How To Make Your Life An Adventure

Adventurer on a Rock

So, you want to take your life from a 3.1 to a 10 on the adventure scale? I don’t blame you. Nobody wants a bland life. Let’s rip the roof off of your story (to let the snow and falcons in).

No path in life is safe, including boring ones; you might as well pick an adventurous path. Here we go! Throw some curry in the pot! Light the fireworks! Sound the foghorn! We’re going on an adventure…

Step One: Imagine

The first step of an adventure involves no physical action. You need ideas, and those require the spark of imagination.

Wow, what if I did THAT?”

While most of us were working our tails off, someone using their imagination said, “dude, what if blankets had sleeves?” and became a millionaire with Snuggies.

For you, it could be a business idea. It could be a home project – building a boat, starting a real life Hunger Games (non-lethal or you’re in big trouble), an adventure-themed book club, making your basement a night club. It could be an urge to move somewhere random or specifically in the world. Or perhaps the thought of quitting your job and taking a sabbatical electrifies you.

It could be anything because now you’re using your imagination.

Imagination Doorway

Imagination is the doorway to adventure.

You might not carry out these crazy ideas, but you should entertain each and every one that appeals to you. Don’t hold back – let your imagination run wild. You’re not committing to anything – you’re just browsing Possibility Magazine and enjoying the pictures. Imagine creating a magazine called Possibility Magazine.

One reason we stop ourselves short on imagination is a rampant disease known as “being realistic.” Here’s what I know about being realistic…

  • The moment a blind man scaled Mount Everest, being realistic died.
  • The moment people started running more than 100 miles non-stop, being realistic died.
  • The moment you realize that people just like you have done the things you once considered out of reach, being realistic will die for you.

Continue to imagine life-shaking ideas. Learn to sail. Learn to dance. Get lost in the woods on purpose like Bear Grylls (careful now!). Start a band. Maybe they’re ideas you’ve frequently had. Pay attention to these – they’re hanging around in your head because deep down you want them. Or you’ll have new ideas sparking now. Have fun and let your mind go on an adventure.

Step Two: Draw An X On Your Treasure Map

You should be proud of me, because that adventurous phrase up there has a plain name that sounds boring. Goals. *half of readers leave* Hey, come back! Ah, shoot. Well, the rest of you are still here, so I’ll continue.

Any good adventurer has at least a semblance of what he wants out of his journey – even if it is just a belly full of rum and salty skin. But most don’t stop at that. Pirates want the booty, and by that I mean treasure, not the modern usage of the word. Ok, they probably want the that one too, but I want to keep my blog PG-13.

dollar general pirate

Oh no! It’s the legendary Dollar General Pirate and his ceramic parrot, Edgar!

The difference is in this case, you’re the one drawing the X on the map instead of a legendary pirate 300 years ago. If you want to imagine that a legendary pirate drew your X, I heartily encourage that and give it two hooks up. You’re using your imagination!

This X is going to be one or two of the treasured ideas from your imagination escapade in step one. Don’t worry if it seems difficult to reach or if you’re uncertain about it – because that’s even better! What adventurer has ever gotten a treasure easily?

And now I’m going to halt this program for a brief intermission. Maybe you’re thinking, “yeah, he’s using all this jazzy adventure language and analogies, but the underlying point is the same boring idea of setting a goal and getting it.” To that, I say “Arrrgh!” and “Incorrect!”

Life becomes adventurous the moment you add uncertainty to it. An adventure according to Google’s dictionary is to:

Engage in hazardous and exciting activity, esp. the exploration of unknown territory: “they had adventured into the forest.”

Danger and excitement are aspects of adventure, but it says especially the exploration of unknown territory. Exploring unknown territory is THE determining factor of adventure. So if you tell me your life is boring and you want adventure, you’re simply playing it too safe and close to home. You need to see a new place, or try something new in your current place. Your imagination is how you’ll find these adventurous ideas.

Now, back to your X.

You’ve decided now, right? You have one or more Xs on your map. Good. The next step is to draw your path. Look at your map now. You should see a “you are here” dot. It’s red. No, that’s a sprinkle. Get the cupcake off the map please. Yes, there it is. Ok, now from this dot, calculate exactly what steps are going to bring you from your red dot all the way to your treasure.

Underwater Treasure Map

Thank you for moving the cupcake. I’m not sure why you chose your big goal to be underwater, but I trust you’re a strong swimmer. PS. My art guy is really talented, isn’t he?

The steps should be as specific as possible, but towards the later stages it might be fuzzier and could change as you move along. That’s ok, just do the best you can, because the most important step you’ll calculate is that first tiny one in front of your red dot. That one is known as the big tiny one.

Step Three: One Small Step, One Brand New Adventure!

