It took me many years to identify that single personal trait that had both impeded and advanced my life. Are you an Adventurer/Explorer?
Are you living out your legacy right now? Yes, I mean this very moment.
If you were to die tonight, will you be pleased with what you are planning to do today? Steve Jobs in a famous commencement speech at Stanford University asked that question and said if not, he would immediately change that plan! You might want to ask yourself just that same question or a similar one more suited to you. It’s a vital question that keeps you clear and on track, in alignment with your purpose.
So what is your purpose or mission? The famous Joseph Campbell quote of “Follow Your Bliss” sounds sublime and similar and is perhaps the most common theme employed by commencement speakers. But what if you are like me and others who haven’t quite discovered what your bliss, passion, or legacy is yet? I’ll bet that the vast majority of those graduates listening including most of the parents and many of the faculty have not yet fully identified their passions. Passion can be an elusive concept. When I speak to empower, I like to shift the emphasis to “Become an Adventurer and remain curious about everything and fixed to nothing. Become a master Adventurer/Explorer.”
Being an Adventurer is something that all of us have embraced at one point in our lives. It was an essential for learning to walk and assimilating a language. You may continue with it in parts of your life or maybe it has been beaten down and lost. Too often, it becomes a less appreciated attribute as we are socialized and educated. That said, when we bring our sense of adventure and curiosity back into the forefront of of all parts of our lives, magical things begin to happen.
Yes, I’ve had several passions and some remain while others have slid into the background. No doubt they’ve fueled whatever success I’ve enjoyed, but it is our inquisitiveness or curiosity that can open up and help us identify our passions and lead to new, more exciting and sometimes unexpected ones. Conversely, when I played safe and small, my world reflected that. If we choose to blindly inherit our elder’s lack of blisses or passions, the chances of anything valid for us is infinitesimal and we are apt to live out the same unfulfilled lives as so many before us. Instead, you might want to choose becoming a swashbuckling, unapologetic Adventurer.
I happened to begin internalize this “Adventurer” concept just two decades ago quite by accident and actually didn’t recognize it for its own immense power until much more recently. It finally dawned on me that it had become the one defining trait that had changed my life for the better and enlarged my world. It may surprise you to learn that this occurred at a very challenging time for me, financially stressed, going through a divorce, and with career opportunities in limbo. Without knowing it per se, adapting this more adventuresome attitude did not immediately turn my fortunes around, but it gradually and quietly proved transformative. What I did, and how I believed and acted previously bear only passing resemblance to whom I am today. Now that is neither good nor bad, but it has kept me more vital and perhaps brought me closer to a legacy I’d be proud of.
Yes, I decided to explore. I let the little kid in me come out and play, to wonder, test, and explore. For me that included both dating and meeting new people (many of whom I might have not previously met), sampling new hobbies, food, clothing, etc. Listening to different music and digesting alternative reading and entertainment material, resuming my formal education, participating in very different jobs, travel, and sampling and opening up to different spiritual and political viewpoints were also part of the equation. It involved me asking more new and better questions, and also required me to sometimes respond in a more open, inviting and less threatened manner. That included more patience, forgiveness and self-forgiveness, and a whole lot less judgment of others. To become the Adventurer that I later realized, I rekindled my curiosity and said “Yes!” to more of life’s experiences. Finally I faced my fears and jumped out of my many self-constructed comfort zones.
This was no road to instant gratification or riches, but it has proved the ongoing education that becomes so vital after our formal training. It has allowed my life to blossom. As this journey was not quick, it also was not without detours and roadblocks. Life is not like that, but I have learned that if we can get out of our own ruts or those imposed by others before us, it can be a most delicious undertaking. It’s both a shedding and gathering process that inevitably leads to discovering many new passions, blisses, or legacies if you will.
To those of you youngsters of any age, I encourage you to become Adventurers and Explorers. Ask questions. Try new things. Don’t worry about perfection nor what others think, but strive for excellence. When knocked down, getting back up may be your most challenging, but most rewarding exercise. Sometimes our legacy is handed to us by chance or circumstance, but the Adventurer will not wait, but take initiative and create many more fulfilling opportunities. It matters not where you are, whom you were born to, your financial status, age, sex, or circumstances. There’s something I know about you that you may or may not know about yourself. You have more talent, strength, and energy than has ever been tapped, exploited, or tested. Are you giving your best, your most important efforts as Steve Jobs might have asked? Or are you playing safe and small?
Don’t confuse either education or intelligence with wisdom. Your greatest wisdom left unattended is futile and never rewarded. Endeavor to keep acting in a positive, loving way and check yourself to monitor that you’re not operating in a fear-based controlling, contracting way for when you act out of love, you maximize your impact in all matters.
Change the way you see your future. It is today, expansive, and inviting. Your future can be both rehearsed and created. Little is totally predictable. Wondering, dreaming, and planning are unique to us. Allow yourself to collapse the past, present, and future to combine them all simultaneously with a sense of love, patience, forgiveness, compassion, and sense of wonderment and abandon. Live with an open mind and a loving, forgiving heart as you partake your adventures. Flow like water and don’t resist or attempt to control. Those are fear-based actions and resist the natural flow of things.
George Orwell wrote, “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” Picture yourself as that Adventurer, the primary author and producer of your story in the now. When you realize that you are enough already, you can begin to fly too. Right now you are simply the summation of the past, but so excitingly you are the dormant being of the future waiting to evolve into your best self. This is such an exciting prospect if you simply remind to ask yourself Jobs’ question. “Is what I am doing worthy or my best self?” Why not be adventurous, explore and find out?
It has been said that the Universe and all matter is constantly both changing and expanding. We should be doing likewise as well and when we resist we go against nature and effectively grow stale and die more rapidly. A young branch bends and an old one is brittle. The Adventurer is more apt to stay attuned to that young branch, exploring, growing, and expanding. Now if you ask me, that’s a treat.
So perhaps you are saddened or depressed with your life, those around you, or the state of the World. Another old saying is “If it’s to be, it’s up to me,” rings true. Imagine for a moment how inspiring it would be to others for them to witness the Adventurer in you, building your legacy. Dare to explore, to learn, to expand and growth. Very possibly you may lose yourself in this more exciting journey and shed your depression. Isn’t it worth a try?
History has proven that not every port of call has proved inviting to the Adventurer, but each has its blessings if we are only awake and aware. Contrast brings clarity and the Adventurer will discover that which resonates and that which doesn’t for him or her. Exploration for the Adventurer brings wisdom and opens up those very passions that many allude to and make our life so meaningful. So it really doesn’t matter if you have already identified your purpose, passion, bliss, or mission. If you are open, willing, and adventurous to become your best explorer, you’re apt to discover your best self – a truly remarkable and inspiring journey.
Start bringing your future to life right now and enjoy the ripple effects of your signature impact. Become the Adventurer. It’s never too late to finish strong!