2. Meet people, especially face to face.
3. Take leaps of faith. It is easy to find a comfortable job and a tolerable existence, and to resign to the idea that you have it good enough… it would be selfish, dangerous, reckless to go for more. Yet, going for more is essential to coming alive – don’t settle for average when you have the chance to be great.
How can you do these three things easily and all at once? Interventures.
Having interventures is the foundational adventurous habit, so what are interventures?
Interventures are intermittent adventures, and they come on several time scales (listed below).
Interventures serve to provide a temporary change of mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual channels, giving us a chance to recover from the stresses of life and allowing us to then passionately re-engage with our challenges.
Much the way that we work out muscles, we must also work with our passions in life. We grow those passions and our human capacities by pushing past our current limits (in the case of muscles, working out), but then allowing ourselves to rest and recover. Pushing past our limits is certainly necessary for growth, but it seems to me that our society tends to overlook the need for recovery - without it we do ourselves (muscles or passions alike) more harm than good.
The beauty of interventures is that by switching channels, we both recover from the stresses of everyday work, and push ourselves beyond our current capacities in different ways. Interventures should get you out of your comfort zone, scare you, make you meet new people who come from different walks of life than you, and sometimes make you take leaps of faith.
The Time-Scales of Interventures:
1. Daily interventures:
This is simultaneously the easiest and hardest type to implement. These occur during a lunch break or other intentional breaks in the action. They are easy to implement because they are short and take little effort, but hard because it is easy for many people to overlook them and skip a day (or hour).
I try to program daily habits in which I can complete my daily interventures. For example, before starting work I complete my morning routine. Then, for every hour of work, I do some short physical activity - 50 air squats, 50 pushups, whatever. By the end of the day I hope to have ____ number of them done.
During my lunch break, I have made a habit of getting out and riding my bike for at least 20 minutes. Sometimes I pick up supplies for lunch from a local grocery store, sometimes I just go home, sit in my hammock for 5 minutes, and then go back. This is time when I could totally be doing more work, but I instead find that I am far more productive when I come back to work after that half hour or hour interventure.
2. Weekly interventures:
Every week, do something that pushes you past your current capacities. I do this every weekend (I do not allow myself to work on weekends). I just do whatever it is that excites me.
I pursue physical challenges like rock climbing often, but these can also be cultural (see a new place), spiritual (find intense meditation practices), mental (learn something totally new or build something yourself... like your own minimalist sandals), or emotional.
3. Monthly interventures:
Once a month, make sure to get out of your normal weekly interventure comfort zone. If you normally push yourself with a physical bike riding challenge, switch channels and go explore your cultural side by going to a totally new town/place and seeing what's there, letting go of your concerns and exploring like a little kid. The possibilities are endless.
4. Yearly interventures:
I said daily interventures were arguably the most challenging... well these are also easy to put off and not do. But they are essential. Take a whole 2 weeks off and go on a huge bike tour, or better - a month off and backpack a different country. This should be a BIG switch up from everyday life that allows you to learn and grow rapidly, enjoy yourself fully, yet really appreciate your everyday life when you return. This last reason is why the length should be as long as possible. As a final note, remember that this yearly interventure is not some expensive-but-quick and unfulfilling vacation to a tropical island - it needs to push you beyond your current capacities, get you out of the comfort zone, and scare you.
I know, I know - this interventure thing all sounds great, but life just gets in the way. It's unrealistic to think you can spend that much time enjoying or challenging yourself! But I contend that it is not - rather, it is a matter of making a habit of it.
It starts with completing the daily interventures and noticing how much more productive you are when you do return to work, how your passion for life seems to be ignited, and how you are excited to do new things. It continues with weekly and monthly interventures, and ultimately you will be able to make a habit of really thriving all year round, and having a once a year huge interventure that seemed so impossible in the past.