As I wrote in What I Learned From Being Downsized, I started studying stress management when my husband and I were both threatened with downsizing years ago. It was scary, but also one of the happiest times of my life because we stayed positive, kept our sense of humor, and treated the experience as a shared adventure.
Life is a daring adventure or nothing.
Life doesn’t always go smoothly, and it’s a lot more fun when we think of it as an adventure rather than complaining because things aren’t going our way.
So what makes life an adventure? I would say three things:
- Attitude/Drive, and
- Skill Development.
Millions of children die each year because of malnutrition and lack of health care. Even Helen Keller, born blind and deaf, had loving parents who nurtured her and gave her a good education. As Warren Buffett points out, he could never have achieved his success if he had been born in poverty in Bangladesh. For him the number 1 lesson in life is to be grateful…don’t take credit for the things that have been given to us, just use those gifts wisely. Keep aware of the resources available to us.
I’m not religious, but when life gets bumpy for me I resort to my favorite prayer:
Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity. I sure hope you know what you’re doing.
It reminds me that I don’t have to like what’s going on. I just have to learn and grow from it. Because we’re not talking about passive acceptance here. We’re talking about being centered, creative and constructive.
And, of course, life sometimes goes too smoothly…we start feeling bored and unfulfilled. Then we need to find some new challenges for ourselves, not for the sake of some future goal, but to feel more alive in the present:
That’s exactly what the white-water rafters are doing in the picture.
The point isn’t to protect ourselves from life, it’s to become stronger to let more life in.
The most stress-hardy, resilient people aren’t the ones completely sheltered from life, they’re the ones who face manageable stresses regularly. Stress management is a learned skill. It’s like walking on a spiral staircase: the more healthy choices we make, the higher up we go…we increase our ability to handle even greater challenges. The more unhealthy choices (i.e., withdrawing from life, blaming other people, overeating, taking drugs, drinking to excess) we make, the further down we go and the weaker we become.
I, for one, am committed to continually honing my skills. It’s a small price to pay for living life as an adventure.
What’s This About a “Shared” Adventure?
I don’t know about you, but life for me would be pointless if I couldn’t share it with other people. That doesn’t mean being with them all the time…I spend most of my time working/playing alone. But in the back of my mind I’m always thinking of ways to share what I do with others. As I’ve written many times before, my basic philosophy is :
Stay curious and open to life. No matter what happens, keep learning and growing. Find what you love to do and find a way to share it with others.
Which is just another way of saying
Live life as a shared adventure.
So, that’s what my life is about. How would you describe yours? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
Thanks to Bengt, bikehikebabe, Robert Henru and Shamelle for commenting on last week’s post.
Related post:This Mystery Called Life