It was the year 2017, and it was going to be the year that I was going to turn 30 years old. As you might have guessed, I wasn’t very happy about getting older.
There was so much I wanted to do not to mention the constant feeling that I did not make the most out of my 20s.
I had been through a roller coaster of trials up until then dealing with failed relationships, job losses, and loss of loved ones within my immediate family.
As the new year started I began to write down the things I wanted to experience and I realised there was a pattern of the kind of things that were bouncing around in my head.
I craved adventure and I craved some kind of control back in my life.
So I made the resolution for the year 2017 that I would do everything I can to make each and every day as adventurous as possible. This started with asking the following questions each day:
What could I do to make today? What kind of adventure could I go on? What do I think is impossible but could make it possible? How could I create memories today?
And thus began one of the most epic years of my life. What did I do that I had not done before? I consciously decided to go on more adventures and go outside of my comfort zone just to see what would happen. This meant I had to often face my fears and also take more risks.
I volunteered to take a chance on everything from competitions and raffles as well as said yes to nearly every single proposal to do absolutely anything.
Here is what I have learned from not just that year but from speaking to dozens of people on what makes their life adventurous every single day.
#1 Expand Your Mind, Elevate Your Life
Elon Musk talks a lot about a physics theory called First Principles Thinking where he says that you should boil things down to their fundamental truths and reason up from there, as opposed to reasoning by analogy.
We often live our lives with assumptions and analogies that have been either taught to us or we have picked up along the way.
For example, a friend of mine always referred to his wife as the old ball and chain and I always challenged him on that way of thinking about someone he says he loves. An analogy usually is a thing that shows how two things are alike with the goal of making it a point.
First Principles Thinking is the practice of actively questioning every assumption you think you might know about a problem or scenario. In this case, we can begin by actively looking for ways for challenging what we know already.
I used to believe that if I needed to get away I needed to take a few days off from work, plan around my responsibilities and give a friend a key to my house. But it was just by mere chance that I got the opportunity to ask the question, why can’t I go for a day trip and still go sightseeing and to nice food places?
Long story short, I jumped on a plane in the morning to another European country, spent the day sightseeing, had some awesome food (more on this in a future article), and then flew back in the evening just in time for bed.
Now it is obvious that in some places you can’t just go for the day, but if your main goal is to do something spontaneous, fun and adventurous this is a whole new opportunity for you.
I now frequently plan to travel to places just for the day or even a couple of days. This is the perfect approach when you don’t have the time to plan out a 2-week long holiday but still want to visit beautiful cities and tick off places to visit on your list (the ones that are close by of course).
What we’re doing here is we are trying to think outside of the box and do something that most people would find weird.
Usually, the first step in doing this is to challenge our assumptions about things, and to do that, we often have to start from the bottom and work our way up.
#2 Shred Comfort and Face the Unknown
Most people don’t try anything new because of the fear of the unknown. Sometimes it could be something as small as going to a new and different place to eat on a Saturday night to something much bigger in terms of going for a job that you’re hesitating to apply for.
We often don’t take action because we really enjoy our own security blanket and the comfort of knowing that tomorrow most likely will be the same as today. Comfort and security is a drug that, if taken consistently, becomes addictive and can ruin your life.
Comfort and the fear of the unknown usually go hand in hand when it comes to stopping someone from living their best life. Every person in history who took a step towards adventure (or greatness) in any kind of way had to accept the fear and act despite it.
It is when you face your biggest fears you get to know your true potential and start to live life on your own terms. It is when you face your demons, you get to truly see what you are made of.
However, like with every other kind of muscle, this kind of muscle also needs practice to make it stronger. To make this easier you should:
#1 Firstly, make a firm resolution in yourself that you will do one thing outside of your comfort zone each week. Write this down and schedule it if you can
#2 Grab a friend to join along with you. Adventure loves company so when you decide to join that class or take that dreaded trip, bring along a friend even if it’s just for moral support
#3 Experiment with the unknown. I have mentioned this before, but it greatly helps reduce your fear of the unknown when you start to look at it as a scientific experiment. Just by taking that first step into the unknown thinking, this would make a good story even if it does not work out, will give you more courage to move forward
#4 Document your experiences. I don’t know why, but when I know I’m going to be writing or reflecting about an experience the dread of it not working out reduces by 50%. Whether this is going away to somewhere unknown, having the courage to meet new people, or taking a step into a new career direction. It doesn’t need to be public, writing it down in your personal journal is enough to substantially reduce any fear as well as get the motivation to step out of your comfort zone
#3 Breath in Every Moment
I have had a problem all of my life. This problem was very simple. I found it extremely difficult to live in the moment no matter where I was or what was going on around me.
As a planner by nature, I used to plan a lot of socials and meet-ups with friends every weekend in my mid-20s. Sometimes these used to be big, other times they used to be small.
My problem was that I would be in a social event or get-together that I had planned and I was already thinking about the next one. I had started to plan the next meet-up in my head whilst at the current meet-up; you see how detrimental this sounds.
This meant that I was never truly there at that moment to experience and enjoy what was going on around me. It is only in hindsight many years later I realised how valuable time is and what I should have focused on. Such as, those moments in a place with a special someone or those meaningful conversations with a loved one who is no longer here.
How do you make the most out of each moment? Try the following:
#1 Breath. Long and deep. Deep breaths do a wonderful job of bringing you back to the current moment.
#2 Start to observe what is going on around you. What can you see? What can you feel? Is there a specific scent in the air? Take in everything through your senses
#3 Make it epic. You don’t know whether you will be alive tomorrow so imagine this was your last day on earth and try to absorb everything as much as you can. What can you do to make this moment last? What can you do to make yourself laugh? What could you be grateful for at this moment?
#4 Journey Without Goal
This one was particularly difficult for me at first since I have the type of personality that needs to plan everything. Instead of focusing on the goal, focus on the journey. Better yet, there is no goal there is just the journey.
At least one day a week I used to do the following:
#1 Stepped outside of my house with no intention to go anywhere and let my heart guide me
#2 If I felt like doing something or going somewhere whilst I was out and about, I would go and see where it took me. Disclaimer – Make sure you are telling your loved ones where you are if you need to, for safety reasons
#3 Kept my mind open to new possibilities for opportunities to come my way
Just by doing this, I stumbled upon a beautiful park in my city I had not known about; it has now become one of my favourite spots for evening walks.
One Sunday, I found myself 30 miles away in a different city and got the idea of calling a friend who lived where I had ended up. We went for dinner to catch up after so many months and it became one of those spontaneous memorable evenings.
On another occasion, I ended up talking to a stranger and we got into a really good discussion about several topics. I know in my heart that I had made that person’s evening, just by showing some interest and taking the time to listen to his story.
The possibilities are endless.
Adventure is a State of Mind
The world is yours and all you need to do is create your own map. Maps are created by asking the right questions and these should be the questions you should ask yourself daily:
#1 What could I do to make today epic?
#2 What kind of adventure could I go on?
#3 What do I think is impossible but could be possible?
#4 How could I create new memories today?
Once you’ve got these, then:
- Challenge your assumptions and analogies
- Shred comfort and face your fears
- Learn to live in the moment
- Focus on your journey rather than the goal now and then
Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!