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How to Live Mini-Adventures on a Small Budget

How to Live Mini-Adventures on a Small Budget
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    Believe it or not, having life adventures is not in the exclusive realm of eccentric billionaires and jet-setting entrepreneurs. Life adventures don’t even require a lot of time, so you don’t need to quit your job or cash in sick days. Having adventures is more about attitude and a skill than resources.

    What is an Adventure?

    Adventures don’t have to be African safari’s, base jumping or flying around the world. The best way to have more fun in life is to reframe what you feel an adventure is. My definition would be something enjoyable, unique and a departure from your routine.

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    With a simple definition like that, you can start having mini-adventures. They may not amazing tales you can tell over a campfire later, but they can make life a lot more interesting. Better yet it won’t break your bank (or your neck!) to go on them.

    Adventures are About Randomness

    The core of any adventure is that it is unexpected. Injecting randomness to your daily life is an easy way to start making it more interesting. This means doing things you wouldn’t normally do. Meeting people you would otherwise ignore. Saying yes to unknown opportunities.

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    Here are some tips to get you started in having mini-adventures:

    1. Turn Off Expectations – Your routine is easy to calculate. It is familiar. Adventures are fun precisely because they are impossible to calculate and anything but familiar. If you start trying new things without looking for results you can have more fun.
    2. Force Yourself to Try New Things – You aren’t designed to seek novelty. Fear of the unknown is usually a much stronger drive than curiosity. Suppress those fears and drag yourself to try new things. It won’t be easy, but once you cross the first threshold you may discover something you love.
    3. Sign Up For Organizations – Organizations are an easy way to try something new. They are easy to seek out, offer new experiences and are usually filled with other uncertain people who can reassure you. Toastmasters, cooking classes, dancing, martial arts and workshops can all offer you a quick way to try something new.
    4. Develop an Interest in People – I haven’t seen scientific research on this, but it seems to me that extroverts have more adventures than introverts. My guess would be that extroverts naturally meet more people and develop an interest in them. A side-effect of meeting new people is you get exposed to new opportunities.
    5. Keep a Failure Log – Keep a record of your worst failures and humilations. If you aren’t adding at least one or two a month, you simply aren’t trying hard enough. Lower your expectations to the point where you intend to feel stupid.
    6. To-Try Lists – I’m a fan of lists. To-do lists can keep your tasks organized. Why not keep a to-try list to store fun activities? You can use it to keep track of any interests that pop up but you currently don’t have time to explore.
    7. Make Time – Living life requires time. If you are currently feeling overwhelmed by tasks, having adventures may seem frivolous. I suggest reading The 4-Hour Workweek if you are interested in finding ways to steal more time to have adventures.
    8. Say Yes – There are many reasons to say no. But occasionally you need to say yes. You need to say yes to things that, at first, appear to have little value. Don’t commit your whole life, just offer to try something out.
    9. Unknowledge is More Important – Nassim Nicholas Taleb makes the case in The Black Swan that what we don’t know plays a much bigger role in our lives than what we do. This means we tend to poor at judging events in the future and retroactively explain unusual events. All the more reason to expose yourself to new adventures. Be random, because you probably aren’t good at predicting which will turn out good anyhow.
    10. Courage is Mastery, Not Absence, of Fear – Fear is what keeps you back, not a lack of time or money. It’s fear that you will look like a fool, fail miserably or waste your time. The fear intensifies as you approach a decision. Courage is your ability to decide in spite of worry, not in absence of it.
    11. Plan Ahead – Adventures require work. Although a rare percentage of people can spontaneously have an adventure, they aren’t most of us. You are probably like myself, bound by a routine that needs structure to break out of. You can’t simply leave your job and try something new for a day on a whim. So plan ahead and schedule it in.

    Start a New Challenge Today

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    It doesn’t take a lot of work to make life more fun. But if you keep ignoring the question and push it aside, it will never get answered. There are already too many urgent issues that require your attention. Instead you need to act now.

