31 Jul The Adventurous Life – Living a Life Well-Lived (Part One)
Why live an adventurous life? What is an adventurous life? What does it mean to me?
To me, an adventurous life is a life well lived! It’s about being all you can be, grabbing life by the horns and experiencing as much as you possibly can. It’s about having diverse breadth of experiences that create a rich tapestry of memories and a broader outlook to life. In sustainability and environmental terms, we talk of leaving a smaller footprint on the earth, but for living life it’s my belief that everyone has the right, or at least the duty to leave the biggest footprint possible. It’s that footprint that will help us live a happier, more fulfilled and healthier life.
Adventure for many immediately conjures up images of rugged explorers, facial hair encrusted with ice, cold breath in the air coming in sharp blasts as they stand astride a snow-capped peak, nation’s flag in hand. Perhaps you picture a bronzed and weather-beaten sailor, alone at the tiller of a yacht facing into steep green banks of waves, wind and sea buffeting our intrepid explorer as the vessel sways in a vast and lonely ocean with no land in sight.
The dictionary defines adventure as 1) an unusual and exciting or daring experience, and 2) engaging in daring or risky activity.
To me, it’s about engaging in an activity that has an uncertain outcome. This is because in life, the times where we experience our greatest growth as individuals are the times where we performed tasks with uncertain outcomes. We might do so with feelings of fear and doubt, and the outcome might be the one we wanted or not. Adventure is the point where fear, uncertainty and doubt meet that, and through these experiences we teach ourselves to innervate and create the energy we need to move forward.
Tony Robbins, possibly the world’s greatest and most sought-after performance coach, once said, “The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably deal with.” This is a trainable quality, and this is where my philosophy of living an adventurous life kicks in. If we can increase the amount of uncertainty we can deal with and do so on a regular basis in a recreational setting, we get better at dealing with the uncertainties of life by default.
Adventure adds to the rich tapestry of life. I mean, do you want to travel and experience the vibrant geographic and cultural patchwork quilt that is our planet, or the dull grey blanket that is the mundane of staying within your self-made safety zone. I’m talking about sterilised kitchen surfaces, weekend trips to IKEA with the kids, and a resort holiday once a year. Are those the stories with which to surprise and delight your grandchildren as you advance in years?
To have stood in the elements, to have travelled to remote areas and third world countries, to spend time in a wilderness location… you can’t ever take those experiences back. When you have or have had those experiences solo or with others, the process and the experience teaches you self-reliance and self-assurance.
Life, the ultimate lesson in experiential learning
Do you want to read about life in a book or get out there and see, hear and feel for yourself? You can’t take anything with you to the grave but memories. I believe that it’s memories and shared experiences that make life worth living, as they teach us new ways of living that will show those who come after us how to live, how to share, how to get along and how to care.
Living a life well lived and living with an adventurous mindset is about challenging yourself and your beliefs about yourself. You can start by exploring your own physical and mental abilities – what you can and can’t do, but let’s make sure we turn the “cant’s” into “can’s”!
Can you lift your own bodyweight? Run around the block? No? Then start trying!
Can you orientate a map? No? Then learn how to.
You do not have to be climbing a new route or sailing in unchartered waters to be exploring and challenging yourself… To begin, you just need to be exploring new skills and something, or somewhere – a place new for you.
Joe Bonington © 2017
This is the first of two instalments of The Adventurous Life. Read the second instalment here.