Vanilla Ice Cream, Purple Cows, and Remarkability
I don’t like vanilla ice cream. Since we’re on the subject, I also don’t like Vanilla Ice, but I’ve made my peace with him. Back to vanilla ice cream.
It’s extremely rare for me to eat vanilla ice cream by itself. Do you know what vanilla ice cream is good for? A la mode. That’s it. Vanilla ice cream rides the coat tails of other foods to the winner’s circle. Oreo cookies are vanilla ice cream’s meal ticket to greatness. With Oreos, helloooo Cookies & Cream. No Oreos? Vanilla.
And yet, according to the International Ice Cream Association (yes, that’s a real association and yes, I might apply), vanilla remains the most popular ice cream flavor.
Why do we as a society, as children of God with innate creative impulses imitating of our Heavenly Father, why do we value blandness in things like vanilla ice cream?
Because mediocrity is safe. People are more accepting of average because it doesn’t make anyone look bad and keeps a cushy status quo.
When I first started leading worship, many of the song arrangements were vanilla. That was the exact description used by a good friend in the band: vanilla. He’s also one of the best guitarists I’ve ever played with, so to hear his honest assessment was both humbling and inspiring. I thought, “I don’t even like vanilla as a flavor. Why would I want vanilla-flavored music?”
I love the idea of remarkability. In Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, he describes being remarkable as something worth talking about. No one talks about a brown cow unless it does something entirely unexpected, but anyone would stop in their tracks if they ever saw a purple cow.
We have a God-gifted responsibility to ignite remarkability. We need to create remarkable art, remarkable music, remarkable businesses and innovations and dreams and enterprises and opportunities and conversations worth talking about.
Vanilla-flavored status quo is what keeps you in bed till 9 a.m. Vanilla keeps you on the sideline of life saying “Maybe next time.” Vanilla is splashing in the kiddie pool of opportunity when the chance to hit the ocean is staring right in front of you. Vanilla-flavored living tries to ride the coat tails of others instead of taking brave steps yourself.
You have the chance to create something worth talking about today. Create remarkability in your home, your office, your conversations, even your prayers today as you ask God to give you a remarkable opportunity to get rid of a vanilla-soaked faith and perspective. Quit playing it safe. Be brave. Try something new. Get rid of vanilla.
And be remarkable today.