Intentionally Pursuing a Life of Adventure

How to Be a Doer, it’s Surprisingly Quite Simple

Are you sitting there, convinced that you’re just a dreamer? You’re obviously not a doer because if you were, you wouldn’t be here reading about what I’m doing. You would be out there, on an adventure! Living the life of your dreams. I get it. It’s a lot easier to dream about doing something than it is to do it.

A mellow frog waiting for something to happen in a hot frying pan.
The artist of this drawing DonkeyHotey has a bunch of pictures like this. Which is kind of messed up now that I think about it.

Being a Doer is Simple

My experience of traveling to China was slow. It brought to mind the question of “How do you boil a frog?” After all, you can’t ramp up the heat all at once. Otherwise, the frog will jump out. The experience of China rose up around me. Most adventures, or lack thereof, happen slowly. However, If you’re taking small steps to achieve experience, then results will rise around you. If you aren’t doing anything to change your life, then you will slowly find yourself in a mundane world.

The Results aren’t important The Journey is

People seem to make the mistake that the result is the doing, it’s not. The magic of the process is what’s important. Ralph Potts, the author of Vagabonding, claims that the adventure begins “the moment you stop making excuses start saving money and begin to look at maps with the narcotic tingle of possibility.” In other words, the mere action of starting to work towards something makes you a doer.

For those who still disagree that you’re not a doer until the adventure arrives, Stephen King has a few words for you. “You are the unfortunate ones who still get the lovemaking all confused with the paltry squirt that comes to end the lovemaking.” That’s coming from a man who has written many a tale of adventure and lived a few himself.

Evolving from Dreaming to Doing

It’s super simple, so simple that you can already be considered a doer. Luckily, if you’re not then it’s simple enough that you can start today.

Test for Cheap

Find the least expensive way to pursue your adventure and start. Is it learning German? Find a free app and start learning the language. If your dream is shooting photography, then just start using your smartphone to take pictures of the world around you. You will quickly determine if this is something that you want to pursue further.

The cheap way I tested if I wanted to go to China was to apply for the program online. It took 5 minutes and cost $0. I wasn’t committed.

Take the Smallest Steps

If you end up liking it, then take the next tiniest step. These next steps will present themselves to you while you are testing the waters for free. Some examples of next steps are: joining a club that speaks only German or sharing your pictures online via Instagram or Flickr. Beware! Buying a new $1,000 camera is NOT the next SMALLEST step.

The next smallest step for my adventure was talking with the person in charge of the program. Again, it was free and only took a little bit of my time. I got to get my feet wet, and the picture of the possible future got painted for me.

Continue to the Next Step

Don’t look at the distance from where you are to where you want to be. This mistake is the equivalent of looking down while crossing a rickety bridge. If you see the space in between, you WILL be overwhelmed and potentially crippled. Instead just look at the small distance in front of you that you need to close with the next step.

The process of getting a Visa for China is a laundry list of tasks, none of them particularly small. I accomplished the hoop jumping by spending one day on each small item. When they wanted all of my travel and lodging booked by the time I applied I simply spent one day arranging each phase. A day for flights, a day for trains, and a day for hotels. Sure it wasn’t the quickest process, but it was how I managed the overwhelming task of planning a two month trip to this completely foreign (to me) country.

Drip Drip Drip is the sound of success

Seth Godin wrote this fantastic article about achieving success. If, more like when, you ever get too scared of the next step break it down into something smaller. If the task is as small as you can make it and you’re still afraid of the undertaking, then you’re at a chasm.

two cliffs creating chasm
I wanted a picture with a bunch of people on one side and you on the other, but I couldn’t find one. So just imagine that there are a bunch of unawesome people on the left and you (an awesome person) on the right.

When the next step scares you then JUMP!

Eventually, there will be a significant gap between where you are and where you want to be next. When you’re there, you’re at the edge of your current ability. The next thing is scary because it is beyond your perceived abilities. Take the leap and do the next step, even if it’s paralyzing.

Jumping across this chasm will scare the hell out of you. It will also put you where other’s aren’t willing to go! Yes, you might not make the distance, you might fail and fall to the bottom. If so, great! Work to understand where you failed, improve, and try again. The people still standing at the edge will never know their weaknesses. Luckily, you now know yours.

Most think my chasm was getting on the plane, but by then it was already too late. I had committed to the journey due to actions I had taken ahead of time. My actual chasm was committing to the program’s leader and telling my friends and family that I was going. I kept it a secret from certain family members because I was afraid of how they would react.

Applying for the visa was another chasm, but since I had taken small steps to achieve it, the only leap was finding out if the Chinese government would approve it. This approval was out of my control, so it was less nerve wracking.

Enjoy the Process

If you do something daily towards your goal, you will reach it. Obviously the more you do, the faster you will get there, but it isn’t a race to get there first. Enjoy the process of reaching your adventure. Savor it because it will be gone. Luckily, there will be new challenges as you pursue your adventure.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. If you get 80% of the way there, you are killing it. I didn’t know everything about China before my departure, but I learned what was needed. I figured out things I didn’t know, like how to travel to my hostel from the airport, while I was there and it added to the adventure.

Final Thoughts

If you’re doing something, then you’re already a doer. Best of all, the process of doing is part of the adventure. Remember to enjoy the process, because the system will lead to the results. Small steps will get you the biggest results.

Let me know in the comments: What’s the next smallest step you can take towards your adventure? What points are hindering you? Can you break these into smaller steps? If you can’t break it down, then LEAP! If you need someone to help, contact me. But be careful, I will push you!

Photo Credit: Mark FreethDonkeyHotey & larsjuh

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