Lessons for Living       
Lesson Twenty: "Being Deviant"


Have you broken any rules today?




Welcome to Lessons for Living.

This week's lesson is on the "Being Deviant."

Have you been deviant today? Have you broken any rules? You can enliven life by practicing deviancy and learning to be different.

In life people develop patterns of routine which organize and structure their day. Routine is helpful but over time a routine can become rigid. We have rules that we live by, and we are often reluctant to change them. A danger is that over time the rules and routine may become a rut of monotony, and we will be stuck in a pattern of living that is emotionally deadening. Our habitual routine may provide a set of blinders to a more exciting and challenging life.

To break out of routine you can be deviant. You can do something different on purpose. It may be as simple as changing the way you drive to work. Do you take the same route every day? How long have you done so? Do you ever vary it or do you just see the same scenery over and over? Try this. Tomorrow go a different way. Leave earlier if you have to. See something different. Take the scenic route. Be open to the experience and see if it brightens your day. Do the same thing on your way home. Take a different path – the one less traveled by you. See if variety enlivens your life.

Here are some other ways to practice deviancy.

  • Wear a new color. Make it bright.
  • Buy a bold tie
  • Mismatch your socks and see if anyone notices
  • Eat a new food. Something exotic.
  • Go to a movie in the middle of the day
  • Change your hairstyle
  • Send yourself flowers
  • Run barefoot through a park

To change a routine you must recognize that you have one. Can you identify your routines? What you do day after day? Do you have a morning routine? A bedtime routine? Exercise routine? What about the weekends? Do you always do the same thing?

When you find a routine ask yourself these questions: "Why do I do this? Did I choose it or just fall into it? Do I like it? Is it helpful? Can I change it?"

Evaluate your routines and determine if they are useful or just habits. If they don’t seem useful then challenge them. Learn to be deviant on purpose. Put variety into your day. For a healthier and happier life be sure to bring some deviancy into your life everyday. Break out of your routines.

2000 Daniel H. Johnston. All Rights Reserved.

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