10 Places to Find Unexpected Pleasure

“Simplicity is about the unexpected pleasure derived from what is likely to be insignificant and would otherwise go unnoticed.” – John Maeda

The core of simple living is removing anything that stands between you and enjoyment. Ideally, all the clutter should be eliminated to leave you only with what matters most.

We often tend to complicate that purpose, because we aren’t properly trained to notice the simple pleasures of life. We got used to embrace and appreciate complexity.

That’s why in this post, I would like to share with you 10 simple places where you can find unexpected pleasure.

unexpected pleasure


1. Your Passion

When you do something you’re extremely passionate about, you enter a state called “flow”.

In 1960s, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and his colleagues were intrigued by people, such as artists, who seem to “lose themselves” in their art work. Mihaly wrote a great book about that state called, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.

When you do something that you truly enjoy, you go with the “flow”. And you experience one of the most pleasurable moments in your life.

“The way I explain flow is when you feel fully immersed in an activity, with an energetic type of focus to the point where your awareness of time has suspended.” – Maryann Troiani, Ph.D., Psychologist

Find your passion today and practice it often.

2. Reading

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”  – Ernest Hemingway

Sitting in a comfortable chair reading a GREAT book is one of life’s greatest and simplest pleasures! A good book can take you to places you could never imagine visiting. And you truly live and feel the whole experience.

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” – Joyce Carol Oates

3. Gardening

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero 

There is something magical about getting in touch with seeds, plants and flowers. It gives unexpected pleasure to the eye and the soul. Moreover, it sharpens your character, teaches you patience and gives you extreme joy in seeing them grow.

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” – Luther Burbank 

4. Sitting on The Beach

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.” – e.e. cummings

I never felt the pleasure of sitting on the beach until recently. I go to the beach frequently, but never embraced its beauty until a few months ago. It was the first time to lose myself to the beauty of the amazing combination of ‘sea and sand’. That day, I fully recharged my spirit.

“When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

5. Cooking

“Happiness: a good bank account, a good cook, and a good digestion.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau 

I couldn’t understand why so many people around me rave about the pleasure of cooking, until my wife travelled for a month and I had to cook my own meals.

There is something magical in touching and tasting food. There is a strange pleasurable feeling in trying a new recipe and gathering different materials and ingredients.

6. Walking in Nature

“Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.”  – Henry David Thoreau

I find the best ideas while walking. If you add nature to the equation, it turns into a super pleasurable experience. And surprisingly, if I have a good walk in the morning, I know that I’m going to have a really good day.

“After a day’s walk everything has twice its usual value.”  – George Macauley Trevelyan

7. Warm Shower

There is nothing relaxing and tension releasing like having a warm bathtub shower with special aroma oils. Don’t rush your daily shower. Indulge yourself into such a pleasurable experience at least once a week.

“I saw a bottle of conditioner the other day that said, “Family Size,” and I thought, That’s odd, I didn’t know too many families showered together.” – Jarod Kintz

Have fun :)

8. Morning Coffee

“Coffee is the best thing to douse the sunrise with.” – Terri Guillemets

I always look for having an early morning cup of coffee that’s made of super special coffee beans with a thrilling aroma. When you add to that a comfortable chair and a great spring-like weather in the balcony, you can be sure of a great start of your day.

9. Traveling 

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine 

So far, I’ve never traveled to a new place and felt bad about the experience when I returned back home. In fact, every time I travel I gain a new unexpected pleasure and confidence boost.

When I want to get a full charge of my batteries, or find an answer to an important question, traveling is my favorite choice.

“People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home.” – Dagobert D. Runes

10. Movies

“Everything I learned I learned from the movies.” – Audrey Hepburn

It doesn’t matter how much I’m drained in negative emotions, watching The Pursuit of Happiness is the ultimate cure. A few weeks ago, I had a very bad day. What did I do? I went to the cinema to watch a good movie. When I returned back home at night, I was almost relieved.

“I wanted to make people feel the same way I feel when I see a good movie.” – Seann William Scott 


What about you? Where do you find unexpected pleasure?


* Photo Credit by Karen Roe

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7 Responses to 10 Places to Find Unexpected Pleasure

  1. Christy King October 14, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

    A part of no. 5, cooking, but somehow more magical to me – baking bread from sourdough starter. I like cooking in general, but am childishly happy to watch the bread rise with no commercial yeast.

    Also, sunshine. I live in Western Oregon where we can go weeks with only a few glimpses of the sun. We really learn to appreciate it here. Recently, after several stormy days, I happened to be outside during a 30-second or so sunny period, and just stood there feeling content with the sun on my face.

    • Mohamed Tohami October 18, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

      It feels great when we don’t take things for granted. We are deprived from enjoying the warmth of the sun everyday, just because we take it for granted.

  2. AnnMarie Mecera October 15, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    Absolutely the best list I’ve ever seen. You hit the nail on the head with this one. Thank you for posting.

  3. Nicky Perryman October 16, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    Apart from those above, I always stop to smell roses and honeysuckle and lavender especially if they are along the street hanging out of other people’s gardens or on waste ground. Stopping to smell a rose and breathe in its scent transports one just for a moment to a heavenly place.

    Looking at other people’s gardens always gives me a lot of pleasure, as I love seeing the interesting ways they use plants and grow different things and it gives me ideas for things to try in my own garden.

    Birdsong can also be an unexpected pleasure, I once stood transfixed at a train station in London at dusk listening to the sound of a thrush calling out into the growing darkness. It was so beautiful it sounded otherworldly.

    Simple pleasures are all around us if we look – I think the key is to be observant, stay curious and be thankful. :-)

    • Mohamed Tohami October 18, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

      Awesome insight Nicky! “Simple pleasures are all around us if we LOOK”

  4. Pat Martin December 22, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    LOVE your list! I enjoy watching my bird feeder from my reading spot with a cup of tea.

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