In terms of conservation, they talk about leaving a smaller footprint.
But in life, our relationships, and our legacy, we really need to be leaving a larger footprint! A footprint of amazing experiences, learning, exploration, education, culture, personal challenge and growth.
Anais Nin said, “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
I love that quote. It’s spot on. I’m not talking about jumping out of the trenches, facing gunfire courage, or standing firm against a marauding tiger courage–I’m talking about having the courage to calculate risks and then take them. To control as much as you can in your life, rather than have your immediate reactions control you.
The more we can control our level of fear and discomfort in a given situation, the better results we will have in all areas of life. Especially when it comes to controlling fear of the unknown.
All learning comes from a place of risk; whenever we do anything, we are risking an outcome. This starts from our very first steps as babies.
The science shows that in every challenging experience we have, we lay down thousands of dendrites, meshing down layers of a neural network that grows and reinforces our capabilities. Though the science works the other way as well. If every experience has a negative reaction, that action is negatively reinforced as being a bad/unsafe thing to do
With each challenge our world grows a little, as do our capabilities. What's interesting is the relationship between the experience and our capabilities. If we do something physically challenging, dangerous, or risky on a regular basis, this has a direct correlation on our personal belief systems as to the other challenges we can attempt in a non–risk atmosphere.
The calculated risk taker is much more likely to give it a go. When he does, even more dendrites are laid down, reaffirming his belief in himself. I’m not talking about stupid, blind gambles, I’m talking about calculated and thought out risk and challenge.
It really is a progression. Try something new and see where it may lead; once that new thing becomes the norm, try something else new. Your world has now grown, your neural response to that situation has changed… the impossible has now become possible, your abilities have grown. What's interesting is that having just thought the challenge through, even if it's a purely physical challenge, your newly developed neural pathways will actually help your cognitive and physical performance.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” We have to get to a point where fear no longer controls the decisions we make in our everyday activities. Be the one to terrorize fear, take control, and take the plunge. The question of, "what if?" will always be there when it comes to doing things, and the only way to actually find out the answer to that question is by actually doing those things. By having an adventurous mindset, you will start noticing an increase in your self-confidence and self-worth.
Have a look at some of the high net worth individuals who also are adventurers. People like Richard Branson, entrepreneur and record-breaking balloonist, and closer to home Cheryl Bart, corporate high flyer and Everest summiteer
So get out there and get amongst it! Have fun and be prepared to take some risks, but always be aware of the consequences of your actions. If you can't handle the possible downside, you are not ready for that level of risk…. Yet!
Joe Bonington is an expert on the adventure mindset. He's the owner of Joe’s Basecamp Gym on Sydney's Northern Beaches: a facility that specialises in training people for outdoor and adventure sports. His people are ordinary, with extraordinary goals, as well as run many treks and trails. His people have summited Everest, crossed the Greenland Icecap, run the Sahara desert and swam the English Channel. He has featured on Channel 9, Channel 7 and is a regular columnist for WILD magazine on how to train for adventure. See more at www.joesbasecamp.com.au