The very source of our discontent: we want to know the results of the outcome before we commit.
Yet, that is not how life works. Life is more like an adventure. When we set out on an adventure, we are unsure of the results but we look forward to the experience.
We don’t know what will happen in the end but we embrace the opportunity to do something fun/inspiring/noteworthy/epic.
Consider the following excerpt from Josh Kaufman’s How to Fight a Hydra:
We live in an uncertain, complex, ambiguous and changing world with shifting demands, unexpected (often unwelcome) developments, and variable rewards. There is no cyrstal ball to show you the most direct path to victor, and no method of divination to guarantee you’ll avoid making costly mistakes.”
People strive to make their world comprehensible, predictable, and rewarding…
We want to cruise into the unknown and the unknowable with a reassurance that we will succeed.
Unlike an adventure, where we do not care about the results. Adventuring does not clearly define success, and the experience is valued above everything else.
What if we approached our life’s goals, our daily ongoings, and the one thing that humans contemplate more than anything else (our vocation) like an adventure?
What if we dove into the great unknown with nothing else but ambition and wildness for the journey?
We would be willing to take more risks. We would be willing to explore multiple options, unset with a precise outcome. We would be willing to fail, and we might not even recognize a failure: we will instead call it an experience or a funny “story.”
Adventures are full of excitement, yet life is often characterized as something we endure, a sort of “rat race.” Transform life into something we experience as opposed to something we do.
GETTING READY FOR THE ADVENTURE (LIFE)
Here are some tips for preparation. Like most things, we must start with an adventurer’s mind.
1. Adopt the right mindset. An explorer is optimistic and expects positive outcomes, or at least, expects great experiences and opportunities to adapt, change course, and move forward.
2. Expect uncertainty, complexity, variability, and ambiguity. Kaufman notes that these are unavoidable.
3. Most people will doubt what you are doing. These people are your closest friends and family and their opinions will matter to you. Ignore them. Do not let their doubts and fears dissuade you, they will never understand but they will be there to celebrate your victories when they do come.
4. You will feel afraid since it’s natural to fear the unknown. You will doubt your abilities since the requirements from beyond seem insurmountable. These are normal reactions, they do not indicate an inadequateness or does it spell doom. Face these fears head-on. Courage is common amongst the uncommon.
5. Life, like an adventure, is not linear. You should expect to spend some time wandering. You should expect to get lost and be lost. During an adventure, we cherish these moments. They often yield the most excitement and create the best stories. In life, we dread these moments. Our thoughts spiral downward and we see a long line of consecutive failures. We see failed expectations, lost loved ones, financial crisis, and we fear losing status in a society obsessed with status. ‘Memento Mori. Remember someday you will die.’ Use that thought to drive yourself to the happiness you seek now.
6. There will be a long and epic struggle. It will make you, not break you. The struggle is the source of our future power.
7. Every hero goes through this. See #6.
8. Embrace this mantra: Always Moving Forward (AMF).
9. “Sharpening your abilities and learning new skills are excellence uses of your time and energy.” Growth is a part of the Hero’s Journey.
10. Your body is a crucial resource. It amplifies your mental energy and creates a bedrock for emotional resilience. Building a world-class body takes character and discipline. Once you put in the time and effort, this pillar of physical well-being will always be yours to fall back on.
11. Keep trying new things, learning and improving every day. Keep reflecting on a problem until new approaches emerge. Creativity comes from this persistent exploration and deep reflection. Pay attention to your surroundings, know your environment. An expert is intimately familiar with their field of play.
12. Trust in yourself is where confidence comes from. Self-belief is a driving force but it is not hubris. Know the difference and always strive to be the smartest person in the room (requires the most work/preparation).
13. Just like the best experiences, the best rewards are not always where you expect to find them. Be open to possibilities.
14. New information equals new opportunities. Evaluate them, weight them against your experience and value them according to what you decide is most useful at the time.
15. You are the hero of your own journey. Get better every day. keep evolving, and embrace the process.
Life is the adventure.
In Pursuit of Excellence
Much of this post was inspired by: