Join Our Community

Adventure in Everything

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

Adventure in Everything

Are you living your dreams?
Matthew  Walker
Matthew Walker More by this author
Sep 26, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Regardless of the specific decisions we make throughout our lives, at the heart of each one is the chance to examine ourselves; to make changes that increase our sense of possibility and accomplishment; and to have a life of authenticity, purpose, and inspiration. At the heart of each choice we make is the potential for adventure.

In the preface to my book, Adventure in Everything, I ask you to consider whether or not you feel fulfilled. I suggest that finding adventure in all that you do in life can help you engage the world around you in a way that’s deeply satisfying and joyous. This may sound like something reserved for the naturally spontaneous or particularly wealthy, but the simple truth is that everyone has this potential. How might you accomplish such a goal for yourself? Below is an introduction to the Five Elements of Adventure that I’ve developed over the last ten years.

1. High Endeavor

While working as a mountain expedition guide, I was offered a job as a technical writer. Had I taken the writing job, I would have enjoyed a regular salary and dependable health benefits, a general sense of stability in not always needing to find more work, and a situation that never took me away from my soon-to-be wife. However, I wouldn’t have been doing what I loved. Taking the safe, secure position would have been an inaccurate reflection of who I was. That decision would have stifled my potential for growth.

To aim for a life with high endeavor is to set goals for ourselves that are worthy of our energy, love, and passion. To pursue high endeavor, we must understand what is most important to us. When I decided not to accept the desk job, I understood that discovering the finer points of balancing my professional and personal lives was a goal of tremendous importance to me. High endeavor is the combination of our dreams and passions.

2. Uncertain Outcome

When I decided to remain in my career as a mountain guide, there was no way for me to know how the future was going to turn out—or if it was going to turn out at all. I didn’t know what sort of jobs I’d be getting a year from then, whether I was going to find a way to unravel the thoughts I’d begun to have about the mental and emotional challenges of climbing, or even what would happen next. This could be true of any situation, of course, but there would have been a much greater chance that I could predict the outcome of the next couple of years if I’d taken the writing position.

By its very nature, adventure suggests not knowing how something is going to turn out. I like to remind my students and clients that any endeavor with a predetermined outcome is not such an experience, but rather a “prepackaged” situation, much like an amusement-park ride. Relating an endeavor to the certainty—or, ideally, lack of certainty—of its outcome is a litmus test for adventure. Real life is a series of uncertain outcomes, and coming to peace with this concept allows for opportunity. Opportunity activates adventure.

3. Total Commitment

Deciding to pursue my interest in the Five Elements of Adventure might have been a significant move, but that wasn’t where the work ended. If I had chosen this path and then attached myself to preconceived ideas about what it would look like—as in focusing only on end results such as having an impressive résumé and earning a lot of money—then I’d have completely undermined the importance of having chosen this path in the first place.

To be totally committed to an endeavor is to pursue it with flexibility about its outcome, detachment from its results, and complete and total focus on the task at hand. Having total commitment helps us place less importance on the quantity of our efforts, and instead emphasizes the quality of our efforts. Regardless of the challenges we encounter and the benefits we reap, having total commitment provides us with the ability to apply all of our skills toward success.

Had I not made a total commitment to becoming the best international mountain guide I could be, then the very reason for choosing this path—to create a satisfying life on my terms—would have become completely obsolete. Total commitment is born from remaining centered, from letting go of the outcome.

4. Tolerance for Adversity

I continued to be a mountain guide and never ran into a single obstacle. The end.

That’s not exactly a convincing story, is it?

Not only is it unconvincing, it’s not what happened. As I continued along the path that I had chosen, I encountered many challenges, including finding an appropriate balance between my professional and personal lives, struggling to determine what my clients were experiencing above and beyond the physical demands of climbing, and retraining myself to function in a classroom after being a number of years removed from a college environment. Each time I came upon adverse circumstances, it seemed possible that I wasn’t going to succeed.

Adventure demands a high tolerance for adversity and flexibility in the face of seeming defeat. When we encounter a difficult situation while attempting to accomplish our goals, we can either succumb to defeat or turn the situation into an opportunity to find more creative—and therefore more fulfilling—ways to triumph. When we pursue our endeavors with a tolerance for adversity, we’re able to conduct ourselves with style, grace, humility, and humor.

5. Great Companionship

The events that have the greatest impact and leave the most indelible marks all share one common ingredient: great companionship. When I look back on all of the adventures in my life, I find that Element #5 is the single most important one. When we pursue our endeavors with the benefit of the company of others, we have the opportunity to give unselfishly, receive sincere feedback, support one another, and work together to reach goals that are unattainable on our own.

To have great companionship is to share a sense of trust; and because I was able to trust my mentor to be honest with me, and trust my wife to accept me for who I am, I was able to identify my highest purpose in life and pursue it.

High endeavor, uncertain outcome, total commitment, tolerance for adversity, and great companionship are not lofty aspirations intended for a select few; they are the makings of an inspiring and approachable framework for anyone seeking meaning and rejuvenation in his or her life, work, and personal relationships.

About Author
Matthew  Walker
Matthew Walker, who received a master’s in applied behavioral science from Bastyr University in Seattle, has worked as an outdoor educator and mountain guide for the past two decades. Through his company, Inner Passage, Matt’s mission is to teach Continue reading