“Every day is an adventure.” ~Joseph B. Wirthlin
It gets to you, doesn’t it?
You feel trapped in a life of monotonous everyday routine. One dull day merges into the next, each equally forgettable. The months slide past until you look up from your desk and suddenly another birthday’s here.
So you avidly consume programs and articles on fearless adventurers and bold entrepreneurs who risked everything to pursue their dreams.
And you follow them hoping someday to have your own stories to tell, your own daredevil memories to post and tweet. But instead, you end up doing nothing but beating yourself up at your seeming lack of adventurous spirit.
But maybe it’s time you stopped beating yourself up so much. What if adventuring isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?
What Nobody Tells You About Living an Adventurous Life
At nineteen, I was also frustrated with the lack of adventure in my life. And then I met a crazy-haired free spirit who catapulted me out of my everyday, humdrum life and into a world of adventure.
It was amazing.
But just like all those Photoshopped, celebrity cardboard-cutout Facebook pages, another side existed that few people confess to.
You see, in between exploring mountains, deserts, and rainforests, and sleeping under a million twinkling stars, were days of hunger, exhaustion, and illness.
In between meeting strangers who became just like loving family members within hours, were days of arguing with officials, being turned away by border guards, and being stoned with rocks in remote valleys with no hope of outside help.
In between the adventure of building and sailing our boat were years of living aboard with no shower or heating, even though the second winter hit sub-zero temperatures.
And even though we have a world record that says we went further than any other fools had gone before, we never knew where our next bed or meal was coming from the whole time.
Are we glad we did it all? Absolutely.
Was it like the movies? Not a bit.
And our forays into business have taught us that the life of an entrepreneur is no different. Every day is just as uncertain, every venture a high wire act without a safety net between possible riches and certain bankruptcy.
After ten years of living such a lifestyle, the constant uncertainty and discomfort had lost its allure. I wanted a regular income and the luxury of a toilet roll on a daily basis.
So I settled down into a “normal” life, but within two years, that started to feel humdrum and stale. The lack of stimulation felt suffocating.
But then I started searching for adventure in everyday life.
And I swiftly found that opportunities exist to explore and experiment everywhere. You just need to be open to them.
Actually, can I share a secret with you?
My life now is way more adventurous (and happier) than before we decided to settle. You see…
Life isn’t about the extraordinary once in a while; life is about the everyday—and the everyday can be extraordinary. Here’s how.
Explore Your World
You can become an everyday explorer without leaving your home and loved ones behind. I believed adventures only awaited in exotic lands. Then my eyes were opened to the truth: Everywhere is somewhere.
1. Take a different route to work.
You’ve no idea what you’ll discover. Two years of commuting busy roads was enough, and by taking a slower route, I discovered a beautiful house to rent on the doorstep of my workplace. I now get up earlier, but I can take a safer, quieter route to work.
2. Discover an unexplored world.
Take a sabbatical from your usual haunts on the weekend and try somewhere unknown. Forget guidebooks—just get out there and roam freely.
3. Journey to a faraway land without leaving home.
Pick a country you know little about, and have a theme night. (Invite friends.) Cook a traditional meal, and immerse yourself in an unknown culture—explore the history, art, and music, maybe even learn a little of the language.
Find Buried Treasure
Pull on your buccaneer boots, and realize this truth: If you search for the hidden treasures in your own life, you’ll discover wealth far greater than any rusty chest of tarnished gold.
1. Uncover your forgotten skills.
We all underestimate what skills we have and what we can do with them.
For instance, have you ever arranged a yard sale or got the neighborhood together to raise money for a local project or to clean up the area? If so, you probably have forgotten skills in project management, delegation, budgeting, and cooperation. What other forgotten skills could you uncover and have an adventure with?
2. Unearth your hidden talents.
You’ve no idea what you’re capable of until you try. Say yes to things you might have previously said no to. Try your hand at a different sport, or join your local amateur dramatics group.
I once helped finish a book for a friend who was woefully behind on the publisher’s deadline. Who knew that this previously undiscovered talent would lead me to write a book of my own and become a published author?
