Tiny Adventures for the Not Adventurous
Ideas for Valentine’s Day and well beyond
Posted Feb 12, 2019
It’s all well-and-good for motivational gurus to encourage people to take risks but the people most likely to seek their advice tend to be risk-averse. The following list is for such people.
Forgo the commercial Valentine's Day card. Instead of a card with a hah-hah or sappy, impersonal inscription, on an attractive blank note card, write your own note. Dare you even try writing a short poem?
Try massage oil, for example, the highly rated Honeydew.
Admit you were wrong to someone who you value.
Look someone in the eye for just a second, long enough to notice their eye color and whether they seem kind. (They say the eyes are the window to the soul.)
Try a new technique in communicating. For example, want to try tactfully disagreeing a bit more often, for example, “I understand but I’m wondering if X. What do you think?"
Here’s a tactic I’m trying these days: After making a compelling point, rather than adding something, I stop and remain silent until the person says something, even if it takes a good few seconds.
Helping professionals, try a new technique. Here are a couple I’ve started using recently:
The teleportation: I ask my client to summarize what s/he got out of the session by pretending I’ve teleported him or her to their living room and they’re telling their friends and family what they want to remember from the session.
Tweak your look
I used to wear nice pants and shoes when I saw clients. Now, below a nice collared shirt, I often wear grey or black jeans and nice but understated sneakers. Perhaps that combination yields sufficient credibility while adding a measure of informality to make clients feel more comfortable.
When I see clients, I usually wear a white or blue collared shirt but recently bought a light-yellow one.
My wife has been playing with unconventional-color nail polish. (There's always polish remover.)
Should you dress just slightly sexier?
Drive somewhere new and perhaps not touristy. Go to a cafe there. Watch.
Walk in the rain. That can feel a little adventurous and bold without any real risk—Being in the rain won’t make you sick.
Try a new approach to developing viewpoints. In recent years, despite holding a Ph.D., which values research, I’m growing more convinced by a priori logic, especially in social science, where investigator and publisher bias can invalidate results.
Try a new genre of reading. For example, if you normally read mysteries, how about trying a biography? If you’re a how-to reader, want to try a novel? My favorite of late is the romantic, The Fault In Our Stars. TIME called it "Damn near genius" but it's an easy read. Are you a consumer of the liberal media? How about checking out essays by Victor Davis Hanson.
Watch a new TV show. Still stuck on Seinfeld reruns? How about a highly regarded new series like Homecoming, The Americans, or the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel?
Volunteer at something new but low-risk: Read aloud at a library, tutor a child after school, help prepare the fundraising dinner.
Try a new walking/hiking route.
I used to deposit checks at the ATM. Now I use the Wells Fargo app on my phone. That lets me deposit checks from anywhere.
Grow a different (more challenging?) plant, for example, the gorgeous, long-blooming phalaenopsis orchid? Orchids are no longer expensive—Check your local big-box store, supermarket or my fave, Trader Joe’s.
Tweak what you eat. Try a food that many people like but you haven’t tried, perhaps Indian chicken tikka masala or Thai shrimp with sweet basil.
Each morning I have coffee with cream and sugar, but lately, I sometimes drink black coffee with a few only-slightly-sweet Lattemiele cookies. It's an enjoyable change with few extra calories.
If you’re not the type who’s about to skydive, leave a marginal relationship, or even take a week-long driving vacation, perhaps one or more of these adventures for the not-adventurous might add just enough zing to your life, or at least to your Valentine’s Day.