Genuine happiness comes from within, and often it comes in spontaneous feelings of joy.

Andrew Weil

I’ve always considered myself as an impulsive individual. Or so I thought, until someone pointed out that perhaps I’m not impulsive – just spontaneous.

What’s the difference between being spontaneous and impulsive?

Being impulsive is not being able to control yourself.

Being spontaneous is engaging in behavior without censoring or rethinking what you’re about to do.

The Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory explains that we may approach life in one of two ways – in a structured way (judging) or in more of a flexible way (perceiving).

When we take a closer look at what this means, a person who approaches life through “judging” would approach life in a very structured, engineered way. This person likes to have control of themselves and their environment as it gives them a sense of security in this way. They are more likely than not to hold in high regard things like self-regulation, order, and timeliness.

A person who approaches life through “perceiving” has a tendency to want more choices than not. They like to go with the flow – in other words, they value opportunities for spontaneity.

The ability to engage in spontaneous behaviors requires us to trust ourselves completely. That no matter what gets presented to us, we can trust in our ability to approach and engage in a way that serves us – that we won’t mess it up.

Do you realize that the simple act of being spontaneous incorporates two things that are heavily correlated to happiness?

  1. Freedom from self-consciousness: being spontaneous requires and at the same time allows you to free yourself from your inner self-critic and mind chatter.
  2. Mindfulness: spontaneity also allows you to be presently engaged in the moment. Not off somewhere worried about the future or ruminating on something that happened in the past.

The way I see it, you can’t afford to not be spontaneous.

Yes, it may serve you well to have some structure to your day – my morning routine is what sets the tone for the day.

And, it’s also equally important to include spontaneity into your days. It provides you with the opportunity for increased well-being/happiness: You learn to trust yourself. You’re present and in the moment. You’re free from self-limiting thoughts and beliefs, even if for a brief moment.

When you were but a child, being spontaneous was a natural way of living. You did what you felt pulled to do – you followed your curiosity, pursued laughter, delighted in finding magic throughout your day.

Being spontaneous is simple: Follow your heart.

Take the long way home.

Be curious about the wrong turns in life.

Make room for magical coincidences that come from being free.

Live with intention. Lead with inspiration.