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The Jar of Spontaneity

One of the perks of being a waitress at an affordable, internationally-known, hole-in-the-wall kinda joint… is the opportunity to meet ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE.

A heavily intoxicated, old telenovela star who asked me several times if I knew who he was and if I wanted a picture with him… finally I conceded.

I’ve met celebrities and writers and dignitaries and homeless people and sports players and government officials and hillbillies and backpackers and of course, the only other person on this earth who has an irrational fear of butter.

Yep. We finally met.

It only clicked in my last few months of working there, that as a Happiness Scientist, I should probably start taking advantage of this incredibly valuable resource!

Why spend time creating an online survey – when I could simply speak to the 100+ perfectly good strangers I served each day at my “other job”?

I would ask what brought them to the restaurant, and after their story, many would ask about me – and I would simply say –

“I’m a happiness scientist! I’m on a mission to create happiness experiments that will help people define their own version of ‘How to be Happy’.”

Amongst the many enchanting and the many more ridiculous things that flew out of peoples’ mouths when I told them about my mission…this gem was found.

The Jar of Spontaneity

Every once in a while you meet a couple that looks like they are on their honeymoon… and in my case – since I worked in a vacation town at a yummy restaurant with a romantic view of the water – they usually were on their honeymoon. This couple wasn’t though – they just looked it. They were mid-fifties, holding hands, giggling and I thought – sweet! They must have some great happiness insights.

Indeed they did.

I started in with my usual charming spiel about the restaurant and then asked my go to – “So, what brings you to the saloon?”

“The Jar of Spontaneity” the woman replied.

Ok… they’re messing with me right? What is this, Raiders of the Lost Ark?

“What’s ‘The Jar of Spontaneity’?” I finally asked, when I realized they saw no need to elaborate.

“Well, you know those places people always recommend or those events you read about and then never write down? Well, we just actually write them down. And then put them in a jar… and when we’re feeling spontaneous, we just turn to the jar! Last year, we met a couple at a restaurant that we loved and they said – ‘Oh no. You think this burger is good? You obviously haven’t been to Le Tub. They have the best burger in the entire country – even Oprah agrees.’ When we realized we had no plans this morning – we turned to the jar and then hopped in the car for 3 hours to come here and have this burger.”

I’m pretty sure I had to physically un-drop my jar.

“I. Love. That.”

I went home and immediately created my jar.


You still might not get why “The Jar of Spontaneity” is being featured in Passions and Projects Month – so let me break it down for you.

If you identify yourself as a “creative person”, you probably have an easy time identifying your passions.There are plenty of people, however, that struggle to find their passion. They rarely carve out time for something that they don’t deem as “necessary”.

Well, if you fall into the latter category, I highly recommend The Jar of Spontaneity.

Nothing about this jar is “necessary”. Yet, through dedicating some time to spontaneity– you may accidentally have created a system for finding your passions, interests and hobbies.

If you don’t know what you like, simply GET OUT THERE AND TRY MORE THINGS.

I sure as hell wouldn’t have two of my greatest hobbies/passions (a cappella or disc golf) if I hadn’t been spontaneous on two random but fateful days of my life.

What do you recommend someone add to their jar of spontaneity? Do you have a story about spontaneity that led to a passion or hobby or interest? Share in the comments below!

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