I got an assignment from my coach this week.
Approach a stranger at crowded coffee shop, ask to sit with them and (if they say yes) start up a conversation.
To any staunch introvert this would be a long stretch, perhaps terrifying, for me (a social introvert) it’s still going to be bit a challenge. Thinking about it now, I am fine, but I am fairly certain that when the time actually comes, I will be quite nervous.
But I have committed to doing this and I will do it and I choose to see it as an adventure.
And all of your extraverts out there (the majority of the population) say – really? That’s an adventure for you? That’s nothing!
One of my favourite movies is “Hook”, the retelling of Peter Pan with Robin Williams as an adult Pan. At the end of that movie there is a great quote (and I may not remember it word for word) which went something like: “To live, that would be the greatest adventure of all.”
Here’s the thing. Most of us look at those people who climb the highest mountains, or brave the worst rapids, or travel to the extreme edges of the world as ‘adventurers’. Yes, these people are adventurers, true enough, but when we start making a stark black and white distinction like this, we discount anything and everything we may do as adventurous.
I say, why not look at all of life, everything we do as an adventure!
Sure, some things are more adventurous than others. Jumping out of a plane, by most people, would be considered more adventurous than say managing to get up and go to work on a Monday.
But I want to turn that notion on its head.
There are lots of us who got up the courage to strap on a parachute and jump out of plane and it is an exhilarating, nerve-wracking rush. To me that is the ‘easy’ adventure. The ‘hard’ adventure is the person who gets up every day and goes to that job they know is far from their dream job, but they do it to make ends meet and support their family. This is soul-draining, life-sucking stuff and we do it every day. Surviving that is one hell of an adventure.
As a writer, let me make this a bit more ‘metaphorical’ for you. A hero who jumps off of a cliff knowing his has the ability to slow his descent so he hits the ground below lightly – well big deal. Sure it’s exciting, but he wasn’t in any real danger. But let’s compare that to another type of hero, who walks into the lair of a deadly vampiric life-sucking monster, putting himself in its grip for days, weeks, months, years at a time, knowing that he is saving the lives of his family by doing so! That is sacrifice, that is deep and meaningful adventure.
Sure we all want our dream jobs, and we can get them too, if we work at it long enough, hard enough. But as I said in my recent post The Truth About Following Your Heart it may take some time to get that dream job, and you may have to work some life-sucking part time job to get there, but perhaps now you can see that it doesn’t mean you’re a sap or a looser.
It means you are one of the staunchest, bravest adventurers of all.
So yeah, I’ll talk to a stranger, and it may be difficult for me, but it will be a grand adventure. Because it is doing the difficult things, whatever they may be, that brings out the true adventurer in all of us.