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Laying the Foundation for a More Adventurous Life

Standing in the forest

This post is available as an mp3 to listen to and download here.

How do you start to create adventure in life?

That’s a really tough question, but one that’s obviously super important to me. One of the big reasons I started Tremendous Times was because I wanted to show others that adventure can be found anywhere — from halfway across the world to right in your own backyard. But starting that journey can be difficult.

I can suggest a few things that will inject your life with something new and exciting, but they would be temporary fixes. It’s like prescribing a medicine that takes care of the symptoms but doesn’t do much for the real, underlying problem. Sure, you could take up a new hobby today or try out a MeetUp group. But unless you’re looking at it from the right angle, you’ll just be throwing busy work into your schedule, and once it’s done you’ll be back exactly where you started.

If you want to open yourself up and allow room in your life for adventure, you’re going to have to make some bigger changes. It will require a little bit of reevaluation, some new habits, and an adjustment to your overall outlook. No matter the size of your dreams right now, know that they are possible — you just have to lay down the correct groundwork for them! These following 4 pieces of advice are the start of the foundation that will help you invite more bold adventure and explorations to come your way.

Woman by the sea

1. Eliminate who and what doesn’t excite you.

If your mind and your time are taken up by things or people that stress you out and don’t encourage growth for you, then the sooner you can move on, the better.

Many people have a hard time saying, “No.” I certainly do. I think the economy is partially to blame, since we’re sort of taught to appreciate any opportunity that comes our way. That’s somewhat true — but if you accept something that you’re only halfway excited about, then that occupies too much brain space to say yes to something that you might be 100% excited about. It’s a difficult balance, but you should feel passionately about the opportunities you take, the activities you do, and the people you share your time with.

Reevaluate the way you spend your time. It can be painful to admit that you’re no longer interested in certain things that you used to love doing, but continuing to do them with less and less enthusiasm will get you nowhere. I went to school for acting and used to love it, and while I do enjoy being onstage, a life in theater or film isn’t what I crave anymore. People change, and that’s okay. I was like 14 when I decided I wanted to be an actor. If I’d failed to take a second look at my goals and desires, then I wouldn’t be opening myself up for growth.

Additionally, take a look at your close friends and how your friendships with them enhance your life. Do they inspire and support you? Do you look forward to spending time with them? Do they have ambitions of their own?

I parted ways with a good friend in New York after we realized we were causing more frustration for each other than happiness. It was hard at first to not be friends anymore, but it was ultimately the best decision for us both. She was in my life for a certain period of time, and I couldn’t be more thankful to have met her and been close with her for that time.

I firmly believe that friends are an excellent indication of the type of person you are. If you discover that a once wonderful relationship is now toxic or that no one close to you has long-term goals, then view that as a red flag. Yes, sometimes people go through hard times and need you to be there for them. But I’ll say it again: people change, and that’s okay.

2. Imagine 10 impossible things every day.

One of my favorite college professors told me to think up ten impossible things per day. She said, “Your imagination is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes.” So dream up some of the biggest, weirdest things (un)imaginable! By doing that every day, you’ll become a more creative person.

Do you remember in school, when your instructor would ask a question, and you could practically hear everyone breathing because no one knew how to answer it. Then, after a short wait, your teacher would say, “There’s no right answer,” and then a few tentative hands would raise in the air.

Think of life like that: there’s no right answer.

People who do and say wacky things, who come up with out-of-the-box suggestions, and who approach life with a fresh perspective are far more likely to create new paths to tread. In order to open yourself up for that kind of creativity, you need to exercise your brain. So if you’re sitting around wishing you could be that innovative, amazing person, all it takes is a little imagination workout each day.

So brainstorm — every. single. day. I do it, and even if I come up with ten terrible ideas that I’ll literally never think of or use again, at least I’ve pushed some boundaries and explored some new thoughts.


3. Embrace fear.

Do scary shit.

For real, as long as your life isn’t in serious danger, then do things that frighten you a bit. Humans have that fight-or-flight response when intimidating things come along, and I encourage you to stick around and fight (theoretically, of course) more often than not.

Everyone has their own demons to overcome, so remember that nothing is too small or too big to conquer.  Maybe you want to be honest with someone about your feelings for them, you want to try out some activities and find a new hobby, you’d like to battle an eating disorder, move somewhere new, stand up for yourself more, travel for a year, or go parasailing. The possibilities are endless, and they are unique to you.

It took me two years to conquer my fears and move to San Francisco. I knew I loved it here, but I made up so many excuses as to why I shouldn’t move — it’s too far, what if it doesn’t work out, there are earthquakes, maybe I should give New York a few more months, I still have the lease on my apartment, how will I get my cat out there, etc etc etc.

When I finally did decide to try it out and bought a ticket to SFO, was I completely fearless? Of course not! But finally I wasn’t letting my fear dictate my actions. I knew that things were pretty scary and I was definitely taking a risk, but I chose to view it as exciting instead of terrifying. Just that small adjustment was what I needed.

Keep in mind that everyone feels fear — even the bravest of people — but it’s a matter of what you do with it that makes the difference.

Man in canoe

4. Remember that you have a choice.

One of my favorite quotes is from Leo Tolstoy:

If you want to be happy, be.

It can be interpreted in many different ways, but to me it means that I have the choice, every moment of every day, to do, say, think, feel, and react however I want.

Have you ever met someone who is perpetually stressed out, dissatisfied with his job, or bummed out with her love life, for example? It’s natural to feel that way from time to time — I don’t like being a Debbie Downer but sometimes it happens. However, if a person is endlessly in an unhappy state about something, I start to wonder if he or she chooses that misery because, well, it’s easier.

It’s way easier to constantly complain about how busy you are than it is manage a schedule of work, kids, dates, exercise, hobbies, and downtime. Complaining about your job and your boss is less complicated than asking for a raise, considering a department switch, or looking for a new job. Throwing a pity party for yourself because what’s-his-butt (or what’s-her-butt) dumped you is much simpler than moving on and trying out new activities where you can meet new people.

This is not at all diminishing the struggles that you may have. It’s all relative, and like I said, everyone feels a little bit down sometimes. It’s when you choose to stay down that you’re really making a mistake and hurting yourself.

The life you live is one that you create. You may have started with some difficult circumstances, but do not let that define you. Initiate and take charge instead of waiting around for things to happen to you.

Always remember: you have a choice.

What suggestion do you find most helpful? What other groundwork would you recommend to someone who wants to create more adventure in their life? What similar changes have you made in your own life, and how did they affect you?

Photo credits:
Death to the Stock Photo

13 thoughts on “Laying the Foundation for a More Adventurous Life

  1. I really loved this post!!
    I have started taking control of my life and its scary (and hard!) but its also really exciting.
    Don’t get me wrong, I have those days (or even weeks) where I feel down or like I am just too overwhelmed but I get back up and keep trying. I find it hard to fit adventure and exploring into my life right now as I am juggling university with living in a big city, working, paying rent etc etc but I’m starting to find a balance. I know it will happen!
    Thank you for this post! 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed this post! With balancing everything that you have on your plate, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and use a little bit of trial and error. You’re right — you’ll find a balance and it will work out. 🙂
      Thanks for reading!!

  2. An inspiring lunchtime read – thank you! I try to follow all of the above mantras and they certainly do work. Although I have been known to moan about my job from time to time!

  3. God you just keep them coming to me and my life right now. I have to tell you that you and your blog (among others) are one of the things that are really giving me the determination to follow my dreams and start working on them to make them happen. So thank you, a thousand times thank you.

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