avoiding the ordinary: canned goods

What do you bring to the table? Be it a job interview, a brainstorming session or interaction with a loved one, are your responses built on expected words, conventional notions,canned goods ingrained thought processes?

Almost every sphere of human activity can benefit from original ideas, and they hardly need be limited to symphony or skyscraper, to palate or painting, to e-this or i-that. Cause a few sparks—by going above and beyond, by living without fear of others’ responses, by acting from true conviction.

While breaking out of restrictive routines, let your actions speak for themselves. Leave the blown horns for the orchestra, let advertisements remain within the realm of television and radio, keep the ego in check. As one of innumerable examples, photographer Mark Abramson’s project, “Neither Here Nor There,” quietly looks beyond his own immigrant background to chronicle the ever-poignant struggles and contradictions of an immigrant family, whose aspirations make a necessity of the unconventional.

In most situations, canned responses are harder to swallow than a hunger strike. Tie into your personal enthusiasms. Play to your strengths. Avoid obsessively ordinary behaviors and responses that represent little more than purblind apathy.

None of the above contradicts behaving in a dependable way. To be relied upon day after week, month after year, decade after generation, is to accept the kind of personal responsibility—from children and parents to work and relationships—that allows us to function beyond the alarm clock.

But break out of the typical. Drop the commonplace. Whether for a colleague, friend, boss, spouse, relative or neighbor, let your unexpected, productive actions take hold. Document the results. Provoke from-the-gut responses.

Let those within and beyond your circle know that you’ve got the goods.