1st Station – Exploring Language
Find yourself a quiet space in which to work. You will need a dictionary, other reference sources such as a thesaurus and/ or encyclopedia (hard copy or online) a pen and paper, access to the Discovering a Spirit of Adventure resource sheet either in hard copy or online, and a copy of the My kind of Adventure worksheet.
When you hear the word ‘Adventure’, what springs to mind? What vision does your imagination conjure up?
Where are you and what are you doing? Are you long way from home? In unfamiliar surroundings? Are you challenging yourself to do something new? How do you feel? If you had to put the experience into words how would you describe it?
When we talk about adventure, for most people this brings to mind an outdoor experience – an expedition – a physical challenge. But is this always every person’s definition of adventure? Watch this short film about how children get to school around the world:
Applying a standard definition of adventure, would the activities shown in the film be considered to be extraordinary adventure experiences? Have you tried any of them as part of your own adventures? Do you think that the students featured in the film would see it the same way? Why do you think this is?
An important factor in shaping our view of what constitutes adventure is how unfamiliar or new an experience is. An activity that might seem like an insurmountable challenge the first time we tackle it, becomes less daunting when we do it more than once and ceases to be so challenging when we practice it daily. In this way, one person’s extraordinary adventure might be part of everyday life for another.
Whilst some of us find our greatest adventures in the wilderness, for others this is a comfortable place to be. Some find it easy to speak or perform in front of a large audience, either through natural confidence or the sort that comes with practice, whilst for others this would be a major adventure. If you work hard to stay fit or consider yourself to be a sporty person, a physical challenge might not be unfamiliar territory for you, but for someone that doesn’t it can be a step into the unknown.
Put simply: Adventure is a personal journey, and, as with any journey, you first need to understand your starting point.
Let’s begin our journey with some definitions:
Take a look at the list of words below and give each a short definition or create a word cloud around it to capture what you understand it to mean.
- Comfort Zone
Now look up a formal definition of each of the words using a dictionary and/or other online sources and compare them to your own definitions. You might want to check out the opposite. Did you agree with the dictionary? If not, consider: which definition is more important to you? Is it the dictionary’s or your own?
How many of these words that are often associated with adventure have negative meanings? Fear, failure, obstacles, adversity, risk… even challenge… and perhaps sometimes even ambition or achievement?
Now search online for quotes using some of these words as the search term and consider the mood of the quotes. Taking words that by definition have negative associations, were the quotes also negative?
Did you find the quote from performance coach, Tony Robbins, who said: “There is no such thing as failure there are only results“? Did Walt Disney pop up in your search saying “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me…”? What about T S Eliot’s “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go”? Or the writer C Joybell telling us “Don’t be afraid of your fears. They are not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”?
What do most of the quotes you found have in common? How do they turn the negative into a positive? What can we learn from this? Can we do the same for ourselves? Who in your life helps you to see challenge as opportunity? How can we do the same for others?
If you are working in an online group discuss your findings with your classmates.
Now refer back to your definitions or word clouds and add to, or amend, them based on your findings. If you wrote your definitions as negatives see if you can write a defining statement that makes them positive.
When we seek out and embrace challenges in which we face our fears, overcome obstacles, take risks, cope with adversity, accept failure and go beyond our comfort zone, Round Square describes this as having a Spirit of Adventure. We also consider that along the way to developing a Spirit of Adventure we make 12 Discoveries about our capabilities and virtues and learn to apply these to the challenges ahead and in everyday life.
Locate your Discovering a Spirit of Adventure resource sheet, place yourself in the role of a Round Square Explorer and read through the definitions of the 12 RS Discoveries in the context of Adventure.
Circle any words or terms that you want to look up and use your dictionary or online sources to do this.
Now ask yourself these questions:
- Do these Discoveries together make up a complete definition of what it means to have a Spirit of Adventure?
- Which of these do you consider to be the most important? Which are the least? Why?
- If you could add a Discovery to the Spirit of Adventure list what would it be and how would you define it?
My Kind of Adventure
Now look at the “My kind of Adventure…” worksheet. Read the descriptions carefully and circle or tick just THREE that would be your idea of a perfect adventure – an experience that you would certainly enjoy and a challenge that you know you could complete (there are no right or wrong answers in this activity!)
Now look again at the sheet from a different perspective: Circle the five things that would challenge you the most – the things that would take you beyond your comfort zone. Is there any cross-over between your two lists? What might this tell you about where your “comfort zone” is and where it isn’t?
Ask other people in your house or friends online what they would choose and why. Consider their responses and compare them to your own. Is their starting point different to yours?
This simple exercise aims to demonstrate the difference between the adventure pursuits that we would choose to do because we enjoy them or have a passion for them, as opposed to those adventures that might help us to grow and develop through challenging us in ways that we might not necessarily choose. Both can be exciting, positive, enriching and life-affirming experiences, just sometimes for different reasons – It all depends on what motivates you.
As we will find out in the stations that follow, the trick is to try to have a balance of both – to seek challenge that extends your comfort zone – to follow your passions to unfamiliar and challenging places – to try something new but also test your limits in the things that you know you enjoy – to understand your motivation.
Now write two short paragraphs, one starting “My perfect kind of adventure involves . . .” and the other starting “I would be most challenged by… “
You can add to, or amend, this before you arrive at the final challenge – this is just a starting point.