Monday, September 18, 2017

Surprise Yourself: Get Out of Your Head & Into the World - Lisa Currie

Summary: Turn every day into a new beginning!  Brimming with unique and game-changing ways to try something new, Surprise Yourself presents simple activities to make every day count.

  • Start a club
  • Compliment a stranger
  • Ask a child for advice
  • Draw someone's portrait
  • Celebrate a friendiversary
Offering plenty of room to record your progress and insights, this is a DIY happiness guide to share with a friend or use as a personal playbook for jump-starting each day.  Flip to any page and begin!  (Disclaimer: This book was given to me for free in exchange for an honest review)

My Review:  Surprise Yourself is the first book that I have accepted for review in a very long time.  Seriously.  It’s been years. However, I am a dyed-in-the-wool introvert with a tendency to spend a little too much time stuck in my own head, so the idea that a book could pull me out of that was intriguing.  At first glance, it certainly appears sunshine-y and uplifting, if I were to judge based solely on the cover (which I would never admit to doing).  Now, to dig into the book.

Oh, look!  The dedication is a reminder (to the author’s future self, but it works for the reader as well) to “spend less time trying to predict what could happen in every scenario and more time just showing up to see what does happen.”  *Gasp*  It’s like she knows me.  Moving on.

Surprise Yourself is not a book you read.  Not really.  While there is some reading involved, it is mostly a book meant to spur you to action -- to get you off the couch, out of the house, and out into the world.  It's designed to be something you can use to connect with others (say, a friend or family member) or to rediscover yourself and engage in a little activity that will stretch your comfort zone.  Essentially, she says:  It’s okay to be nervous.  It’s okay to do the easy things first.  Skip around the book.  Have fun.  Reach a little.  Explore yourself and the world around you.  Don’t take things to seriously. And, of course, surprise yourself.

Here are a few examples of activities in the book:
  • Have a stranger plan your day – Ask someone you don’t know very well (or at all) to suggest three ways you could spend your day in your current city or town.  
  • Partake in a bit of people watching – This page comes with some fun prompts for imagining the lives of strangers.
  • Go on a silent date – Don’t worry, the author provides several (clean) ideas for silent activities.  
  • Learn a few words in a new language
  • Put up an encouraging poster in your neighborhood  
  • Ask a child for advice (there are prompts or you can go your own way)
  • Let a dog take you for a walk
  • Sign up for a class you’ve always wanted to try
There are over a hundred more ideas (some silly, some serious) but I kind of feel like sharing them all wouldn’t be sporting.  Most of the pages have writing prompts, places to doodle, record your thoughts, or jot down the responses of others.  There are even several pages at the back that give the summarized version of each activity and allow you to color them in as you go  -- sort of an introvert's bucket-list, if you will, that rounds out the book quite nicely.  While the activity suggestions are appropriate for most ages, there are a few that might be more appropriate with adult supervision, simply for safety’s sake, so if your plan is to hand this book over to your kid, you might want to take a look at what they plan to do for the day just to give it the okay, lest your child attend a peaceful protest without you or decide to give a stranger a temporary tattoo.  Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a little extra push to get outside themselves and more fully embrace life.

For the sensitive reader: No worries.  

My Rating: 3.75 Stars

If you're interested in purchasing this book, you'll find it (and a few more examples of what's in the book) here.  (ps.  This is a courtesy link.  I don't make any money off it.)

If you'd like to read more about Lisa Currie's other books (The Positivity Kit, Me, You, Us, and The Scribble Diary, you can see them on the author's website here.  (Again...courtesy link.  No $$ made)

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