20 Jun 2023

Growing an Adventurous Spirit takes Courage and Curiosity

Having an adventurous spirit goes beyond stepping outside our comfort zone on challenging adventures.  

Adopting a wider perspective, real life adventures combine inner and outer journeys.  

When we connect with something bigger than ourselves, life becomes an adventure. We find beauty in unexpected places, connecting with others and with nature. 

In the words of Mary Oliver, Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

At its heart, adventure is a state of mind. Being adventurous is being willing to try something new, to be curious, to face our fears, and to do something difficult and worthwhile.

It’s easy to slip into a safe and comfortable routine where we resist change and avoid trying new experiences. The truth is we are missing out!

More often we hear about challenging outdoor adventures like competing in an ultra marathon, hiking to Machu Pichu, or visiting Antarctica. We hear less often about the internal challenges we face and overcome. This is where real growth happens - facing our demons, overcoming disappointments, and discovering our true potential. 

When we confront the unknown with curiosity and bravery, real adventures are born.  

Curiosity is about pursuing challenging opportunities, seeking knowledge and discovering new things. Bravery takes mental or moral strength to overcome our fears and face personal challenges in pursuit of something meaningful.

When we are courageous and face up to disappointments, we reassess our relationship with others and gain a stronger sense of self. Sometimes we discover the path we thought we were on has changed and evolved into something quite different, which can be more difficult yet more rewarding. 

Watching the movie Shackleton: The Greatest Story of Survival is a remarkable tale of adaptability and endurance. Under Shackleton’s leadership the crew’s mission changed from exploration to survival when their ship, The Endurance, became ice-bound in Antarctica. After incredible feats of resilience and fortitude over eighteen months, the entire crew survived. 

In our comfort zone we feel safe and secure surrounded by familiar things and people. In our safe bubble, we avoid feelings of anxiety, stress and uncertainty. We convince ourselves we do not have the skills to try something new. However, if we get stuck in our comfort zone, we miss out on fully embracing the human experience.

Our growth zone lies just outside the comfort zone, challenging our abilities and requiring heightened attention. Getting outside our comfort zone takes willpower and a growth mindset. Exiting our comfort zone is the first step. With each new experience in the growth zone, our comfort zone expands, and we build more confidence and resilience. 

After a relocation, I enrolled in a painting class to learn something new and meet new people. That was where I met my future partner, Steve, who later introduced me to scuba diving. Without stepping outside my comfort zone, the wonderful adventures that followed would not have happened.   

Challenging moments help us learn and grow. Even when we experience failure, we benefit greatly when we learn from the experience.  

Here are six ways to step out of your comfort zone:

1.  Make your curiosity bigger than your fear; wonder and imagine, give it a go and the rest will follow.

2.  Take small steps that will lead to bigger ones, like pursuing a side hussle which could become your future career.  

3.  Shake up your routine. Take a different walking route at a different time of day.

4.  Borrow courage from your future self. Imagine what your best self would do then do it!

5.  Get real about the level of risk. What’s the worst thing that could happen? 

6.  Develop a healthy fear of regret. If you don’t do it now, you may not get another chance. 

A life well lived is doing the things that make us feel alive and not letting fear or obligations get in the way. This means being brave right now!

Everything around us is changing, so let's embrace adventure and take every opportunity to catch the wave of life. 

In the spirit of adventure, my personal challenge is every two weeks to meet a new person and explore a different topic. What will you do to grow your adventurous spirit?


Mary Somervell

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