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Want more adventure in your life? Of course you do! I know this because:
1. You are reading this blog, which is clearly a travel and adventure blog.
2. You are human.
That’s right, no matter how much you like the comfort of routine and relish in all things predictable, human beings like to be reminded that they are alive. You can have adventure on a small scale (branching out and making more friends, exploring your city, or taking on a new hobby), and you can also have it on a bigger scale (teaching English in Korea for a year, starting a business, or moving to your dream city).
The great news is, no matter the magnitude, adventure can be found everywhere! The bad news is, at first it can be really hard to find.
I know, talk about frustrating.
Know that starting something always is the hardest part. Even beginning a daunting work project or planning a trip is a lot harder at first. Creating a more adventurous life is a pretty broad goal, so there’s a chance you might not really know what kind of adventure you’re looking for. Or maybe you do but you’re not sure what steps can lead up to your goal. Or maybe your goal is massive, and it completely paralyzes you from starting to work towards it.
All you know is: the day in, day out of going to work, grabbing a drink at the bar with your friends, and watching the latest shows added to Netflix is just not gonna cut it.
If you want to shake things up, remember that creating adventure boils down to three things: the first rule of improv, a fresh outlook, and the hunt for something new.
The first rule of improv
Anybody out there ever taken an improv class? As an actor, I had tons of these classes, and to top it off I was super into Whose Line is it, Anyway? While it’s not the case for all improv instructors and schools, a lot of them teach that the first rule of improv is, “Yes, and…”
This is your new mantra.
In the world of improv, you learn to say, “Yes, and…” to your partner. Why? Essentially because it opens up possibilities instead of shutting them down. In the world of life, “Yes, and…” is such a wonderful way to take on the day. It oozes positivity and opportunity.
The next time you receive an invitation to go to a cocktail party that one coworker is throwing, a comedy show one of your college friends is in, or a weekend trip to Tahoe with a group of friends, say “Yes, and…” “Yes, and is there anything I should bring?” “Yes, and can we grab a drink afterwards?” “Yes, and I can drive.”
Now this is not to say that you should always say yes to things. Sometimes you should say no. You should probably say no to things that are seriously harmful to you, that go against a belief of yours, or that you truly can’t afford, for example. The reasoning that you simply don’t want to do something is also totally valid. But when you find yourself consistently saying no to things, you should evaluate why that is and try your damndest to respond with an enthusiastic, “Yes, and!”
So why “Yes, and…” and not just “Yes”? Two reasons:
First, you’re more likely to actually do what you agreed to when you’ve made a thorough commitment. Sure, you can say you’ll attend someone’s birthday party, but when you’re the one responsible for bringing mixers you’ll feel more of the need to actually follow through.
Second, by saying, “Yes, and…” you’ve made yourself an active participant in whatever it is you’ve accepted as opposed to a stagnant spectator. This will make whatever it is more fun for you, and others will sense that you’re excited to be taking part. In turn, this creates a great mood for everybody involved, is a great way to strike up conversation with people you may not know, and (big bonus ahoy!) when people have cool, fun, or weird things pop up in the future, they’ll want to include you.
A fresh outlook
You actually don’t have to set foot on all seven continents to truly be living. That’s an amazing goal to have — and I hope you achieve it one day! — but what about the days that you aren’t working towards that? Are they destined to be boring, lifeless days for you? Look at your everyday as an adventure. Plan those big adventures still, but don’t dismiss your daily life as less than those other experiences.
This is going to sound totally ridiculous, but creating a daily objective for yourself can turn a regular ol’ day into something awesome. Decide that today is the day you are going to compliment 5 strangers, the day you walk instead of take the bus, the day you tell knock-knock jokes to every single person in the office, the day you respond to people only in questions, or the day you wear only shades of purple.
Is this totally weird? Yes. But I promise you it will make “just another day” a much more memorable one. When you wake up, pick your secret quest for the day and see where it takes you. What conversations will you have, who will you meet, and what will you discover about yourself? By creating this journey, you’ll start to view even the most average of days as special and unique.
The hunt for something new
When all else fails, try something new. Pick an activity to try, an event to go to, or a person to talk to and go for it one hundred percent. No excuses.
I love the sense of something familiar just as much as the next gal, but variety is the spice of life, my friends. It’s certainly a little scary to venture out into the unknown, so it’s always helpful to seriously ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” What’s the worst that will happen if you go to a concert alone, talk to someone who smiled at you across the room, or take a pottery class? The show could be bad, the person might not be interested in conversation, or you could end up with some really funky-looking mugs. There are worse things.
On a grander scale of new things, you do want to be aware of your safety (I’m lookin’ at all you adrenaline junkies out there). If you’re trying something daring, be smart about it. Don’t put others in danger, and be aware of the risks you’re taking. And — duh — have fun.
Whatever it is, make sure it excites you. It should be something you’re interested in, maybe a little nervous about, but you know that deep down you’ll regret not doing it. Remember, life is way too short to have regrets.
Which piece of advice is the most useful to you in your life right now (the first rule of improv, a fresh outlook, or the hunt for something new)? What’s something you said “no” to before but wish you’d said, “Yes, and…” to? Why? What sort of daily quest do you think you will create for yourself first? When was the last time you tried something new, and what was it?
Death to the Stock Photo