    • Step One – Pick one new thing you would like to try. This could be an organization, hobby, activity, concert, food, sport or language. It can be huge or it can be small. Just pick one and don’t worry if it is best.
    • Step Two – Find a way to insert this new activity into your next month. For organizations and classes this can be easy. Just find one that meets once a week and commit for thirty days. For other activities, you may need to make your own schedule.
    • Step Three – Follow through. Try it out. The worst that can happen is you’ve found one thing you don’t like. But you may discover something new and exciting to fill your life.

    Go ahead, write your plan here in the comments or the forums and you can share your ideas with other adventurers.

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    More by this author

    Scott H Young

    Scott is obsessed with personal development. For the last ten years, he's been experimenting to find out how to learn and think better.

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    Last Updated on August 12, 2019

    How To Start a Conversation with Anyone

    How To Start a Conversation with Anyone

    The hardest part of socializing, for many people, is how to start a conversation. However, it is a big mistake to go about life not making the first move and waiting for someone else to do it [in conversation or anything].

    This isn’t to say you must always be the first in everything or initiate a conversation with everyone you see. What should be said, though, is once you get good at starting conversations, a lot of other things will progress in the way you want; such as networking and your love life.

    Benefits of Initiating a Conversation

    First thing is you should acknowledge why it is a good thing to be able to initiate conversations with strangers or people who you don’t know well:

    • You’re not a loner with nothing to do.
    • You look more approachable if you are comfortable approaching others.
    • Meeting new people means developing a network of friends or peers which leads to more knowledge and experiences.

    You can only learn so much alone, and I’m sure you’re aware of the benefits of learning from others. Being able to distinguish the ‘good from bad’ amongst a group of people will help in building a suitable network, or making a fun night.

    All people are good in their own way. Being able to have a good time with anybody is a worthy trait and something to discuss another time. However, if you have a specific purpose while in social situations, you may want to stick with people who are suitable.

    This means distinguishing between people who might suit you and your ‘purpose’ from those who probably won’t. This can require some people-judging, which I am generally very opposed to. However, this does make approaching people all the more easier.

    It helps to motivate the conversation if you really want to know this person. Also, you’ll find your circle of friends and peers grows to something you really like and enjoy.

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    The Rules

    I don’t have many rules in this life, for conversation or anything; but when it comes to approaching strangers, there are a few I’d like used.

    1. Be polite. Within context, don’t be a creepy, arrogant loudmouth or anything. Acknowledge that you are in the company of strangers and don’t make anyone feel uncomfortable. First impressions mean something.
    2. Keep it light. Don’t launch into a heartfelt rant or a story of tragedy. We’re out to have fun.
    3. Don’t be a prude. This just means relax. This isn’t a science and conversation isn’t a fine art. Talk to people like you’re already friends.
    4. Be honest. Be yourself. People can tell.

    Who To Talk To?

    I’m of the ilk that likes to talk to everyone and anyone. Everyone has a story and good personalities. Some are harder to get to than others, but if you’re on a people-finding excursion, like I usually am, then everyone is pretty much fair game.

    That said, if you’re out at a function and you want to build a network of people in your niche, you will want to distinguish those people from the others. Find the ‘leaders’ in a group of people or ask around for what you’re looking for.

    In a more general environment, like at a bar, you will want to do the same sort of thing. Acknowledge what you actually want and try to distinguish suitable people. Once you find someone, or a group of people, that you want to meet and talk to, hop to it.

    Think of a few things you might have in common. What did you notice about their dress sense?

    Building Confidence

    The most important part of initiating conversation is, arguably, having confidence. It should be obvious that without any amount of self-esteem you will struggle. Having confidence in yourself and who you are makes this job very easy.

    If you find yourself doubting your worth, or how interesting you are, make a few mental notes of why you are interesting and worth talking to. There is no question you are. You just have to realize that.

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    What do I do? What is interesting about it? What are my strong points and what are my weak ones? Confident people succeed because they play on their strengths.

