I do not often recommend a specific article or book. I do not usually re-tweet or share posts. In my experience, all too often people jump to the conclusion that the recommender agrees 100% with everything stated in the resource. Much of the ensuing dialogue, then, is about nit-picking the pieces that people disagree with. “Yeah, but, you’re an idiot if you think…”
Let’s be different. Good different. In fact, that’s a good way to state the theme of the book I am highly recommending to you in this blog post. “Surprise the World” by Michael Frost.
I devote much of my writing to relationships, specifically how we interact with our fellow human beings. I believe our overall health (physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual) is largely affected by our relationships. Too many of us suffer and cause suffering because of toxic interactions, and I’ve come to realize that people are much bolder when using their fingers to communicate (I’m speaking of typing, but yes there are other bold ways to speak with your fingers/hands). It is in the act of interacting face to face that we develop the better possibility of building empathy, affirming, exhorting and ultimately learning to become a better, healthier person ourselves.
Frost expresses this idea of Good Different by using the phrase “Living Questionable Lives”. When answering the question, “What Kind of Life Will Evoke Questions?”, Frost states:
“When predictability is high, impact is low. In other words, when the audience thinks they know what you’re going to say, and you go ahead and say it, it makes very little impact. On the other hand, when an audience is surprised or intrigued, they will think long and hard about what they’ve heard.” – Chapter 1
So, in a society where people expect anger, nit-picking, and negativity, what happens when we express empathy, understanding and rational thinking – dare I even say positivity? It surprises the world, and doors are opened for healthy relationships. In a society where selfishness and building personal wealth are the norm, what happens when we act selflessly with our time, skills, and money? It surprises the world, and doors are opened for healthy relationships.
What I also love about Frost’s book is that it is extremely practical. This is a short, easy read that contains challenging ideas about how to establish healthy relational rhythms into your life. Easy to read and challenging to implement results in a powerful life changing (and perhaps world changing) book. As you read – and I highly recommend you do – I encourage you to consider whether these rhythms are already a part of your life. You may not exactly follow his blueprint, but if you are not already engaged in similar rhythms, then I suggest you exactly follow his blueprint.
Be different. Good different.