"Research shows that some people need more than the normal dose of life’s excitement, and to achieve this, they seek out high-risk activities. According to experts, brain chemistry plays a significant role when it comes to risk-seeking behaviour. Studies suggest that extreme athletes often share a set of traits such as optimism, high energy, originality, high self-confidence and a tendency to want to control their own fate." (Healy, 2015)
This piece of information conveniently answers my original question on why I was more of a risk taker than my friends. The fact that I take part in extreme sports regularly makes me seek out more risks than my friends who might not do them so often.
""The standard definition of a ‘sensation seeker’ is actually the pursuit of novel and intense experiences without regard for physical, social, legal or financial risk," says Dr Melanie Schlatter, a health psychologist in Dubai. "People who do extreme sports are not all risk-takers nor are they impulsive, in fact, it has been proposed that they do it to obtain a sense of control. For example, when ascending a steep ice slope, individuals need to be absolutely fastidious with their equipment preparation before a big climb, they need to avoid risk as much as possible and they need to be calm in the face of danger or threat to survival."(Healy, 2015)
This opinion actually contradicts a little bit the first one because it says that extreme sport participators are actually not reckless, and don't take more risks than other people. I do agree however that the control I have over my body when I bike down the mountain at full speed is definitely pleasurable and enjoyable. I am in total control of what happens and I love that. I hate rollercoaster however, because I can't control anything.
"I am a dopamine addict it seems, drawn to the feel-good neurological transmitter that is produced when you achieve big goals." (Hayes, 2015)
I do agree with Hayes that achieving a big goal is definitely high up on my list. However, that may not be true for some people, or their goals might just not include adventure. They might be more relied on feeling comfortable.
"All beings, from the greatest minds to the simplest forms of life on this planet and possibly others, are explorers. All are, thus, without exception, competent to contribute to this discussion in one form or another." (Cabrol, 2012)
This quote is actually originally from a science blog where a student wrote about her views on why we explore the universe. However, it does fit the theme of my project because it looks into the more theoretical and conceptual aspect of exploration that might not be directly obvious. Her essay is stunning and weirdly enough very inspiring to explore. I think people have a tough time understanding their place in the universe and that's a great way of interpreting it.
"Each species goes as far and as fast as its evolutionary path can take it. This path is dictated by that species’ exposure to the environment and to other species. We (as in life in general) are all trying to constantly expand our horizon, for there is gain in doing so. At the most primary level the gain is physical survival through a greater range of environments, which provide additional resources to supply a greater number of individuals of the same group. The curiosity and awe that we humans associate with exploration is a late comer. Understanding when this driving force developed is by itself a fascinating subject. I do not believe the first bacteria were curious about their environment; they simply tried to adapt to it."(Cabrol, 2012)
I think this quote is the epidomy of my personal views. A lot of people put emphasis on god and all these other things but they don't look into the evolution part. Humans didn't come out of nowhere and our drive for adventure and exploration is a direct response to our evolutionary traits. When there was no food or shelter, we had to either fight or fly and that shows through our biological predispositions now.
"But as far as humans go, beyond survival, exploration is certainly associated with physical, mental, and spiritual questioning that fuel each other by changing our perception of all the dimensions we know of, and give to the universe. Iterative questioning and exploring expands our imagination, thus our ability to further question and explore. The curiosity we apply to exploration is also one way for us to stimulate our imagination and gauge its validity in understanding our universe and its endless diversity. To some extent, it is the way each generation has to create its own universe".(Cabrol, 2012)
Now this quote is more geared towards space exploration but I think it's important for my project to show the reasons why people want to explore. Since all of us are unique and all of us respond to our envonment differently, we all discover and explore differently. Some people's adventure might be extreme for others and vice versa. It's a grey area available for interpretation.
"Some of us step boldly into that new adventure without a hint of fear seeking it out often. Some of us take a little bit more time and make sure we make a calculated analysis before we step into the vast adventurous unknown." (Reynolds, 2015)
This is an exact answer to my original question on why some people take more time to jump into an adventure than others. It just has to do with your comfort level, and the way you were raised. If you were in a safe, calm environment, you might want to live your life mimicking that environment. For me, I was raised in an energetic family that constantly traveled, ran, swam, mountain biked or skiied and that makes me more prone to seeking out bold adventures, even though I do get scared.
"In truth, the only failure when is comes to adventure, is not going on one." (Reynolds, 2015)
I agree with this statement to a certain extend. There have been times where I have been on adventures and felt that it was a waste of my time and money. So the real failure there was that what I thought was an adventure really wasn't.
"We are like kids in a candy store full of adventures and it’s sad if we fail to open that delicious looking box of candy and try something new." (Reynolds, 2015)
This quote is hard to grasp out of context, but it basically talked about how its a shame that people don't go on more adventures when they have access to it. I do agree to that and it still puzzles me. But that's just my personal opinion. I understand why they don't go on adventures but I don't agree with it, it's simple.
