The Latin root of the word adventure is ‘a thing about to come, or happen’. To adventure is to widen our horizons, to be open to events, experiences, places and people. To feel resolute in our own capacity to experience, to have flexibility and contend with challenge. It is what life offers us, whenever we chose it. When we allow and participate in the unusual. To venture, is to take a chance.
An adventurous spirit summons up the image of a person who is curious; wants to explore, try new things and go to different places and enjoys and seeks out new experiences. Who is comfortable with risk; fear; the unknown and uncertainty. To be an adventurer takes spirit. It takes boldness. A joy in seeking what life has to offer. Someone with vitality, energy, intensity and intent from within, who seeks stimulation and faces out into the world.
Someone who isn’t adventurous will be found in their comfort zone, enjoying security, ‘peace and quiet’ and ‘peace of mind’. To remain there they will have had to close down many opportunities and say to themselves and others; ‘I’m not that kind of person, that’s not who I am’. They are likely not very stimulated or challenged and definitely not living life outside what is already known.
With the unknown comes possibility and potential. We need to believe there is the possibility for things to be different and to be surprised; by our day, our life, our self. To be playful and excited. To have the capacity to wing it, to make it up as we go along, to go with the flow; to see where things take us. To allow things to unfold rather than controlling, defining, planning and prescribing the endpoint and so foreshortening potential. To embrace possibility is to appreciate uncertainty, to create open spaces, open endedness and the conditions and opportunity for the unexpected to happen.
Matt Walker (Psychology Today, 2011) describes adventure as being made up of five elements:
High Endeavour: the ability to think big and think bigger about who we are, how we live, and what we can do in the world.
Total Commitment: willingness to embrace challenge and move toward success. To acknowledge that total commitment does not mean blind faith or brazen disregard, but is confidence and belief in the face of challenge.
An Uncertain Outcome: the acknowledgement that there will be adversity and unease, but that an uncertain outcome is a gift of possibility.
Tolerance for Adversity: our ability to be resilient in the face of challenge. Our willingness to laugh, use humor, and be graceful during difficult situations.
Great companionship: while our lives can sometimes feel solitary, it takes others to support living in commitment, joy, generosity, and gratitude.
A journey man, an explorer; is an inquisitor who seeks, searches and travels to find their own path. To be adventurous in life we need to have curiosity, to be open and to allow. We can be more flexible and not need to know or control what will happen. And for that we need to trust. Primarily our self. Know that we will can find our own way, be our own way and make our own way and enjoy the experiences that we may be actively avoiding because we think we are not like that, or like them. We can be or do anything we want to do. We can change our story and create our own map. Most importantly we need to acknowledge that we have un-mined potential and unlimited possibility.
We can find adventure each day in different aspect of our lives. It is an attitude, a willingness to engage and learn. The strap line to my practice Project Self is “get a guide and be your own .. adventure”. I believe it is one of the most fundamental ways we can embrace change. And we need the support of others sometimes to help us find our own way.
So be bold and don’t close openings down. Adventure is not a mountain. Venture forward. Look up and out. Take a chance.