    Across the Room Rapport

    This is rapport building without talking. It’s as simple as reciprocated eye contact and smiles etc. Acknowledging someone else’s presence before approaching them goes a long way to making introductions easier. You are instantly no longer just a random person.

    In my other article How Not To Suck At Socializing, there are things you can do to make yourself appear approachable. This doesn’t necessarily mean people are going to flock to you. You’ll still probably need to initiate conversations.

    People notice other people who are having a blast. If you’re that person, someone will acknowledge it and will make the ‘across the room rapport’ building a breeze. If you’re that person that is getting along great with their present company, others will want to talk to you. This will make your approach more comfortable for both parties.

    The Approach

    When it comes to being social, the less analytical and formulaic you are the better. Try not to map out your every move and plan too much. Although we are talking about how to initiate conversation, these are really only tips. When it comes to the approach, though, there are some things you should keep in mind.

    Different situations call for different approaches. Formal situations call for something more formal and relaxed ones should be relaxed.

    At a work function, for instance, be a little formal and introduce yourself. People will want to know who you are and what you do right away. This isn’t to say you should only talk about work, but an introduction and handshake is appropriate.

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    If you’re at a bar, then things are very different and you should be much more open to unstructured introductions. Personally, I don’t like the idea of walking directly to someone to talk to them. It’s too direct. I like the sense of randomness that comes with meeting new people.

    However, if there is rapport already established, go for it. If not, take a wander, buy a drink and be aware of where people are. If there is someone you would like to talk to, make yourself available and not sit all night etc.

    When someone is alone and looks bored, do them a favor and approach them. No matter how bad the conversation might get, they should at least appreciate the company and friendliness.

    Briefly, Approaching Groups

    When integrating with an established group conversation, there is really one thing to know. That is to establish the ‘leader’ and introduce yourself to them. I mentioned that before, but here is how and why.

    The why is the leader of a group conversation is probably the more social and outgoing. They will more readily accept your introduction and then introduce you to the rest of the group. This hierarchy in a group conversation is much more prevalent in formal situations where one person is leading the conversation.

    A group of friends out for the night is much more difficult to crack. This may even be another topic for discussion, but one thing I know that works is initiating conversation with a ‘stray’. It sounds predatorial, but it works.

    More often than not, this occurs without intention. But if you do really want to get into a group of friends, your best bet is approaching one of them while they are away from the group and being invited into the group.

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    It is possible, like everything, to approach a group outright and join them. However, this is almost an art and requires another specific post.

    Topics Of Conversation

    Other than confidence, the next thing people who have trouble initiating conversations lack is conversation! So here are a few tips to get the ball rolling:

    • Small talk sucks. It’s boring and a lot of people already begin to zone out when questions like, “What do you do?” or “What’s with this weather?” come up. Just skip it.
    • Everything is fair game. If you are in the company of someone and a thought strikes you, share it. “This drink is garbage! What are you drinking?” “Where did you get that outfit?”
    • Opinions matter. This is any easy way to hit the ground running in conversation. Everyone has one, and when you share yours, another will reveal itself. The great thing about this line of thought is that you are instantly learning about the other person and what they like, dislike etc.
    • Environment. The place you’re in is full of things to comment on. The DJ, band, fashions; start talking about what you see.
    • Current events. Unless it’s something accessible or light-hearted, forget it. Don’t launch into your opinion on the war or politics. If your town has recently hosted a festival, ask what they think about it.

    Exiting Conversation

    Although I’d like to write a full post on exiting strategies for conversations you don’t want to be in, here are some tips:

    • The first thing is don’t stay in a conversation you’re not interested in. It’ll show and will be no fun for anyone.
    • Be polite and excuse yourself. You’re probably out with friends, go back to them.  Or buy a drink. Most people will probably want to finish the conversation as much as you.

    Likewise, you could start another conversation.

    If you’d like to learn more tips about starting a conversation, this guide maybe useful for you: How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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