30 Life-Changing Lessons Adventure Has Taught Me.
After dedicating my life to adventure, I have learned some valuable and hard lessons along the way. Here are my top 30:
1. When you are done with an experience, compost it, don’t throw it out. Everything you experience can be used to grow something fruitful in the future if you put it in the right bin. If you go through something shitty, there are valuable lessons to be learned. Don’t toss out the experience by blocking out the memory, compost that poo in order to grow something better in the future.
2. Obstacles aren’t roadblocks, they’re road signs. Usually what you are avoiding or what is holding you back is exactly what you need to do. Follow and punch through obstacles to get to your destination, they are leading the way.
3. Adventure is the greatest path to knowledge and happiness. You can get all the knowledge you want from books, but there is no better way to learn than by doing. Has someone ever given you advice about love? Odds are, you didn’t listen. You had to go through that experience yourself to truly learn the lesson. By adventuring, you are setting yourself on a course to learn new things. It is in this space where happiness likes to hide.
4. If you want better things to come into your life, you need to make space, or else there won’t be anywhere for them to go. Much of life is like your luggage: if your luggage is full and you want to put stuff in, you need to take things out first. I’ve learned (the hard way) that what I want in life won’t come to fruition if I don’t give it the space to grow. This means cutting out the things I no longer need, and then being patient with this new space for the other things to come in.
5. Fear is a superpower encrypted by biological predispositions. Crack the code to understanding fear, and it can become your greatest ally. We are hardwired with fear to protect ourselves from danger, despite a world that is safer than it has ever has been in history. Instead of irrational fears keeping you from doing things in life, use it as motivation to tackle larger obstacles. Fear has the power to help you achieve what you never thought possible.
6. Concern yourself with curiosity, not careers. I’ve landed the job of my dreams over and over again. Each time, I thought it would provide me with sustained happiness and I’d be more or less set with my career. Guess what? It never happened. I’ve learned not to try and get a certain job, but follow my curiosity. By following this path, happiness is more easily sustained.
7. Life (good or bad) isn’t happening to you, it’s happening for you. This has been one of the greatest lessons of my life, and I’m not sure I could have truly understood it unless I’d thrown myself to the wolves of adventure. If something shitty is happening to me, I can remind myself of the fact that the odds of me being here (just taking into account the last 250 years), are 1 in 6000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000! (Sorry, I’m not going to even think about bothering with the commas for that number). The fact that I was gifted the opportunity to experience life is enough. It doesn’t matter whether my mood lands on the spectrum of good or bad, because it is part of the whole package.
8. Nobody has any clue how we got here or where we’re going. I used to believe there were people alive who had the answers to life’s biggest questions. I’ve realized that is impossible. Anyone who claims they know where we came from, or what happens when we die, is full of it. We all awoke on the same planet, and have been guessing ever since.
9. Spend money on experiences, not things. A life of adventure isn’t always cheap, but by cutting out on unnecessary purchases, I have a lot more to invest in experiences. Name-brand clothes and accessories will come and go. Taking that trip to Machu Picchu will last forever.
10. No matter where you go on Earth, people are the same. It is incredible to travel around the world and meet people who remind you of your friends back home. More than anything else though, it is a reminder that no matter how different a culture may seem, the people within it are just like you and me.
11. The grass is never greener on the other side. However, you have the power to consciously add filters to your life and make the green where you are standing really pop! Instead of thinking your life will be better if only X or Y would happen, try looking through a filter of gratitude at your life, and watch the brightness increase.
12. Seek to be proven wrong, not right. By trying to find flaws in your opinions or perspectives on life, you will constantly be reworking your model of the world. Open-mindedness is one of the greatest human superpowers, so don’t go and waste it because your ego wants to be right. Besides, you will be correct far more often than those trying to justify their personal opinion.
13. The richer the experience, the more you will remember. By living a life full of wealthy experiences, you will remember more. Plus, you will feel as though you are living a long life. Since your interpretation of time is highly dependent on your memories, injecting yourself into novel environments and experiencing new things, you will be extending your life.
14. Critiquing art is subjective, creating it is experiential. For optimal results, live in the difference. It is easy to sit back and critique how others are living their lives, or whether what they are creating is good or not. Your perspective is solely subjective, and one could say, “It doesn’t really matter what you think.” Others will have different subjective opinions, so don’t waste your time always giving yours. Instead, create for your own sake. Whether it is subjectively valued as good or bad, the value of creating it will be greater than forming opinions about others.
