Embrace the Unknown — Expected the Unexpected


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overview

Being surprised has a powerful impact on your brain. When you are surprised, you are more attentive and observant. Your sense of Experience is greatly enhanced. Feeling surprised, which is one of the definitions of Wonder, creates a reinforcing Feedback Loop with the Experience and Observe functions.

Surprises play a significant role in creating unusual links in your brain — links you will use later to Fuse ideas. Surprises make you Wonder in more than one sense, but maybe the most fundamental question you ask yourself when you are surprised is: what else could be possible?

Ironically, you can turn feeling surprised into a proactive, planned practice. When you Embrace the Unknown, let alone promote it and plan more of it in your life, you increase the chances of being surprised by definition.

Expecting the Unexpected does not mean trying to predict unusual, surprising situations. On the contrary, it means embodying the unexpected as part of your life and inviting it in.

A surprise is an invitation to play in a new, unfamiliar playground.

actionable steps

When planning an Experience or any other activity, plan to come less prepared. Avoid the urge to know everything about it before you actually Experience it.

Leave mental and physical room for the unknown even in goal-oriented activities. Avoid the urge to plan everything ahead. Embrace the notion of the unknown no matter where you are heading.

Proactively create the setup to invite unexpected things to occur and come in your way.

Actively look for surprises and the unexpected.

Pay attention to the things that catch you by surprise. Experience them — marvel at them.

Proactively look for opportunities in any surprise.

examples

Example 1

Take a trip and let others lead the way without knowing the details of the plan. Let go and enjoy the unexpected path.

Example 2

Add some random elements to your project, such as a surprising team member or an arbitrary constraint. This can be an exercise that will spice things up, but at the same time, it can lead to surprising insights and ideas that will take the project to a whole new level.

Example 3

Watch a play or a movie, or read a book, without knowing anything about them in advance. Don’t read the excerpts, don’t read the reviews, and don’t ask for recommendations. Approach this Experience like a child seeing something for the first time. If you’re lucky, you will be immersed in the sense of surprise, and it will significantly enhance the Experience.


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