3. Bring your buried blessings to the surface.
Embark on a voyage of gratitude. Discover that your “dull” life is actually filled with bright blessings; you just need to recognize them to transform your everyday.
Unleash Your Inner Entrepreneur
You can become an everyday entrepreneur without having to leave your job. It’s just a question of looking for opportunities.
1. Run yourself as your own company.
Even if you’re employed, you can seize opportunities to thrive and grow. Decide where you want to be in five years career-wise, make a plan, and work toward it. Don’t leave it to others to choose your destiny.
2. Learn to stand up for yourself and speak out.
Say no to dead-end requests to be free to say yes to real chances of advancement. Rather than oppose change in your company, be the first to embrace it, and see where it can take you.
3. Put yourself forward.
Take the initiative and find ways to be more valuable. After I’d consistently volunteered to take on more responsibility, my boss generously paid for my professional studies, supporting my career advancement. All this presented a number of new challenges and adventures.
Challenge Your Beliefs
“Adventure is not outside man; it is within.” ~George Elliot
You can become an everyday pioneer by stepping outside your comfort zone but staying totally inside your safety zone.
1. Be an everyday seeker of knowledge.
Challenge your belief that learning stops after high school or college. The adventure of learning never stops. Turn your boring evenings or weekends into an exciting quest for knowledge. You can learn anything from accounting to zoology, often for free, with online universities such as the Khan Academy.
2. Freshen up your perspective.
Have a break from everything you normally read, watch, or listen to. Pick different genres, explore, and experiment. Turn an everyday couch-side veg-out into a fascinating, inspiring journey into new worlds.
3. Question all your limiting self-beliefs.
Limiting self-beliefs stop one from taking a risk and trying new things. Overcoming these mental barriers is an adventure in itself that can transform your life.
For years I believed I wasn’t creative, but I finally took the plunge and started drawing and painting. Now my previously dull evenings are filled with creative fun.
Take a Chance on Love
You can have your own Romancing The Stone adventure without risking life and limb.
1. Take the blinkers off.
Searching for love? Abandon preconceptions about your “perfect partner” and where you might find each other. Approach someone even if they don’t seem like your type. Leave your online dating profile open-ended.
2. Never stop exploring.
Settled in a relationship? Shake up the romance with a challenge to see how close you can become. Mark and I regularly play a fun game of writing out what we’d like life to be like, which led us, after fifteen years living together, to get married and embark on a new adventure.
3. Have an affair—with yourself.
Go on a personal voyage of discovery to fall in love with yourself. Perform an act of self-love each day. Journal all the positive things you did and said, and all the people you helped. Begin to see what a wonderful human being you are.
Discover That the Greatest Adventure Is Helping Others
Adventurers throughout history have sought personal fame or fortune. But, there is greater gain in helping others and greater reserves to be found in your heart than in any bank.
1. Make the first move.
Befriend a stranger at work or in your neighborhood. Be the first to break the ice and introduce yourself. Offer them a sincere compliment, and make their day. A stranger is just a friend-in-waiting.
2. Try your hand at fund-raising.
Explore inspiring ways to assist a charity you believe in to raise vital funds. Organize a car wash, or put on a local talent show.
3. Immerse yourself in someone else’s world.
Challenge your own preconceptions by volunteering. I foster hearing dogs, and our darling house guests have given me a much greater insight into the challenges the hearing impaired face.
Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary
You are too extraordinary to live ordinarily. You truly are an adventurous spirit.
That’s exactly why you must live your own life of everyday adventures.
You just have to unleash your curiosity.
You can stay in your home, your job, your life. Your adventurous spirit can thrive right where you are now.
Pick an idea from the list that lights your adventure torch. Start with one, and build in some others when you’re ready.
Get out there and experiment, explore, and experience.
Go make the everyday extraordinary.
About Laura Tong
Laura Tong is a regular contributor on The Huffington Post and other top blogs. Grab her free cheat sheet: 5 Guilt Free Ways To Say No Without Offending Anyone (Even If You Hate Conflict). Laura also hosts the Re-write The Rules In Your Life interview series where she shares awesome happiness and positivity tips from experts around the world. Click here to listen free to the latest episodes.