Category Archives: Self-enrichment


New challenges create self-enrichment and self-fulfillment
Photo: Kalahari

The greatest thing you can do is surprise yourself. – Steve Martin

Routines are necessary and predictable. Routines are virtuous. At least we feel virtuous when we stick to a schedule that includes all the million things we need to do in order to facilitate the immediate as well as long term needs of those for whom we have responsibilities. Packing school lunches, and doing the laundry are important ways we nurture our loved ones, and enrich their lives. But if we’re going to be our best self, and by extension give our best to others, we need to cultivate personal growth in ourselves through self-enrichment. There are lots of ways to do so, and a good place to start is to find time to surprise ourselves, by introducing into our lives the unpredictable.

The unpredictable challenges our own status quo, which in turn means we’re never quite the same again. We’ve changed for the better, because we’ve deliberately chosen a new challenge, and gained a new perspective.


 A good way to begin to embrace the unpredictable and encourage personal growth is by setting aside an hour or so each week to take a detour. That is to say, do something we didn’t know we were going to do, until the moment arrives.

Start by getting 20 to 30 small index cards. On each card write one fun activity; something you’d really enjoy doing. The activity shouldn’t involve a lot of time or money. So, while a trip to Paris would be nice, that’s not what we’re looking for here. We’re looking for activities like:

  • Go to a hobby store and buy a kite kit to put together and go fly the kite in the park
  • Find a quick craft project online and take an hour or so to do it
  • Learn five new words by reading something from an unfamiliar discipline
  • Explore a new hiking or biking trail for an hour or so
  • Look in the garage or attic for a family heirloom unseen for a while, and write a short narrative about its origins
  • Pretend to be a tourist encountering your city or town for the first time, and look online for sites to visit
  • Visit a farmer’s market or an ethnic grocery, buy something unfamiliar, go home, and create a new dish with it
  • Go to a coffee house, and strike up a conversation with a total stranger
  • Instead of driving, take a bus or a train to a familiar destination, and make note of how different the experience is, when you’re a passenger instead of the driver

Once you’ve written up cards for 20 to 30 activities of your own choosing, put them in a shoe box with a lid. Periodically, add new ideas for fun things to do as they occur to you, and remove those that feel “tired.” Once a week, make a date with yourself to explore something unpredictable. Shake the box first thing in the morning on the day of your date, and without peeking, select a card. No cheating, stick to the card you’ve chosen from the shoe box, and begin your adventure.


There are a variety of benefits to giving our lives much needed enrichment including:

  • We learn we can do things we thought we couldn’t, because even fun stuff can have obstacles to overcome
  • Learning new things adds to our knowledge base and boosts self-confidence
  • We have new experiences to talk about with others
  • Even though it may be subtle, we are forever changed for the better
  • We build a “muscle” for being open to the spontaneity of others
  • When we’re open to the spontaneity of others, we gain new perspective
  • When we practice changing things up in our lives, we can cope much more effectively with other, unexpected changes that will inevitably occur
  • Inviting good things into our lives maintains a positive attitude, which greatly diminishes negative thinking

Shake thing up a little, and you benefit a lot! Bringing self-enrichment and self-fulfillment to your life by invoking some unpredictability isn’t frivolous; it is actually a solid technique for encouraging one’s best self.

Please leave your  tips on challenging your own status quo in the Comments section below.

 In the meantime,

Bestest to all,Cynthia Dalton signature