15. The sky is not the limit. You may have heard, “Go do anything you want! The sky is the limit!” It’s bullshit. There is a whole fucking universe out there. The blue of our sky is a consequence of color blinding you. Do not be persuaded that the sky is the limit, it is an illusion. Go through it.
16. When you achieve your dreams, you will inevitably say to yourself, “Now what?” You won’t reach a peak moment in your life and feel as though you made it. You are human, which means you are highly adaptable to any situation, including happiness and success. Therefore, in the quest for happiness, don’t forget to stop every once in a while and be happy. It really is about the journey.
17. Questioning answers is more significant than answering them. Question everything then seek the answers. Then question those answers. Repeat.
18. If you can control your dreams, you can control time. We spend a third of our lives sleeping where the passage of time moves far slower than in our waking state. If you can become lucid while you sleep, you can interface with an entirely different reality that you dictate. Learn how to consciously control your dreams, and you can live a second life.
19. Everything doesn’t happen for a reason but there are reasons for everything. With everything you go through, you have the choice to make use of it or not. Transform hardship into the reason you won’t do something again. You won’t make the same mistakes twice if you can uncover the reason for the mistake in the first place.
20. How you eat determines how you think. Science is beginning to show us that we don’t only think with our brains, but with our gut as well. There are more than 100 million neurons in your gut, more than in your spinal cord and your peripheral nervous system. Think about what you are eating to think optimally.
21. Changing the shoes for your feet may be the best way to comfort your soul. If you feel like your life doesn’t have purpose or meaning, alter your relationship with it. This may mean changing your career and going through challenges. If you aren’t changing your shoes on this adventure, the soles may wear out very quickly.
22. Freedom exists as long as one is never imprisoned by its recognition. It’s like trying to talk while chewing food instead of savoring the taste. Lose yourself amongst freedom, don’t attempt to define it. You will miss out on the best flavors.
23. To examine thoroughly, thoroughly examine your instruments of examination. A fish doesn’t know how big its tank is relative to the size of the world. In order to properly measure it, the fish would have to be outside of the tank. We are inside of existence. To truly and properly measure it, we’d have to be outside of it. Therefore, be skeptical when people say they have the answers. The truth is, they still don’t know how to measure our universe since we are stuck inside of it…
… which leads us to…
24. Since the mind cannot comprehend the size of our universe, there is no way to understand something that created it. If there is a Source that created all things, comprehending it is exceptionally impossible. The mind cannot fathom even the size of this place, let alone understanding the Designer of it.
25. Suffering is solely a product of expectation. Suffering is a result of thinking something is going to be one way, which then turns out to be another. By never expecting things to go a certain way, you will lessen the frequency of suffering. Expect nothing, so you can be prepared for anything.
26. To achieve optimal output, receive appropriate input. The environment you surround yourself with is influencing who you are as a person. By consciously designing it, you can optimize your surroundings so that consequential influence reflects what you desire.
27. If you want to alter your mood, disrupt your consciousness. How you are feeling is largely determined by the brain pattern you are currently experiencing. The quickest route to changing your mood is disrupting this pattern. Exercise and deep breathing are two of the fastest methods. Engage in 20 minutes of intense interval training and then sit down, close your eyes and consciously set a new pattern.
28. True wisdom is accepting that you know very little. We are just starting to uncover how our bodies work. Science is still considered new in the grand scheme of humanity. The truth is, if you were to have all of humanity’s available knowledge memorized, you still wouldn’t know much about the world because we still know that little. Wisdom is knowing and accepting this difficult fact.
29. Our biological software isn’t equipped for the modern world. Our biology has been evolving for hundreds of thousands of years in a world that is very different from today. The software we are running is a version incompatible with modern technology. Keeping this in mind while interfacing with today’s world can help us avoid so many ruts of unhappiness or illness. Don’t neglect what your biology is craving. Even if the modern world doesn’t support it, seek it out for yourself.
30. You are your best teacher. When you are able to truly understand your Self, you will know better than anyone else in the world what you need. Sure, education is vital and there is so much to learn from others, but experiential knowledge trumps all other wisdom.
Meditate. Master your Self. Here is where you will find answers to questions you didn’t know you had.
Miles Demars-Rote is an adventuring travel blogger with Under30Experiences and the founder of Wellness Gangsters. He is passionate about optimal living, doing Yoga, and helping people become their best selves.