Looking for an adrenalin rush? Matt Walker, author of Adventure in Everything: How the Five Elements of Adventure Create a Life of Authenticity, explains how adventure can enrich your life.
Q: When you talk about embracing adventure, what does that mean?
A: Embracing life as an adventure is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. When we embrace life as an adventure, we tap into a deep source of energy, love, creativity, and generosity. I like to view life as an expedition. And while on an expedition all sorts of crazy things can happen, but how we respond to those challenges and successes, how we engage with our partners and teammates, and how we take care of our personal and physical health all impact the shape of the journey.
Q: How can cultivating more adventure make life happier?
A: Cultivating more adventure in our lives leads to a couple of changes that are immediate and highly rewarding. The most significant shift is in how we approach our everyday lives and put energy into the most significant aspects of our lives (relationships, profession, volunteering, community, etc). Cultivating a sense of adventure allows us to engage in our daily life with a sense of resiliency, curiosity, willingness to take risk, and connect with others in a deep and meaningful way. This new way of experiencing the world, even our most routine of tasks, now has a deeper meaning and we can see how it serves the larger goals. The end result? Happiness and satisfaction — all from living in the moment and being truly present to our experiences, those around us, and living with a deep sense of purpose.
Q: What kind of adventure makes you happiest?
A: Adventure is highly personal — for me, it is a combination of a couple of key things: something big (i.e., something that is currently out of reach), something demanding creativity and problem solving, something physical, and most importantly, something demanding a whole range of different skills and expertise from a team of people. Combining all of this together is the greatest type of adventure to me. This past year I was part of a group that put together a rock climbing camp for disabled athletes — the camp was an amazing success and combined all of the above elements.
Q: What are your top tips for living a more adventurous life?
A: There are three top tips I recommend for living a more adventurous life: curiosity, grace, and risk.
Curiosity, have the willingness to ask questions, engage, and try new things and new ways of thinking. The results can be profound and immediate.
Grace, the ability to recognize that sometimes life goes well and smoothly and other times is difficult and challenging. Grace is the ability to recognize this, bring humor into the equation, and be resilient.
Risk, acknowledging that our perception of risk is often very different than the reality. Adventure lives at this crossroads where we are willing to take risk after honestly and sincerely weighing the options of actual risk versus perceived risk.