Our modern lives have become a little boring haven’t they? The most excitement most of us have during the week happens on our commute to work and on our Facebook feed. Like a homebound senior citizen, we end up living our lives vicariously through media and through our conversations with others.
Here’s the thing, I believe that we are hard-wired for adventure.
Humans have always longed for adventure, it’s in our nature. Without adventure, our world becomes incredibly small and our lives are reduced to mere existence.
Life is either a great adventure or nothing. —Helen Keller
But, how exactly does one begin to add more adventure into life?
1. Sign up to do something you’ve never done before
This doesn’t have to be something extreme like an ultra marathon (although I would personally recommend it), or some exotic trip that costs a fortune. It could be something as simple as eating a new type of food or going camping. If you don’t like it, at least you have a good story to share about how bad it was. That’s the thing. Living a life of adventure isn’t about being comfortable all the time. In fact, the most memorable adventures are usually the ones that take far outside our comfort zones.
2. Don’t be afraid of discomfort
In fact, adventure and discomfort are often inseparable. So are Joy and Pain, Sunshine and Rain (‘cause this is how the Rob Base feels.)
Think about the best adventure story you’ve heard from someone. Did they only recount the wonderful things they experienced? Didn’t they also tell you about the challenges, obstacles and discomforts?
That’s the point! Adventure opens us up to a whole new realm of possibilities, both good and bad. It forces us to face our discomforts, our dislikes, our fears and our limitations. A REALLY good adventure stretches us beyond what we previously thought possible.
Stretching yourself hurts, but it’s the only way to grow.
I could tell you dozens of stories about how miserable or uncomfortable I felt when I tried something or went somewhere new. And while sharks will never have a week dedicated to me, I would also tell you that I’m a much more interesting and well-rounded person because of those situations.
Want to be more interesting? Have more adventures! In fact, risk having more adventures that could potentially turn out horribly bad.
3. Bring someone else along for the ride
While it may be easier and more efficient to go on your own little adventures, the adventure becomes bigger when others join you. Different people experience things differently. That means that their recalling of the story will ad nuances and layers that you alone can’t. Whatever happens, it will be multiplied (literally) when others are part of it.
“Remember the time we almost ran out of gas in the middle of a lonely desert in Mexico?”
For example, I could tell you about a wonderful trail run I took that ended at the most beautiful high mountain lake scene I’ve ever seen. I could even show you a picture of it, except I forgot to take my camera along. This was a great adventure for me, but I’m the only one who can truly know and express what it was like.
Adventure is a lot more fun when exciting when someone else is living it…
The trails I hiked with my family, however, were even more memorable. That’s because I experienced the whole situation differently than they did. I was totally in my comfort zone and enjoying the sites, while my daughters were probably thinking more about the miserable temperatures and endless walking. I also had the added burden of caring for their well-being (and survival) as we walked along cliffs and risked potential dehydration. It was an adventure for all of us, one that we still refer to.
Note: Adventure makes you more valuable to others
I love this story about Jephthah from the Bible in Judges 11. He didn’t come from a “normal” family. His mother was a prostitute, he was cut off from his family inheritance, and he fled to a new land. He was forced into a life of adventure. Then, “a group of adventurers gathered around him and followed him.”
But here's the kicker. When the Israelites needed help, they went to Jephthah and asked HIM to be their commander.
Judg. 11:4 Some time later, when the Ammonites made war on Israel, 5 the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6 “Come,” they said, “be our commander, so we can fight the Ammonites.”
Some people will never allow themselves to be stretched, and in so, they will never have great adventures. Because of this, they also won’t have honed the skills necessary to do great things or to face bigger challenges. That’s where someone is needed who has those skills that have been honed by experience, hardship and adventure.
As a person of adventure, you now bring stories and experience, and frankly, make things more interesting. People will begin to live vicariously through you, and will come to depend on you for advice when attempting to do new things.
I believe that our lives should be in service to others. I also believe that having more adventure in your life actually gives you the ability to better serve others. It opens up new opportunities, grows your base of skills and gives you more courage to face challenges.
Why not plan (or just improvise) your next adventure today?
It could possibly be both the best and the most uncomfortable thing you could possibly do today.