Adventure. It’s often the stuff of legends, dramatic survival stories, or surreal tales woven in exotic lands. Because we are amazed at what some people accomplish, many people believe that adventure is only for the exceedingly brave. People who climb mountains, skydive or sail small boats around the world.
What if that’s not necessarily the case?
Definitions of “adventure” tell us that adventure entails exciting or daring experiences, with unknown territories or outcomes, that involve risk and are potentially dangerous.
This is life! Regular, everyday life—if we choose to live it that way.
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Life Is an Adventure
Life is Full of Unknown Territories and Outcomes
None of us know what will happen to us from day to day, let alone over the course of years. We may think we know what will happen in our lives each day, next week, or “someday,” but we really don’t know. Our futures are a great unknown.
Life is Full of Risk and Potential Danger
The concept of danger is subjective—what one person considers a perfectly normal activity could terrify another. But regardless of our individual concepts of “danger,” we all embark upon potentially dangerous activities every day. There are risks involved with just about everything we do, whether it’s physical, social, emotional or psychological. But we each accept certain risks as a condition of living our lives, acting upon our choices, pursuing our goals.
Life Can Be Full of Exciting Experiences or Activities
Here’s where a lot of people get hung up—excitement, “a feeling of great enthusiasm and eagerness.” Let’s face it, much of our daily lives just don’t scream excitement. There’s monotony and drudgery. Chores. And although it’s comforting, sameness is the antithesis of adventure.
So we need to find excitement. And to find more excitement (and everyday adventure) in our lives we need to make a break from sameness, challenge our comfort zones and be willing to try new things.
The Benefits of Living an Adventurous Life
Everyday Adventures Give Us Fresh Perspective
We get a renewed outlook on life when we partake in everyday adventures. By experiencing new things, looking at things in different ways and staying open to possibilities, our awareness is heightened. We notice more, appreciate more, feel more. We feel rejuvenated and refreshed. And because we are enjoying ourselves more, we feel less bogged down and bored by the daily grind.
When we develop an adventurous spirit we’re able to incorporate an open, curious, fun-seeking attitude into our daily lives. In return, our daily lives will be enriched by new perspective and re-energized by new experiences. We will find more joy in life.
Everyday Adventures Lead to Personal Growth
As we navigate everyday adventures, we develop new skills and strengths. As we try new things, explore possibilities and work out solutions to challenges along the way, we find out what we are really capable of achieving. We become more self-aware. Our insight grows along with our self-confidence. We get a sense of accomplishment and feel more fulfilled. We may even discover hidden talents.
Everyday Adventures Help Us Understand Our World
Adventures open our minds to new experiences and new ideas. As we develop an adventurous spirit, curiosity leads us to look at things differently, to consider ways of thinking that may be very different from our own. Although we may not always agree with the new ideas we learn about, our new insight helps us to understand and appreciate where others are coming from. This understanding helps to push criticism and judgement aside, allowing us to connect with and accept other people and cultures.
Everyday Adventures Keep Us Smart
Adventures can boost our problem solving skills. Our creativity and ingenuity develop when we work out solutions to challenges, adapt to new situations and explore new ideas.
Learning new things through everyday adventures expands our knowledge. Additionally, our brains work harder during new experiences and learning new skills. Neurons fire and neural pathways are built and strengthened. Our brains stay healthier, which is especially important as we get older. According to neuropsychologist Dr. Kathryn Papp, “Cognitive and social engagement have been shown to be protective against cognitive decline.”
Everyday Adventures Slow Time
Another really interesting way our brains react to adventures and new experiences is the effect of slowing time. Neuroscientist David Eagleman has extensively studied the brain’s perception of time. He explains, “Any time you have richer memories, things seem to have lasted longer. So, for example, people often report that time seems to speed up as they grow older. And the reason is when you’re a child, everything is new and you’re laying down very rich memories. When you’re older, you’ve seen it all before and your brain doesn’t need to spend as much energy laying down memories and so you have very sparce memories. That’s why at the end of the summertime if you’re a child it seemed like it lasted a long time, and for an adult it doesn’t.”
