Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Importance of Taking Chances & Adventure

There are a number of reasons why taking chances in life is such an important thing.  It brings newness into your life, boosts your level of happiness and life satisfaction, it helps you discover what it is that your really want in life, its character building, etc.

I will outline the reasons in a bit more depth below :-)

But really, couldn't all of us use a little more adventure? ;-)

So, taking chances and adventure is important because...

1.  Continuing with the same old thing rarely brings about anything new (whether positives or negatives).  But taking a different chance than usual, such as, deciding to go on that solo backpacking adventure, or finally getting up the guts to end a bad relationship, or searching with major effort until you land a new job that you will really love, or taking the leap and moving to a brand new place, etc, all of these things can produce incredible results and opportunities that you never imagined until after that have occurred.  But this first requires taking the leap.  Sameness and routine are comfortable, but when that makes up most of your life, it'll likely be a generally dull one that is not nearly as memorable or fulfilling as it could be.

2.  Taking chances gives you valuable life comparisons and helps you to find what your really want.  One cannot possibly know where they truly belong unless they've been different places.  One cannot really know who the right person is/was until they have a few comparisons (and sadly, some of the time, by then the "right one" is someone they already had but then its too late.  But different topic for a different blog post).  One cannot possibly appreciate the light as fully until they've experienced the depth of dark.  One rarely knows their dream job until they've worked the wrong one.  The list goes on.  With chances comes the discovery of what you want and who you are.

3.  Taking chances teaches you about the thousands of possibilities for ones life path (of which most of us don't even consider).  Taking chances and going on adventure teaches you about who you are as a person.  There is no better way to find out how confident and able you really are then to travel somewhere new, totally alone.  Or to discover how brave you actually are then to finally do the thing that truly scares you (trust me, you can do it.  Its just a matter of deciding to do it, despite feeling the fear).  It teaches you about life in general.  The different possibilities, potential, opportunities, people, and places for ones life.

4.  Adventure and taking chances supplies you with great stories to tell.  Going to Germany with just 3 weeks left on my 90 day tourist visa, so that if I hadn't found a job, I would have been packing my bags and flying home?  That was taking a huge chance.  It makes for a fun story.

Also, despite having ended my 9 year relationship (and yes, I still sometimes miss this person), none of the adventures I've had during the past 2 years (upon our split, having up and moved to Europe) would have happened if I hadn't.
The two solo trips I've taken totally on my own (Italy and Portugal), as well as trips with others to whom I am close.  The two totally nutty jobs I've had (I could write a book about these in themselves), the large handful of deep, wonderful friendships I have made, the emotionally challenging experiences I have had here which have absolutely made me stronger (language barriers, intense loneliness at times-though mainly in the beginning, culture shock, feeling "on my own" sometimes, having started over completely socially as I moved far away from my family and friends, etc).  All of this is very relevant to who I am and who I have become.  Its all been life changing, and personally changing.  And all of it makes for some incredible stories.

5.  Having adventures and taking chances makes you a more interesting, fascinating and inspiring person.  Not only to others, but also to yourself.

Which person interests you more?  As a friend/potential love/person in general?

Person A who has lived in the US for half their life and for the other half, throughout Asia, Russia and Iceland.  They spent 8 months backpacking through Europe once.  They are a history buff, a talented photographer, a great cook, and have published a book.  They have had 3 great loves in their life.  Their hobbies are working on a cooking blog and volunteering at an animal shelter.  They work as an architect and a baker.

Person B has lived in the same town for nearly their whole life, and likely will continue to.  They do not travel much at all.  This person doesn't really have any hobbies that excite them.  They read the newspaper occasionally and take walks. They tend to do the same things most of the time.  They had one great love whom they left because they couldn't handle change or adventure.  They work as a bus driver.

I think the answer is clear.  Obviously both of these people have equal worth as human beings.  But when you answer the question, which one intrigues you more?  Interests you more?  Inspires you more?  I think its an obvious choice.

6.  Its character building.  Taking chances and going on adventures can change you as a person, big time (if you let it ;-)).  You cannot possibly know all that you're capable of, as well as what you really want in your life, unless you seek a variety of life experiences.  Trying new things, having new experiences, taking risks, visiting different places, meeting new people, and going on adventure, can teach you: how to deal emotionally with discomfort (an important skill to quire).  Your confidence and self worth will rise.  You can discover new passions and hobbies.  You learn self reliance and resourcefulness. You discover the type of life you really want.  One can acquire more bravery through taking chances.  Your life becomes filled with interesting stories.  One can grow into a more intelligent, open and worldly person, the more you experience.  The list goes on and on.

With change, and adventure, you can also experience struggle, disappointment and setbacks.  Of course.  But numerous positives will still emerge even from that, over the long term.  (And I know there are more benefits to taking chances and going on adventures...this is not an all-inclusive list!)

7.  It leaves less room for regret.  How many times have you heard people say the phrase, "man I wish I had done _____ when I had the chance?"  Or, ""I wish I had told ____ how I really felt for them."  Or "I wish I had tried harder when I had the chance."  Do not be one of those people, filled with regrets for what they wish they had done, things they wish they had said, chances they wish they had taken.

Take the chance.  Tell the person they are the love of your life.  If they turn you down, at least you will have given it your all and there was nothing more to do.  Take the risk and move to the new place.  If you do not love it after 1 year, move back to where you used to live.  Take the new job.  If you totally hate it, you can look for a new one or potentially go back to your old one.

But at least in each of these scenarios, you will not find yourself thinking, "man, I wish I had given that a shot."
Because, you will have given it a shot.  And you will know what the outcome is.  No wondering what-could-have-been.  No regrets.

8.  You will be buoyed with satisfaction and fulfillment by these memories and experiences, for years to come.  This will be something you come back to often, that you will revisit in your memories, that will fill you with happiness and nostalgia.  That backpacking adventure you went on for 4 weeks through Europe?  You will recall this often and feel a rush of joy, excitement, romance and pride that you did it.  Getting up the guts to say hi to that cutie in your class, which led to a romantic adventure?  You will reminisce with wonder and pride at the guts you had in approaching them.  The list goes on.

9.  Believe it or not, you actually will find yourself feeling happier and more fulfilled.  This isn't just my own opinion.  Studies have shown that people who have things like: at least a few genuine, close friendships, or a wonderful committed romantic relationship (the key here: they cannot just be people to fill the space.  They should be truly good ones, both for you and at heart), we are happier and more fulfilled.  People who try new things, go new places, who have passions, whose lives are full, who go on some adventures, these people are genuinely happier.  They feel more satisfied, joyful and contented with both their lives and themselves.


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