“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
Taking stock of my life recently, I sat down to think about what has lead me to where I am today. At first glance it appeared that my life has been a completely disorganized mess without any rhyme or reason, jumping from here and there to this and that. With a good sprinkling of pretty crazy shit that makes me wonder just how the hell I’m even still alive.
Then it hit me. My life hasn’t been about achieving a single, focus-driven goal. It has been about experiencing as much as I can and doing it for as long as I can.
I am an explorer and I challenge myself to seek out new adventures in life because I want to see more and be more.
To me, exploration is about searching out the unknown in your life, making the big and usually scary decision to give it a go, and then stepping out your front door to go do it. It is about putting yourself wholeheartedly into the adventure and most importantly, letting go of the ego in order to experience something that has the potential to be life changing.
I’ve had some pretty amazing adventures stepping out of my comfort zone and jumping right into the unknown. There have been triumphs, set-backs, major successes, and major surgeries (multiple times).
You can read more about me here.
No matter the outcome of those adventures, I know that everything I’ve done has made me stronger and a better version of myself. That is why I am thankful for every journey I’ve set out on.
I believe we become a much better version of ourselves, and have more fun in life, when we embrace the explorer’s mindset.
How do we become a better explorer?
Ask yourself . . . What is over the top of that hill? What happens if I move my arm like this around my opponent’s neck? 🙂 What would it be like to take my family to Australia for a year?
Ask the big, and little, questions to get yourself into the explorer’s state of mind.
Become a Beginner
Get uncomfortable every chance you get. Do things that scare you. Ditch your ego and be completely open to new things. The Ego is a powerful adversary in our quest to explore.
Dream Big, But Be Realistic
Aim within your geographical, financial & scheduling limits.
Years ago I thought of climbing Mt. Everest. Could I have? Sure, if I had set aside everything I was doing and focused solely on the task of getting up there. It just wasn’t realistic for me. Instead, I set my sights on the exploration of other “mountains” in my life.
Dream of climbing big mountains, but find a personal mountain that is within reach.
Weigh The Pros and Cons
There are varying degrees of exploits we can set off on and the greater the adventure, the greater the risk; but it could also mean a greater reward. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before setting off on your adventure.
Prepare For Everything
I was a Boy Scout; our motto was always “Be Prepared.” And part of being prepared means having a map to guide you. This can be a mental checklist that you have gained through past experiences or even a true, written plan on how to get you up that mountain.
It’s impossible to be 100% prepared all the time, but you can focus on having a ready, physical and mental strength that can be applied to all kinds of situations.
If you plan on starting a business, you’ll need to learn all you can about management, finance, and not freaking the F out over everything.
If you want to do a Spartan race, you’ll need to train for it.
Really though, it’s about making the time and putting in the work so you can enjoy the journey.
You don’t know what the world is going to throw at you, so aim to be a little bit prepared for everything. How the hell do you do that? Well, in terms of the physical side of things, we’ve got you covered at GMB Fitness. 😉
Something completely unexpected is going to come up along the way; learn to roll with it. It is gonna suck, but you just gotta deal with it. This antifragile mentality is what all survivors have and it is what you must also have in order to come back in one piece from your exploits. The faster you can adapt, the more you’ll thrive and enjoy it.
Know When To Go Back
You can prepare, have your mental checklist, the sum of all your experiences, and even a step-by-step guide to get you up that mountain. But you’ve gotta know when it’s time to call it quits. This is beyond having a tough day or when something gets difficult.
In the face of terrible weather or unexpected disasters, keep pushing forward and adapting to the situation; but if things go to shit then have the fortitude to bail and get the hell outta there. You can always regroup and plan for a second attempt at a later date.
Write It Down!
Research shows that pen and paper is way more effective than a screen. Write down your thoughts, questions, concerns. Solidify the experience on carbon, you’ll get more out of it. Who knows? You could write a bestseller!
Just Do It
You could spend a lifetime planning the perfect adventure, but will you ever truly be 100% ready? The answer is, no. Dealing with the unexpected is part of exploring, it literally makes your brain light up. That is why there comes a time when you just need to go for it.
If I had tried to figure everything out every single time I did something then I probably wouldn’t have done over half the things I’ve done in my life. Plus, the fact that I dreamed stupidly huge dreams, wasn’t prepared, and was too stubborn to turn back when I should have has lead to some pretty damn memorable exploits.
As I grow older, and hopefully wiser, the concept of exploration still rings true in my heart. Even as I write this the pull of exploration, learning new skills, visiting new places, battling with new and uncomfortable situations, excites me.
What can you explore in your life? It can be small or big, all you gotta do is get started.
- Travel to a foreign country and learn 10 basic phrases before you go.
- Learn a new movement pattern.
- Tell someone who’s important to you that you love them.
So start now! Decide on three things to start exploring today.
And don’t just stop there! Get out there, explore and challenge yourself as often and as much as you can.