‘Adventure is not outside man; it is within’ – George Eliot
We are all familiar with the concept of excellence being a habit, that which we repeatedly do. The same can apply for an adventurous mindset. Inspired by the daily routines of entrepreneurs, athletes and military leaders, the following suggestions form the basis of a mindset that leads to adventure.
You’ve heard the phrase ‘you only live once’, hard to disagree with such a sentiment. Unless you’re a believer in reincarnation, or a cat. There are so many doors to open in our lives, many of which will shut in our face and others might not open at all. But without taking those risks, and chasing those dreams, we might never live our lives to the full. So talk to strangers (not the scary kind), network with interesting people and be cheeky. Don’t just take opportunities as and when they arise, forge them with your own blood, sweat and tears, and work on them every day.
Michael Jordan supposedly said: ‘I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed’. Indeed, the greatest teacher is failure, if we allow it to be. It’s an ugly word for sure, but if we have failed at something then we have attempted something. It is simply not possible to be successful, and have adventures, if you do not attempt things in life. Our comfort zone is nice and safe, but staying within it blocks our potential. Failure allows us to grow and often enables later success. A question you might ask yourself is: what can I attempt today?
Develop your Skills
Adventure is a skilful undertaking, with some expeditions taking months or even years to plan. They might require a certain level of medical, navigational or survival skills. It could be that a competent logistical awareness is necessary, supported by holistic skills such as prioritisation or time management. To constantly strive to make ourselves better is to make the best of our lives; whether that is learning a skill, taking a class or changing our mindset. Of course, practice makes perfect, but the learning itself can be hugely fulfilling. Adventure requires skill; so ask yourself, what can I improve today?
It is no secret that exercise is good for our mental well-being. There is no adventure that cannot be made easier through training our body. Military readers will have heard of the phrase: ‘train hard, fight easy’, the same might be said for adventure. Exercise releases endorphins that make us feel good, but more importantly, it gives us a foundation of confidence from which we can develop. If we are to break from our comfort zone and explore the unknown, we need our mind and body in sync. Exercise can be any number of things, from a complex ‘WOD’ to a walk with the dogs. It is simply keeping active, enjoying life in the moment and also preparing for adventure.
Bill Gates reads on average 50 books a year. Reading is a habit of many successful people, as not only does it give them information with which they can develop their skills or improve their knowledge, but through the analysis of others’ perspectives they are able to challenge their own. Adventure is built on understanding the world around us. If you know you are climbing the highest mountain in the world, and you know that so many others have failed in their attempt to climb it, you try that little bit harder to reach the summit. Knowledge can be gained through many sources, not just books; word of mouth, blog posts and videos offer perspectives as well. Understanding our adventures gives us an appreciation of their meaning, it can also inspire us for future adventures.
As Natural as Breathing
Adventure is not just a thing you go and do, fundamentally it is a mindset. Adventurers are hard-working, intrepid and curious. The positive traits of an adventurous mindset extent beyond the time spent in the wilderness, they support our success in all aspects of life. To form a daily habit and develop this mindset should become a part of you, as natural as breathing.
Author bio: Tom is a former military police officer, honorary special agent in the U.S Diplomatic Security Service, writer and educator. He enjoys putting pen to paper about dogs, military yarns and adventure. Tom is married, has two dogs and two ungrateful cats.