even if you’re not a naturally spontaneous person, you can add spontaneity and creativity to your life by taking some simple steps to break out of your established routine. By doing so, you’ll find yourself less burdened with stress, anxiety, and depression as you uncover new ideas and opportunities. Here are some ways to be more spontaneous:


1 Take a Different Route

Instead of driving the same route to work or to run errands each day, try to take a different path where you’ll be exposed to new sights and sounds. As you drive, look at your city or town with the fresh eyes of a tourist. Do you see things you haven’t noticed before? Stop off and get coffee at a new place. Take a few minutes to sit down and really absorb the essence of the new environment. It’s so easy to go through life with our senses turned off, never really seeing what’s around us.

2 Spend Thirty Minutes with a Child

Children are naturally spontaneous and enthusiastic. Set aside thirty minutes to spend with a child. Let the child determine the activity and set the pace. Follow along with an open mind. Children have much to teach us about being spontaneous, open, and curious.

3 Make Time for Self-Expression

Take the time to engage in an act of self-expression each day. Spend thirty minutes creating with your hands or writing in a journal. You don’t need to be an artist to create beautiful artwork. Form collages out of handmade paper, interesting photos, or flowers and leaves found on a nature walk. Create a spontaneous, abstract work of art using paint. Become a rubber stamp artist. If you express yourself better with words, compose a poem or craft funny quotes. Don’t worry about whether your creations are good or bad. The key is to allow your thought and ideas to flow freely.

4 Rediscover Nature

Make it a point to get outside and rediscover nature each day. Take a long walk along wooded trails, hike a mountain, or get that bike you never use out of the garage and onto the street. Really absorb the immense beauty of nature as you walk or pedal. Take a bike ride with a child. You’ll see things together that you may not have noticed on your own.

Then there is spontaneous learning…. What is it?

Spontaneous learning is opportunistic learning. It arises when people are alert to changes in their environment or circumstances and start asking questions. Asking questions is a key part of learning and education.


Materials needed:



Willingness to Learn

1 Recognize Opportunities. Opportunities for spontaneous learning abound. Need a plumber? Look up plumbing websites and manufacturer websites to learn the parts of toilets, sinks, bathtubs, showers, etc. Learn the prices. Call around and get three estimates for your plumbing job. When the plumber arrives watch him work and ask questions. Maybe there are one or two simple jobs you can learn and do yourself next time.

Have a lawn problem? Take pictures of your lawn and take them to three stores and ask questions to get a diagnosis and recommended cures. Or call competing lawn care services for free consultations. When you learn, while it’s fresh, write it down. Search the internet for confirmation or extension of the knowledge. Bookmark excellent sites in an appropriately named folder.

2 Ask Learning Questions. Whenever you encounter a problem in daily life, ask questions about it. What is the cause of this? How can it be fixed? How can it be prevented? Why did it happen now? Ask these questions of yourself, others involved, friends and family, and best of all, experts. What did you learn from this experience? Summarize it in writing to make it accessible in the future.

3 Fill in the Gaps. Spontaneous learning is by its nature fairly unstructured and informal. So there can be lots of gaps in knowledge that is accumulated this way. Try to identify important missing knowledge components that you can follow up on in a more structured way later.

4 Leverage Your Relationships. Use spontaneous learning to improve relationships with friends and family members. Take a sincere interest in the activities and things that are important to these significant others in your life. Ask plenty of questions so you can learn more about them. Write them down if necessary. Then explore those activities and interests on your own. You’ll gain knowledge having personal relevance that will enable you to nurture the important relationships in your life.

5 Teach Others about Spontaneous Learning. If you feel satisfied with your spontaneous learning results, teach the strategy to others. Remember that the keys are to observe carefully and ask questions that yield useful information. Be like an inquisitive scientist or philosopher, always seeking to learn.

Yep, I am probably a bit spontaneous…. But not about my morning routine of writing… coffee…

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