Thought Starters

Spontaneity: Does Anything Really Go?

I am not a spontaneous guy.

That’s right, shocker, I know. I will take risks but they are, of course, calculated. I will try something new but I am not an early adopter. I suppose I am still closer to the center than I think I am. I can’t lie even though I really want to think that I am. But alas, no.

Recently I was involved in a discussion about spontaneity and it got me thinking (as I so often do). It is obvious that spontaneity in life is what keeps us interested and interesting for that matter. You know, off the cuff. At a moment’s notice. Just like a kid. Look at those kids, no worries. Just do it. As time passes we tend to forget about the things we did as kids. Do you remember those carefree summers where anything goes was the way it was? What happened to those days? I think I know and so do you. I don’t know about you but at times I miss the good old days. That leaves me wondering where our sense of adventure has gone. Let’s face it, it’s not like it used to be and you can pretend that you’re all “with it” and all spontaneous “like that” but between us we know the truth. You wish!

You can’t blame Picasso.

Picasso was once asked why he thought there were so few artists in the world. The story goes that he took to demonstrating this by asking a group of young children in a classroom which ones wanted to be artists. Most raised their hands. He then proceeded to another classroom and compared the same question to a group of mature students where just a few raised their hands. Picasso resolved that the education system is teaching our children not to be artists. It was a metaphorical but effective experiment. You could interpret this story to mean that through education we are taught to develop social, economic and societal responsibility and in turn impulse is taught to be controlled. The impulse that we knew so well as children is slowly, over time, controlled by the social concepts we learn through our education. Spontaneity, in a way, breaks us away from our control mechanisms and in the moment takes us back to our younger days. Maybe that’s why it feels so good.

Why do artists get to have all the fun?

We all have a little artist in us in some way but what really makes a true artist and why do they seem to be such enigmas? It seems their minds work in much different ways than the norm. They typically reside out of the proverbial box. That’s where they seem to think. It’s not easy and maybe that’s why they are so few. Are they irresponsible? Maybe, but not likely. It certainly seems like there is a modicum of control over their lives but maybe not their livers (ergo Hemingway). It certainly seems artists have decided that their path in life does not follow the status quo. The bourgeoisie of old was the model of the true artisan who throughout history developed their own economic and social classes in direct opposition to political and social norms. Always on the outside; being different and thinking different. Is it a stretch to think that spontaneity is a contributing factor in driving the desire for an artist’s experiences? It seems to make sense or at least to me it’s a way to rationalize how creativity is sparked and how the flame stays lit. Have an idea, just do it, try it out, stop the bus and get off just because you can.

So, go ahead and light that match.

 Maybe we don’t all want to live the life of an artist. We all have passion for what we do and we all find our passion in life but bringing spontaneity back just like Justin Timberlake brought sexy back is an essential part of living life. It’s also a way to get those creative juices flowing. Doing something that you wouldn’t regularly do opens you up to new experiences and those new experiences can show you a way to success that you may not have considered before. Try it, you might like it. One thing’s for sure, Mikey did and he lived and you will too.

When you do something off the cuff and the experience resonates you have enriched your life. Remember to enjoy those moments because they don’t come around every day.

When’s the last time you did something impulsive? Remember to look both ways.


About rdopping

interior design guy who loves other stuff; social media, photography, film, food and anything that is good for the growth of the self


2 thoughts on “Spontaneity: Does Anything Really Go?

  1. Great thoughts, Ralph. That Picasso story hit home with me when I first heard it. It motivates me to no longer accept the norm has all the answers. Sure you sometimes feel like you’re in quicksand when you’re pursuing freedom, but you know it’s worth it when you hit that perfect moment in time. It feels like no other: like you have no limits, because you slotted into that puzzle called the universe and REALLY belong. But I hear you, I miss those childhood days when nothing was impossible.

    Posted by Carolyn | December 3, 2011, 16:46
  2. oh no, you did not just reference Justin Timeberlake bringing sexy back?! LOL.

    Posted by Karen | December 10, 2011, 21:31

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