How to Create and Embrace Surprise
Not all surprises are the sort that makes you jump or scream and display your emotions as such an obvious way.
Another way of looking at surprise is that it’s ‘breaking the script’ of what is expected at a particular point in time. But for the surprise to have effect, you have to be clear on what the script is.
For example, you open an envelope and pull out a birthday card. You expect to open it, read a short message and find out who sent it. However, if you send one of my popping cards, the moment the card is opened, two cubes will pop out into the air. The jumping cubes have broken the script of what usually happens when you open a birthday card, and creates a surprise for the recipient.
Surprise elevates a moment, and often produces the kind of moment that you are likely to remember in the years to come. I often have customers who have met me at a market or wedding show a year or more earlier (and opened one of my popping cards), who meet me again and still remember opening the card and how it made them feel. That's the power of surprise.
So it seems obvious that we would want to create more delightful surprises, but it is important that people don’t start to expect the surprises and adapt to them. Therefore you should introduce randomness so that it stays unexpected. Keep that in mind!
How can we create surprise?
Surprises can be created for both yourself and others. Often both at the same time! Here are a few ideas:
- Instead of going on your usual date, plan something completely different. Although you'll know what you're doing (as you've organised it), you'll still experience surprise as it'll be breaking from your usual date night script.
- Take a different route to work. Set out a little earlier and plan a route that you wouldn't usually take. What were the highlights of your journey? Did you discover somewhere that you'd like to stop at and visit another time?
- Let a friend or family member plan whole day / afternoon / evening of activities. Go with the flow and embrace whatever they suggest!
- Delight someone by giving them a small, unexpected gift. It might be a physical object, such as a pin badge that you've found that would be perfect for them, or simply giving someone a compliment about how clever or witty they are.
- Do something that is above someone's expectations - give the whole room a good spring clean rather than just a quick tidy up, or provide an unexpected gift box free of charge in a jewellery order. (This happened to me recently and I was absolutely delighted! Thanks Miroo!)
- Sign up to a subscription - a magazine, a box of treats, or a fruit and veg box for example. You'll know that it's coming, but you might not know exactly when, or what will be in it!
However, if you're anything like me, sometimes you just can't be bothered. You just want things simple, easy and predictable, but bear this in mind...
And who doesn't want to feel alive? So make that effort. Look for the little things and do what you can.
Why not have a look at my Surprise Collection, which contains even more surprising ideas!