Crafting Adventure (or Change is the Real Treasure)

Crafting Adventure (or Change is the Real Treasure)
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Annie Disano of Taking Tokyo

Why don’t we go on adventures anymore?

I mean it, world–we used to do things like climb Mount Everest, or put man on the Moon. Even the word “adventure” is desirable–it hints at a journey full of excitement, discovery, and little bits of risk. So why don’t we do it anymore?

We’re fighting a virtual age of apathy.

When does struggling for happiness turn into thriving without consequence?

I think the answer is simple: When we decide to change.

Adventure as a Catalyst for Change

Adventure brings about change quite well. When we take on an adventure, we actively decide to do something out of our comfort zone. We decide to create something new. Adventures aren’t always the running-away-from-boulders, Indiana-Jones-style type, either. Adventure means something different for everyone.

As a result, a lot of people don’t know where to get adventure–it’s not just something that can be handed to you. It’s something you actively have to craft out of your own experiences and desires.

Interests/Strengths

I want you and I to go through an adventure crafting exercise. First off, we have interests and strengths to work with.

The first step to using your interests and strengths is to take a catalogue of what you love to do, and what you think you’re good at. Note that things you want to be able to do “someday” still classify as interests.

Label your “Interests” and “Strengths” separately, as you’ll be using those to combine with some other factors we add in later.

Fears

Take a catalogue of reasons why you don’t go further with your interests. Perhaps you’ve always loved foreign languages, but your shyness keeps you from practicing. Label these “Progress Stoppers.”

Then, take another catalogue of general fears you’ve always had or recently developed. Fear of flying? Fear of spiders? Fear of not being good enough? Those all count. Label them “Organic Fears.”

Expectations

You have to ask yourself what you believe. Do you believe that the pay check needs to come once a month? Do you believe that you’re not capable of eating raw fish?

Take one last catalogue, and label these beliefs “Expectations.”

Goals

This is absolutely the most important part! We’ll be using your “catalogues” to create these from scratch. Goals translate to ction in an adventure.

First, take your interests and strengths. These are going to turn into “want-based” goals.

For each “Interest,” try to create a goal which ties into that interest. Make it simple for now. Try to improve upon your interest, or even just entertain it.

For each “Strength,” try to do the same. Create a goal which stretches your strength, or create a goal which just exercises it.

Next, we’re going to work on your fears. They’ll turn into “challenging” goals.

Use your “Progress Stoppers” to create a goal which destroys each fear in that category. It sounds simple because it is! For instance, if your fear is “I will get writer’s block if I try to write,” make a goal to “Write without reserve.” You may not know how to do that yet, but it’s something you aspire to do.

Use your “Organic Fears” to create a goal which, likewise, destroys each fear. This is the most uncomfortable part of the process for many. Your goals don’t have to seem realistic to you–yet.

Third, we’re going to blow your expectations out of the water with “proof-based” goals.

For each “Expectation,” create a goal which tests the expectation. If your expectation was “I can’t eat sushi,” make a goal which says “Eat sushi.” Even if you think you can’t do it, you can reach a state where you’ll prove the expectation to be true or false.

Lastly come the “Raw Goals.” These are just ordinary goals which you want to accomplish. Take something like “Double my income.” It’s simple, and it works because they’re things you genuinely want to accomplish.

Catalogue all of these new goals.

Putting it All Together

Now you’re officially ready to craft your adventure!

It’s part math, part synthesis. Take all of your goals and group them based on their common threads. Bind several goals together into a single goal based on the theme they all share–for instance, if you have goals to “Improve public speaking skills” and “Pet a tarantula,” you may create a new goal: “Become a speaker at a zoo exhibit!” The more dramatic the change required to complete a goal, the more rapid change you will undergo while accomplishing it.

The real key to this is stuffing the largest amount of change into the “simplest” package. Not only will you make progress on your goals, but you’ll change in untold ways.

This effectively bypasses the needless “baby steps” approach that many people take. Great desire and a strong will are cause for great change.

Executing

This takes a lot of courage, and you have to erase all your doubts. You may do it in small parts at a time–your adventure may not be big in itself–but big adventures come with big change.

Take your list of finely-condensed goals, and assimilate them into one “Master Goal,” even if each one doesn’t seem totally related. Your adventure may end up called “Work from home with an online business where I work with animals, and lose 10 pounds.” And that’s okay! As long as it’s way over-the-top, exciting, and slightly risky, you’re good to go for this step.

Regrettably, this is where I leave you.

Only you can do this step.

Create a master plan for making your goal a reality. Create a path on which to walk through the adventure, making progress steadily. Develop a plan and support system to make it impossible for you to fail.

Adventure doesn’t start when you open the treasure chest.

Adventure lies on the way there.

Your Results

One of the best parts of adventuring is sharing your plans or progress with other adventurers. So, comment and tell us: What sort of adventure did you create? What steps are you going to take to make that adventure a reality for you?

About the Author: Annie is a barely-18 ambitious girl fresh out of her mom’s living room and into Tokyo, Japan. Her mission is to show freedom seeking individuals her journey to stay in Japan for six months and share all the lessons it teaches along the way. Check out what she’s got planned at Taking Tokyo.

photo courtesy of rob young

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