Unbelievable. You started out with such a boring life, and now you are holding a treasure map and eating a cupcake? That is a miraculous transformation. I would say your adventure is underway, but it isn’t official yet. You are certainly primed for excitement, but it’s just the same as it was in The Hobbit movie. Bilbo wasn’t on his adventure until he dashed through his gate and said, “I’m going on an adventure!”

You must now do the same, and preferably make it as charming and exciting as Bilbo did. If you want, you can just say it in your computer chair in a monotone voice (not recommended), but it’s better to stand up and pump your fist while you say it.

Alas, saying it is less important than doing it. Taking that first step outside of your safe zone (The Shire) will immediately make it clear – this is adventurous, and frightening. It’s true, the unknown can be a dangerous and scary place, but it’s a very exciting, adventurous place! In The Hobbit, Bilbo had a tussle with trolls almost immediately. He could have been at home eating cheese instead!

But like any story worth telling (or living *ahem*), risk, danger, and uncertainty abound. And we have it easy. A significant majority of our adventures will not be lethally dangerous, but if Mr. Baggins had messed up with those trolls, J.R.R. Tolkien’s book would have been a short tragedy and the Lord Of The Rings would have never happened. Whew.

Now you have a choice. You can keep doing the same things that got you bored and yearning for more. Or you can fire up your imagination, mark your treasure map, plot the course, step outside your front door…

and go on an adventure!

tick…tock…tick…tock…no pressure…tick…tock…Ok, maybe a little…tick…tock…tick…………

Treasure chest


About the Author

I'm lazy, but you can call me Stephen. When you're as lazy as I am, you need superior strategies to live well. My strategies are so effective that I'm productive every single day. As the world tries to figure out how to always stay motivated, I create strategies that don't require it.

Slavko Desik

Great post Stephen
I especially love the part when you describe how realism dies. And this is not confined only to the individual. Considering what is realistic, that is. Before Roger Banister ran the 4 minute mile, the whole world was convinced that it is theoretically impossible. When he did it realism was, as you said, dead. But that’s the thing we are cursed with. As soon as one barrier goes away, we decide to create another one in terms of what is possible and what is not. I guess it all comes down to practicing with breaking those barriers till it becomes a second nature not to believe in them.

As for being adventurous by going one step at a time, it really makes sense. It is the gradual change that makes us the person that we want to become. Anything other than that is not going to last. Going slowly makes things permanent.

Have a great day my friend

Stephen Guise

So true. We’ll always have some sort of mental barrier to challenge. It’s important that we do challenge it, or else we’ll never know for sure if it is a legitimate barrier. Though it isn’t about breaking barriers just to break them, it’s about breaking those that prevent you from living the way you want to.

Lately, small steps have been a revelation to me. I feel like I can do anything if I break into small enough steps. Thanks for your thoughts, Slavko!

susan wilson

Small steps are just the idea I needed to move a few things along. I want to share more adventures with my husband now that he is retired. Good time to mark some Xs on the map and plan a few for 2013. Thanks for your humor and motivation.

Stephen Guise

Small steps are amazing, Susan. They’re going to be my life theme this year. I’m excited for you and your husband! It’ll be satisfying when you’re out adventuring together and you think back to the moment you made the small decision to take the first small step to make it happen.

I went to Kauai this past August and while looking at the island in a helicopter(the most beautiful sight I’ve seen!), I thought, “wow, it’s possible that I would have been mindlessly browsing Facebook, but instead I decided to go on an adventure with my friends.” That was a really cool moment for me. Happy adventuring Susan.

Dan Erickson

I love this post. Imagination is where it all starts and your second and third steps are right on. The only thing that can get in the way sometimes is “life,” the job, money, family, etc. But I’m still a believer that we can do whatever we choose to do.

Stephen Guise

Haha, so true that “life” can be a big interference. But I agree with you. Despite the unavoidable bumps and responsibilities, we can still get what we want with persistence. Those who don’t go after what they want, use the “stuff” everyone deals with as an excuse. For me, it was a huge step when I took 100% responsibility for my life and circumstances. Since I’ve done that, I’ve progressed (in many ways) at a much faster rate.

Thanks for your thoughts Dan. Keep the imagination alive!


Great post Stephen
thank you for sharing these great information

Stephen Guise

My pleasure, Rachid.


If we would stop calculating and over-thinking every single thing, every day of our lives would become a sort of adventure. Just need to understand what the adventure actually is.

Great post, nice points made there!

Stephen Guise

Dean, if I understood correctly, I agree with half of what you said. Over-thinking (i.e. overwhelming the mind) definitely works against us. But I strongly favor calculation over “winging it.” Spontaneity is a key aspect of adventure, but that happens naturally when you take a calculated step into uncharted waters. Making a calculated decision to go into the unknown starts the adventure.

But if you don’t calculate your path, you might end up on an adventure you never wanted to be on! 🙂

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