"Human exist for about 100000 year and tremendous amount of that time they were migrating from one place to another, they were hunting, collecting and all of them include some sort of risk in them. By doing all that ancient people were trying to survive." (Teasdale, n.d)
This pertains directly to the idea of survival that the first few quotes talked about. The reason we are pre-disposed to adventure is that we had to fight or fly when danger arose. Now that I am sitting on my chair writing this on my computer, I can't help think of how I would have behaved thousands of years ago, when none of our modern technology was here.
"Fueled by the thrill of exploring new places, we’re reminding ourselves that we are still animals on a wild planet." (Teasdale, n.d)
I absolutely agree with this quote, but I do also believe that it is our duty to respect the environment we live in. We have to take care of it and make sure that it does not disappear because of our reckless behaviours.
"For thousands of generations we’ve tested ourselves in the wilds. It’s where we’re from and, if we let ourselves feel it, where we’re still most at home. We’re literally hardwired to be outside. It’s where we come to life."(Teasdale, n.d)
This quote connects to my original idea that we are for sure pre-disposed to adventure, and the fact that we have become less and less wild animals, we have let go a little bit of our original, biological selves. I think that's a real shame and I want to find a way to fix that with my final product.
"So we go outside and explore. Once we’re out and free from modernity’s numbing embrace, we’re rejuvenated. Whether it’s for half an hour or half a year, we find the strength and spirit found only in untamed places." (Teasdale, n.d)
This just adds to what I stated above. I need to bring in some kind of product that pushes people away from their technology and makes them want to go outside.
"As creatures who evolved with biological responses to risk, many amongst us have a natural desire for endorphins, and adrenaline that comes with risk taking and must indulge in habits that exist beyond the realm of the day to day." (McTavish, 2015)
This is exactly the answer to my question on the biological reasons of why we are pre-disposed to adventure. What chemicals or reactions in our body makes us want to get up and explore, go outside or on an adventure. I think I really need to highlight this piece in my research.
"We see adventurous people as being somehow different from ourselves: stronger, braver, tougher, fitter. They are versions of our best selves: the doers in life, the fearless, those who go over the mountain and come back to tell us what's on the other side." (Delaney, 2008)
I agree with that but at the same time, I think that people have different needs and wants and that some person's explanation of adventure might be very different for another. I need to keep this in mind when continuing my research.
"Seeking adventure is more common amongst people who are extroverted, who are outgoing, who are sociable, because one of the things they need -- apart from the excitement of people -- is excitement generally." -James Thompson
This really speaks to me on a personal level because it pertains to my personality. I am naturally extroverted and excited all the time, so the threshold gets higher for me to feel some kind of adrenaline. I think the same goes for the rest of my family, because that's how we interact with each other.
"Psychologists have linked adventure-seeking with a range of positive qualities. Adventure can:
- teach resilience and help you cope with adversity
- increase your capacity for risk-taking
- sharpen your judgments about risk-taking
- assist in problem solving and teamwork
- promote psychological toughness
- increase your appreciation of nature
- promote strength and fitness
- give you optimism and confidence in your abilities" (Delaney, 2008)
This is great because it really highlights the importance of finding adventure of your life. I have learnt from the above research that something adventurous for one person might be different for another and that really shows how any type of adventure can highlight favourable qualities with everyone.
"Many young people are naturally adventurous -- throwing their energy and enthusiasm behind sport, hobbies and travel. Witness the explosion of school leavers taking gap years (a year off in between school and university or the workforce), with the destinations becoming more and more exotic and activities accompanying the travel designed to expand their mind as well as their horizons. But later in life, we can wake up and find our lives leeched of adventure. We may be loaded down with a mortgage, kids or a demanding job. Adventure then becomes something we prefer to read about rather than live. We fall into the trap of the armchair traveler and become transfixed by all the journeys we didn't make." (Delaney, 2008)
This quote is really great to understand how adventure changes overtime, after you've lived out your life. I think it's important to understand the different adventures for different people, and that highlights it perfectly. I do notice now the more I think about it that young people are more adventurous than old people. However, I do wonder if being older wouldn't push you to go on adventures because you are at an all time low or something like that.
"A survey released by the Adventure Travel Trade Association in March 2007 said today's typical adventure traveler was "female and fortyish." "Women make up the majority of adventure travelers (52 percent) worldwide, with the most common destination being South America," said the trade association. The survey of travelers from 35 countries also found that people aged 41 to 60 are the highest participating age group in adventure travel. A survey by YouGov in the UK has identified a new subset of British -- the Nifty Fifties. They've had the responsible jobs and raised their children -- and now they want adventure." (Delaney, 2008)
Aha! I knew there was a twist to this! Young people are adventurous because they are discovering the world for the first time, and then it dips down when the responsibilities kick in, and then it comes back up when they are tired of being in a routine. That's where the mid-life crisis comes in, and now that my parents are old enough, I definitely see it.
"I see adventure as going beyond something you feel comfortable with. If you are uncomfortable going to the end of your street and you go beyond this, then you are being adventurous" (Dave Wroe, 2008)
This is kind of the main point in my presentation that I want to highlight. I know now I want to push people out of their comfort zone somehow.
© Eva Jane Gates, all rights reserved