If your life was a movie, what genre would it be – comedy, tragedy, mystery? Something else?
I choose “Adventure.” Everyday the plot unfolds to reveal unexpected twists, new challenges, and fascinating characters. My adventuring companion, my wife Sheilia, shares the spirit and belief that our life together is the stuff of adventure. In fact, we even had the theme to Indiana Jones played as the exit music for our wedding! And the fifteen years since that day have delivered a story to rival any Hollywood fabrication.
How do you view your challenges and life’s unforeseen events – as hurdles? Struggles? Just the next crisis? How about … adventures?
Adventure: An unusual, exciting, daring, bold enterprise, calling for resourcefulness and enthusiasm.
That sounds like “life” to me. And when you embrace this mind set, life’s unpredictable nature becomes a daring bold enterprise. It’s an adventure story, starring YOU! The challenges you face will call for resourcefulness and enthusiasm, and the next steps are uncertain. We don’t know how it’s all going to turn out. What suspense! But a glance back at our past experiences and the previous “episodes” assures us that it will turn out just fine. It usually does. That’s the way it is with adventures.
Now the media would have you believe differently. News reporters, talk radio hosts, journalists, and politicians are not in for adventures. They prefer tragedies and horror stories. Everything is an insurmountable crisis. It’s easy to buy into that negativity and share the pessimistic outlook that the world has gone to hell.
Just look at the news – yesterday the stock market took a historic nose dive more than 776 points. Here in the Southeast US, gas shortages are causing a panic at the pump, sold out stations, and long lines where gas is available. A hurricane just hit Canada. And to top it all off, Janet Jackson is in the hospital!
Unbelievable, insurmountable situations? Nope. Adventures – every one of them. Cue the theme music: “Dum ta dum da … dum ta da.”
Seriously, we will get through these situations. And with the spirit of adventure in our hearts and minds, we can embrace the notion that we are part of the story – heroes and heroines – and our actions, ideas, and attitudes can contribute to the resolution of these difficulties. For the true adventure, hopeless causes become meaningful missions.
The Adventurers Club
I recently had a rare opportunity to attend an evening program at the Los Angeles Adventurers Club with my dear friend (and renowned club member) John Goddard. You probably have heard of John, perhaps at one of my seminars or in one of numerous publications about his extraordinary life of adventure and accomplishment.
John Goddard made a list of goals when he was fifteen years old, and he embarked on a lifelong journey of learning and discovery that continues to this day. Some of his highlights: Explore the Nile River from beginning to end in a kayak. Land a fighter jet on an aircraft carrier. Climb some of the world’s highest mountains. Learn languages, musical instruments, and techniques for milking poisonous snakes. Travel the world and study tribes, civilizations, and places of historical wonder. In all those instances, and many more, John was able to check the items off his list. Been there. Done that.
The Adventurers Club, founded in 1921, is where people like John go to enjoy fellowship with kindred spirits and ongoing education. Members include internationally recognized authors, scientists, explorers, world record holders, and war heroes. The club meets every Thursday night for dinner and a speaker. The speakers are as varied as the members themselves. On the night I attended, our program was presented by Julian Nott, who holds 79 records in ballooning and is currently designing a balloon to launch from and explore Saturn’s moon, Titan.
From the moment I entered the Club and came face to face with the “greeter” (an enormous polar bear on loan from one of the members), I was surrounded by inspiring stories. The walls are covered with photos, parachutes, snowshoes, weapons, and memorabilia from the exploits and triumphs of the members, including John’s kayak, (pictured with us), which carried him more than four thousand miles down the full length of the world’s longest river. I saw amazing relics, including (I swear) a mastodon AND a shrunken head.
Hanging along one wall are Adventurers Club flags, which were carried by members to places including the summits of Mount Ararat and The Matterhorn, the Amazon jungles, Antarctica, and the entire length of the Mackenzie River in the Arctic. John’s flag is there from his Nile and Congo voyages (it’s the dirtiest of the lot), as are flags representing travels to the “Lost World” in Venezuela, the Australian outback, and many other places.
Each flag, every item on display, and indeed every person I met conveys a message for all of us: Engage life. Travel off the beaten path. Trust in your resourcefulness and explore!
Life is an adventure. We can learn from the explorers who have blazed an inspiring trail and put their lessons…
Lean forward. Seize the Adventure. Cue the music!
Your adventure partner,