A subscriber to our site, Logan, sent me a link to an article I love. It’s called 6 Habits of Truly Memorable People. It’s from Inc. and is by Jeff Haden.
I’ll share a section from it about my favorite “habit” listed (“Embark on a Worthless Mission”):
You’re incredibly focused, consistently on point, and relentlessly efficient.
You’re also really, really boring.
Remember when you were young and followed stupid ideas to their illogical conclusions? Road trips, failing the *cinnamon challenge, trying to eat six saltine crackers in one minute without water… you dined out on those stories for years. [*Editor’s note: this is an effort to swallow a tablespoon of cinnamon in one minute, apparently not easy and apparently gag-inducing as evidenced by a spate of YouTube videos that I don’t want to link to because I don’t like watching people gag. Just me, perhaps.]
Going on “missions,” however pointless and inconvenient, was fun. In fact the more pointless the more fun you had, because missions are about the ride, not the destination.
So do something, just once, that adults no longer do. Drive eight hours to see a band. Buy your seafood at the dock. Or do something no one else thinks of doing. Ride along with a policeman on a Friday night (it’s the king of all eye-opening experiences.)
Pick something it doesn’t make sense to do a certain way and do it that way. You’ll remember it forever—and so will other people.
I’m not particularly excited about staging random, pointless missions just so other people will remember me. I spent about four decades doing that, and I got exhausted. But I’ve never lost my taste for randomness for its/my own sake, and that’s why this article got me excited. There really IS something about just doing something new and different or long-forgotten but formerly life-giving. It’s energizing. I often quote author Mark Batterson who says that “change of place + change of place = change of perspective.” Related concept.
I’d like to declare May 22 as “Random, Pointless Mission Day.” Done. So in honor of this day, I’d like to hear your ideas, inclinations, occurrences.
Here are some of my attempted random, pointless missions over the years (with results):
- Drive a six-year-old boy from Maryland to Texas to see the Alamo just because (check; repeated when he was 18)
- Eat a case (12 packs) of Pep-o-Mint (NOT Wintergreen) Lifesavers in five minutes (check)
- Slide through an outdoor barbecue chimney (I got stuck for a long time but eventually made it, though I’m still claustrophobic.)
- Dive into a lake in 30 degree weather in all my clothes and stay five minutes (check)
- Eat raw fish out of the North Sea (check)
- Drive solo around the country (My car broke down in California and was trailered home; call that an “incomplete.”)
- Attempt to see every Gene Kelley movie in a 14-film festival (I saw one, was delighted, and didn’t go back.)
- Start a collection of royal wedding souvenirs (check for Fergie/Andrew, Elizabeth/Prince Phillip, Diana/Charles; the Duchess of Wessex didn’t hold my attention, though she has worn well.)
- See every Gaudi building in Barcelona in five days (My legs got tired; we missed Parc Guell, and I’m still bemoaning that!)
- Learn all the words to the 18:37-length Alice’s Restaurant Masacree by Arlo Guthrie (check; It’s a family tradition to listen in on Thanksgiving. If you don’t know why, listen here.)
- Watch Leave it to Beaver marathons whenever they’re on television (I usually miss them but I love the idea.)
Thanks, Logan, for sending me the article that propelled me into this walk down memory lane.
I realize how much I truly love doing random, pointless things. I want some new ones.
How about you?
And what can we do together?