“The one thing the world will never have enough of is the outrageous.”

Salvador Dali


There is a lot of outrageous behavior going on these days and it is leaving people a little dumbstruck. I see it all the time at the ground level in my practice and I often see it in national news.

I’m constantly surprised at the ripple effect of an individual’s actions.

I’m surprised…and I’m so, so hopeful.

I came across this story about a debt collector who actually doubles the amount of money collected with his crazy tactics. Want to know what they are? Everything he does and everything his employees do are in service to the people in debt. I’ll repeat it, in case you missed it: He collects more money than his competition because he serves the people from whom he’s collecting. His founding principal is that people want to pay off their debts, that they already feel badly that they cannot do it and that making them feel worse does not help them pay their bills. Um…what?! It flies in the face of all conventional “wisdom” and it’s working. This man made an outrageous assumption that if he could be of service to others things would work out – and it has worked out!!

Reading it reminded me of a story I heard a while ago about a principal who came into a school that was considered one of the most dangerous and down trod in his area. He was the 6th principal in 5 years. His first move was to take all of the money that was being spent on security and security systems and reinvest it in art programs. Of course he got a LOT of criticism for it. How was he going to keep kids safe without the security systems? You can’t fight guns with paintbrushes. But an amazing thing happened over the months. More and more kids started coming to school, they started paying attention, they started smiling and cooperating. Instances of violence decreased, teachers stayed on past the their first semester, kids that were headed for prison are now headed to college. All because one man was able to hold the outrageous in his heart.

I once posted on FB a link to a blog post about a mom who mistakenly parked in front of another woman’s mailbox during her daughter’s swim meet at a neighborhood pool. When the woman came out raging at her about her thoughtlessness and selfishness she took a deep breath to consider the source of the anger and replied, “I’m so sorry. I bet this happens to you all the time.” This shift in perspective from, “the cones that are usually out prohibiting me from parking here weren’t there so I thought it was ok. What the heck is your problem,” to “this woman deals with all of the noise, traffic and mess all the time that must be awful” was all it took to create peace, a future solution to the problem and a new friend.  The outcome was a a beautiful relationship between the two.

It used to be that to do something outrageous meant that someone’s behavior elicited outrage. Of late it’s become to mean something that is simply shocking because it goes so far against the grain that it is hardly to be believed that it happened. Yet…every single day our hearts yearn for exactly that…our brains have come to believe that the world is dangerous, scary and something to protect ourselves against…our hearts, though…our hearts send (and receive) an entirely different message. Our hearts know the Truth; our hearts understand that it is time to do the shocking thing and that is to trust. Trust in ourselves certainly but, even more so, trust in our inner wisdom, trust in our purpose, trust in humanity. If we but take a step toward the goodness that our deepest, most authentic selves long for that we will be met by other souls who’re doing the same.

Following our hearts’ truth will inevitably lead us to the fruition of our grandest desires and prove that humanity means more than just being human.

Here are some more outrageous acts:
Woman buys groceries for man who stole her wallet and he only allows for exactly what he needs for his kids $27 worth.
Arresting officer buys groceries for thieve and lands her a job.
High school football team bolster a disadvantaged teammate’s sense of self.
High school runner helps the competition because it’s the right thing to do.