Posted by on October 24, 2011

Your brain is hardwired to notice the exception, the incongruity, the discrepancy, the disturbance, that thing – no matter how small – that doesn’t belong.

“Something of the sense of holiness on islands comes, I think, from this strange, elastic geography. Islands are made larger, paradoxically, by the scale of the sea that surrounds them. The element which might reduce them, which might be thought to besiege them, has the opposite effect. The sea elevates these few acres into something they would never be if hidden in the mass of the mainland. The sea makes islands significant.”
Adam Nicolson, Sea Room

“The sea makes islands significant,” is just another way of saying “Normalcy makes the aberration exceptional,” or “Boredom makes the surprising delightful,” or “Mundanity makes the punch line funny.”

The pattern makes the gap noticeable.

Discoveries are made when people do something wrong.
Discoveries are made when people do something new.
Discoveries are made when people do something surprising.
Discoveries are made when people do something different.

Mistakes often lead to discoveries. This is why so many discoveries are made by accident.

Discovery… is the signature… of Adventure.

Adventure begins when we break a pattern, when we do something wrong, new, surprising or different. This insight has profound implications in advertising, public speaking, political campaigns and the arts, but these are not the focus of our attention today.

Our thoughts are turned toward you.

If you choose to take a wildly different route to work tomorrow, it will be less efficient that the route you normally take.

But you will also see new scenery.

If you took that different route to work tomorrow, you’d have to leave home earlier or risk being late. Leaving earlier would alter your schedule, disrupt your routine, break your pattern. And we wouldn’t want to do that.

Would we?

As long as we’re talking about things we’re not going to do, let’s plan not to stop somewhere along this new route to investigate something we notice. We couldn’t possibly make time for that.

Could we?

Adventure begins when you do something new, surprising or different.

Anxious anticipation, nervous trepidation, heart palpitation and a tingling sensation. We don’t want those.

Do we?

If you take the long way to work tomorrow and stop to investigate something you notice, send me an email about it. Address that email to

One thing leads to another.

There’s really no telling where this might lead.

Roy H. Williams

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