Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Happiness And The Adventure Life

Happiness is what this is all about. It is why we do the things we do. It’s that feeling that we seek in so many ways, shapes, and forms. It’s the basis behind all of the decisions we make, some good, some great, and some pretty bad. Whatever it is, we are wired for it.

Here’s a recap from an earlier post, Intro To Happiness:
  • Happiness is something that all humans seek, in some form or another. It is what keeps us going.
  • Happiness can be experienced from applying a learned skill in a challenging situation. This could include overcoming a fear (which is usually a challenging situation).
  • Just like the opposite of love is not hate, the opposite of Happiness is not unhappiness, it’s boredom.
  • If the opposite of happiness is boredom, then we can deduce for the sake of argument, and the entire reason that The Adventure Life Project exists, that happiness equals excitement.



So, if happiness is something that we all seek, and happiness is excitement, then we can agree that we must seek excitement. And that leaves us with one question...



What Would Excite Me?
This may be the most important question we have to ask ourselves. But, instead of asking ourselves this all important question, we substitute some other question like:
  • What do I want from life?
  • Or, what do I want to be? Who do I want to be might be a better version.
  • What do I want to do? Usually referring to a career decision.
  • What are my goals?

All of these questions skirt around the most important question - what would excite me? For when we can answer that question, we can start making plans to do more of those things. But this is not an easy question to answer, for we were not programmed to ask that question or seek the answer, we have been programmed to just accept what others tell us will make us happy.


The Substitute For Excitement
Unfortunately, we seem more than willing to seek happiness from the things that seem the most familiar, a good job, a nice dinner, a sweet massive flat screen t.v., or a sleek new car. And even more unfortunately, we do get excitement from these things, hence the happy feeling. But this feeling is short-lived, sometimes very short-lived, and we soon forget all about the experience. The only thing I remember about buying my first plasma t.v. was how I was going to fit it in my car. But I assure you that I must have been excited at the time.


So What’s The Difference?
So, if excitement/happiness is just a fleeting experience, and that experience can be achieved by just buying some stuff, then why go to all the hassle of getting outdoors, and getting dirty, and sweaty, and stinky, and scrapey, and bleedy, and all that other stuff? Why not just go grab an ice cream and avoid the long drive out into nature?


Because. I said so.


But also because when you get outdoors, and you get dirty, and sweaty, and stinky, and scrapey, and bleedy, and all that other stuff, you will usually accomplish something. That something might be as grand as doing something that you never thought you could ever do, or it might be something that pushed your limits quite a bit, or it might just be the feeling of - “Hey, I didn’t sit on the couch all day!” Furthermore, you may have grown from it, and that will affect you. It will affect you in all aspects of your life, much of the time without you even realizing it.


Ultimately, us humans were built to move. We evolved to do things like hunt and gather, and to do those things as a group. We did not evolve to sit in the cages that we have built for ourselves.


“Cages?”
“Don’t interrupt him, he’s on a roll.”


Ultimately, ultimately, we were built to play. And we abandoned that idea way too long ago and at way too young of an age.


So, What Would Excite You?
If you think it might involve the outdoors, and it might involve riding on something, or running over or through something, or climbing up, or down, or into, or out of something, or jumping off of, onto, or over something, or swimming through something, or under something, or maybe exploring something, or maybe just doing some things that you think are questionable. If it might be any of these things, then I hope you will stick around and maybe even join me on this journey, because these are the things that I am convinced and have been convinced, will bring me excitement. And that is what makes us happy.


So don’t worry, be happy. By finding out what would excite you, then doing it!


Take care and I will see you out there!
Jim