This little list comes from a book called 45 Ways to Broaden Your Horizons. A friend shared this with me and I thought it would be fun to run through it. I’ve actually done several of them in the past, but never with any sort of intention. This time I’ll have a chance to reflect on the experience and see what others (you) think.

I will not be tackling these in any particular order. I’ll just do whichever I feel like doing or when an opportunity presents itself, and update with a link to the post once I’ve completed it.

The List 

  1. Eat 2 meals from every continent (except Antarctica). What do the flavors tell you about each culture?
  2. Listen to 2 new music albums this month. What did you hear?
  3. Carry a camera for one month. Take at least 100 photos. What subjects or themes reoccur in your photos?
  4. Have a conversation with 2 people born at least 4 decades apart about their childhoods. What has changed? What is the same?
  5. Sleep outdoors for a night. What did you see, hear, and feel?
  6. Watch 3 subtitled films (different language each). How is the experience different from watching a film in your own language?
  7. Write 3 poems (haiku, limerick, sestina, sonet, rondeau, ballade, and nonnet).
  8. Develop a basic understanding of the key beliefs of the 4 most practiced world religions (other than your own). What is something they all have in common?
  9. Attend 1 of each: professional, semi-professional, and amateur sporting event. How did the fans and atmospheres differ?
  10. Subscribe to a new magazine. Which articles most stand out for you?
  11. Turn your cell phone off for a week. What did you miss? What did you gain?
  12. Mail a handwritten letter to each: favorite author, musician, actor, and business establishment. What is it you admire about each of them?
  13. Find examples of each of the following architectural styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, Neoclassical, Georgian, Beaux Arts, Modern, and Postmodern. Sketch or photograph the examples.
  14. Attend a classical music concert or opera. What did the music make you feel?
  15. Learn the following culinary knife cuts: Chiffonade, Julienne, Allumette, Batonnet, Dice, Brunoise.
  16. Watch 3 Academy Award-winning films that were made before 1945. What stood out most about the filmmaking compared to today’s cinema styles?
  17. Read 5 O. Henry Award-winning short stories. Note your thoughts about each.
  18. Have a conversation with someone who speaks a different language than you. In what way were you able to communicate?
  19. Draw a map of the following: your bedroom, your home, your town/city, your country, your planet, your solar system. Don’t worry about scale. Do worry about landmarks that are meaningful to you.
  20. Read (watch or listen to) the same story covered by 3 news sources from different points on the political spectrum. How did the coverage differ?
  21. Go on a nature hike of 5 or more miles. Make notes about or sketches of what you saw.
  22. Read 3 articles on a scientific topic that interests you. What new information stood out to you?
  23. Take a class to learn a new subject or skill. What was most challenging about the learning process? What was most enjoyable?
  24. Pet 3 kinds of animals that you have never touched before. Did your impression of the animals change as a result of the interaction?
  25. Learn 1 dance move that you can perform confidently in public. How was your performance received?
  26. Read 1 award-winning work of fiction. Make a list of your favorite quotes from the book (minimum of 5).
  27. Volunteer at a charity organization for a minimum of 10 hours. What did you learn from the experience?
  28. Buy something at a flea market and display it prominently in your home. How does your acquisition change your living space?
  29. Attend one stand-up and one improvisational comedy performance. What was most noteworthy about the performances?
  30. Gain a basic understanding of 3 of the following schools of philosophy: absurdism, existentialism, nihilism, Confucianism, hedonism, Stoicism, structuralism, rationalism, Platonism, and Taoism. How does each compare to your personal views?
  31. Go on a road trip for at least 6 hours. Take notes, make sketches, and collect artifacts along the way.
  32. Draw a self-portrait every day for 30 consecutive days. At the end of that time, describe how your portraits evolved.
  33. Find 5 constellations in the sky and draw them.
  34. Host a dinner party for at least 5 guests. Prepare at least 4 courses. Would you do it again? Why or why not?
  35. Create an outfit that is conspicuously different from your normal attire and wear it in public for a day. Do you feel you were perceived differently?
  36. Learn to play one complete song on a musical instrument. Or, if you already play an instrument, learn a song on a new instrument. Were you inspired to learn more? Why or why not?
  37. Find someone who has cultural tastes very different from yours. Ask about his or her favorite song and movie. Listen to and watch the selections. Did your perception of that culture shift at all?
  38. Read 1 book of classic poetry and 1 book of contemporary poetry. Make a list of the words that are most common between them.
  39. Walk or drive a different path to work/school every day for a week. At the end of the week, consider and list the new things you saw.
  40. Attend 3 distinctly different kinds of museums. Describe the most memorable exhibit from each place.
  41. List 3 of your most strongly held convictions. Choose 1 and, using a minimum of 500 words, try to persuade yourself to change your mind.
  42. Make 2 works of art using a different medium for each. For example: pencil, pen and ink, pastels, papier-mâché, watercolor, gouache, clay, acrylic, or collage. How did your process of creation differ between the 2 artworks?
  43. Complete an advanced example of 1 of the following logic puzzles: crossword, monogram, fillomino, sudoku, and kakuro. What was your strategy for the puzzle?
  44. Learn your Myers-Briggs personality type. Are you surprised by what you learned?
  45. Research your family lineage going back 3 generations. How has your ancestry influenced who you are?

Do you have any other suggestions to add to the list?


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