Everyday Adventures Make Us Stronger
Mentally, adventures teach us resilience and help us cope with adversity. Adventures teach us to manage those detours and bumps in the road of life more positively and productively because by expanding our boundaries with everyday adventures we learn to manage obstacles, devise solutions and embrace (or at least accept) the unknown.
Physically, many everyday adventures promote physical fitness and strength. Whether learning a new dance or exploring a new trail in the park, physical adventures get us active.
How to Develop an Adventurous Spirit
Choose to look at things differently
Everyday challenges can be opportunities—and become everyday adventures. How we respond to the detours, bumps and obstacles in our lives is a choice. We can view them as problems and hassles. Or we can view them as challenges and opportunities, as chances to explore new paths or new ways of doing things. We can be irritated by a difficult situation or intrigued by the challenge of developing solutions. We can even choose to embrace an event just for the experience itself.
Be Willing to Take Risks
Whether the risk is physical, social, psychological, or financial, we must be willing to accept some risk for adventure. But how much risk we are each willing to accept is a personal choice. Yes, risk can be scary. And our fears can hold us back. But as we choose to face our fears and venture outside our comfort zones, even if it’s just a baby step, we gain confidence, new skills and new perspectives. When we decide on a new experience, whether it’s a full-fledged leap of faith or tentatively testing the waters with our toes, as we push past our comfort zones, our confidence and adventurous spirit grow. Like best friends, they will lend comfort and support as we continue to push past our boundaries in our quest for new adventures.
Embrace Change and the Unexpected
Stuff happens. And we often don’t see it coming. It wrecks our plans and presents us with challenges. But if we accept and welcome change and unexpected events for what they are—a detour from sameness—we are better able to recognize and get excited about the opportunities they provide. Instead of becoming immediately stressed, we can refocus our way of thinking and respond in positive ways, open to the opportunities that change and the unexpected present us with.
Appreciate the Unknown
The unknown is the realm of possibility where anything can happen. The potential is awesome, so why are we so often afraid of what we don’t know? Maybe we still fear monsters lurking in the mist. The spirit of adventure calls us to pull out our flashlights and shine a light in the corners. Everyday adventures require us to get out of familiar places and ways of thinking, and take new paths, new risks. To discover and explore what we don’t know. After all, there’s truth in the saying, “If we never explore what we don’t know, then we’ll never learn more than we already know.”
Develop a sense of curiosity
Some people are naturally curious; others have to work on it. We can each channel our inner child and explore our surroundings through our six-year-old senses. An adventurous spirit is attuned to the sights, smells and sounds of life, unencumbered by self-defeating thoughts, fear of failure or looking foolish. We can reach out and touch things just to find out what they feel like. Adventure asks us to wonder what’s around the corner–and go find out! We can find everyday adventures by seeking answers to questions. By asking “why?” “why not?” “what if?” and “how?” It may take some practice, but the more we wonder about things, the greater our sense of curiosity grows. And life becomes more interesting and exciting when we’re curious.
Be Open to New Experiences
We can discover everyday adventures by seizing opportunities to go to new places, meet new people, take part in new activities, eat different foods. The key is to keep an open mind and accept new experiences with no expectations. When adventuring we must not worry about whether we will enjoy an activity, gain something from it or be successful at it. We need to just embrace the opportunity to do something different. We may like some things and dislike others. Either way is okay! The experiences are valuable because we are making discoveries and learning. When we are willing to accept the outcome, whatever it may be, the prospect of trying something new becomes much more manageable.
Adventure on YOUR Terms
Everyone has their own idea of what adventure is. For each of us, adventure is defined by our individual ideas and comfort zones. There’s no need to compare ourselves because each of us experiences adventure in our own unique way—what one person considers a grand adventure, another could consider bland. But that’s what makes adventure so appealing—it’s personalized! Whatever level we’re at, we can choose to be adventurous in everyday life. Whether exploring caves or exploring line dancing, if we’re expanding our personal horizons we are adventuring.
Everyone can have everyday adventures in their life because adventure surrounds us every day. We only have to choose to acknowledge it. Choose to claim it as our own. Choose to seize it!
These books can help you develop your everyday adventurous spirit.
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