Last weekend I realized that my theme for the summer has been “New Adventures in New Places, mostly with Old Friends.” It’s been incredibly satisfying in terms of keeping my need for adventure modulated, and any time I can spend with friends is a time for gratitude. Admittedly, there have been other themes (“Running half-marathons in beautiful locales in the Western US then drinking regional wines and eating wonderful local foods” might be an alternative).
Please note that I admitted above that I have a baseline need for adventure. I confessed to someone last week that I’ve not always thought of myself as adventurous, maybe because my barometer in that area is affected by people I know who do things like move to foreign countries for a year after college graduation, or who go to India to climb for a month. And in that context, my choices my look pretty tame. On the other hand, I have no qualms about just taking off on both domestic and carefully selected foreign travels by myself, and I don’t know how many of you have been rafting in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (put it on your list if you can handle wilderness- worth EVERY moment- and I can recommend a guide and company for your trip). But yes, I’ve come to realize that the mundane, the predictable, the expected….well, they make me a little nutty, to be entirely honest. Some might even say I get bored. This probably explains more than a bit about my specialty choice, and I know that it explains why I’m always looking for ways to improve the world around me.
Recently I’ve also come across the idea that extraordinarily successful people seek novelty as an avenue for growth. I’m hopeful that these two things have a measure of connection and that my adventurousness is more constructive than impulsive. Change doesn’t scare me, and that’s in large part because I’m eager to take (controlled) risks. Unfortunately, we can all think of that negative example whom we know, who reminds us that seeking that next great thing can be pathologic and have negative impacts (see: almost any compulsive/ addictive behavior). But apparently, when it’s balanced by persistence and “self-transcendence”, novelty seeking results in high levels of achievement as well as high levels of personal satisfaction.
Perhaps most importantly, a link has been shown between risk-seeking and creativity. So the adventurers, the ones who are willing to step in and do the things that are a little different? As long as they are able to regulate their impulses, these are the people who can make a profound difference by visualizing a new future. Those sound like my kind of people.