Search for Speakers
Trainers and Consultants
Send this article to others
today's business world, we are climbing a Mount Everest of
change -- unrelenting change that threatens to overwhelm us with its
intensity. But as Alvin Toffler has noted:
is not merely necessary to life, it is life. And by the same token, life is
how do we meet the challenge of change and adapt? By learning to view change
as a great adventure, that's how!
are living through one of the great transitional periods of human history,
where economic, political and social changes are occurring at lightning
speed. Events taking place on the opposite side of the earth are influencing
our daily lives. We cannot stop this change, nor can we ignore it. But we
can increase our ability to manage change effectively and to learn to
benefit from the uncertainty that change creates.
these rapidly changing times, the metaphor of adventure offers the perfect
vehicle for articulating a strategy that can turn this uncertainty to
our advantage. By definition, an adventure is a journey with an
uncertain outcome, and adventurers are people who actively seek out
difficulty in order to stretch
their potential against the unknown. Today, like it or not,
the pace of change is forcing us to rediscover the adventurous spirit
of our ancestors, as we move from the known world of our previous
achievements to the unknown world of future opportunity.
will take courage, resourcefulness and endurance to meet this challenge; the
courage to try, to commit and to take more risks; the resourcefulness to be
innovative in finding new ways of doing old things; and the endurance to
keep going when everything around us seems to be falling apart. But more
than anything, it will be necessary to shake off the limiting bonds of
complacency that dominate the lives of so many in modern society.
fact, the adventure of life is only to be found by those who strive to go
one step beyond their previous experiences in search of new challenges.
Children do this as a matter of course, but as adults we must constantly
force ourselves to remain dissatisfied with the secure world we have created
through our previous efforts.
we should actively seek out difficult challenges and ask ourselves what we
can learn from the struggle. In adopting this philosophy, we will have to
take risks, but risks that have been carefully controlled through adequate
preparation and analysis; risks for which the resulting consequences have
been carefully considered, acknowledged
is this approach that forms the roots of my "Adventure
Attitude"(tm) philosophy, a new paradigm that offers an intriguing
approach to happiness, fulfillment and success in the new millennium. All
too often, we see change as a threat -- as something to be feared. We are so
consumed with the need for certainty and predictability that we fail to
accept that change is the only real constant in our lives. As a result, we
often don't seek out the opportunities that only change can create until we
are forced to do so by some external influence beyond our control, be it
economic crisis, political realignment or personal tragedy.
attitude is the key to success in changing times. We can have all the
education, all the knowledge, all the experience in the world, but if we
carry the wrong attitude in our minds, we are doomed to failure. The
academic world agrees! A recent study of successful people by the Carnegie
Institute concluded that 85 percent of success could be attributed solely to
mental attitude. In short, it's not what you go through in life that makes
you what you are, it's how you react to the world you're going through
are the nine keys of the "Adventure Attitude"(tm) philosophy:
- Desire and Determination
- Vision and Values
- Natural Curiosity
- Teamwork and Trust
- Unlimited Optimism
- Exceptional Performance
at these basic principles, it becomes obvious that fulfillment in life is
really quite simple. There are no magic pills that guarantee instant
success. Achievement is just
the constant process of striving to go one step beyond your previous
experience, consistently applying a set of clearly defined principles, day
by day over a long period of time.
Pat Morrow became the second of my Canadian team to reach the summit of
Everest, he achieved a goal that was only part of his ultimate dream to
become the first person in the world to stand on the highest mountain in
each of the seven continents. Everest for Morrow was just the highest
mountain in Asia!
one of the world's finest adventure photographers, Morrow's other objective
that day was to take pictures from the highest point on earth. But on the
summit, the temperature was so cold that the battery could not operate the
camera, forcing him to manually adjust the settings to ensure his film was
correctly exposed to the light. On a single lens reflex camera, these
settings are called f-stops, and they range all the way from f-1.4 to f-32.
By taking multiple shots of the same scene, each one with a different
exposure setting, Morrow knew he would get one photograph, and only one,
that was perfectly exposed to the light at the top of the world.
people have since asked Morrow his secret. How does he take such great
pictures? His answer is is intriguing. With considerable understatement he
says: "f-8 ... and be there! That's how you take great photos."
a more important meaning in this phrase. Every day in a changing world we
must "f-8" our minds to ex-pose them correctly to the world in
which we operate, but we must also "... be there!" to meet the
challenges. The way we operated in the past will not work in the future.
Metaphorically, "f-8 ... and be there!" is all about continuous
improvement, the complete rejection of complacency, and the vital importance
of maintaining positive dissatisfaction in seeking ways to adapt in the face
of rapid change.
Columbus set out from Europe in 1492, he had no idea where he was going. He
was just heading west toward an uncertain future, but he went anyway. In a
similar way, we don't know exactly where we will be tomorrow, next year or
in the new millennium. But we must go anyway! Columbus wrote, "I plow
ahead no matter how the winds might lash me." This is simple advice
that we too must follow as we struggle with the winds of change in modern
is a sense of direction, not a tangible end point. Vision is the ability to
look to the past and learn from it; to look at the present and be attuned to
it; and to look to the future and be prepared for it. Vision is what
separates great achievers from the also-rans. It is also the distinguishing
characteristic of great leaders.
1993, the respected forecasting group, Institute for the Future, predicted
that global leaders for the next century would need to be "perceptually
acute, but willing to postpone judgments, sometimes indefinitely." This
suggests that the pace of change will be so rapid that we will be unable to
afford the luxury of coming to a firm conclusion about what is taking place
around us, because by the time we reach that point, the facts on which we
acted will already have changed. In such an unpredictable world, it is the
visionary and the adventurous who will aspire to success.
will have many experiences in our lives, some good, some bad. In fact, life
is one long process of accumulating experiences, one after another. But what
type of experiences should we be seeking? Easy, comfortable ones where the
outcome is certain, or difficult, unpredictable experiences where we are
forced to struggle to achieve success? I believe that we only grow when we
are struggling against adversity and when the outcome of our efforts is in
doubt. Certainly, most of my memorable experiences are from when I was
following the advice of the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, who
wrote, "The secret of knowing the most fertile experiences and greatest
joys in life is to live dangerously."
we must also learn the lessons from the struggle. My colleague, Sharon Wood,
who in 1986 became the first North American woman to climb Everest, agrees.
When asked how she made it to the top, she often replies, "I discovered
it wasn't a matter of physical strength, but a matter of psychological
strength. The conquest lay within my own mind to penetrate those barriers of
self-imposed limitations and get through to
nature, humans are curious. Curiosity drives all great progress in life.
Think of the children around you. They're out there every day, pushing their
limits, learning more about the world and their place in it. The last thing
they are thinking about is security.
adults, however, we enter into a different arena. We start careers, we take
out mortgages, and we enter into relationships. Without thinking, we start
to seek out predictability and security. And we begin to fall into the trap
how do we strive to cultivate our curiosity? By completely rejecting
complacency! By continually seeking out new challenges. By consistently
applying the principle of positive dissatisfaction in everything we do, and
by becoming an adventurer in the new world of discovery represented by the
just as important, no team can operate effectively without trust. And trust
only grows in teams of people who are forced to struggle through adversity
together. Effective teams respect the contribution that each person brings
to the effort, recognizing that when we use the strengths of some to offset
the limitations of others, the entire team becomes stronger as a result.
you ever seen a successful pessimist? I doubt it! Pessimism is negative, and
pessimistic people exude negative energy. They look for the worst in every
situation and usually find it, because our minds have a wonderful ability to
create the outcomes of our lives that we desire.
whenever something is happening that I cannot control, I say to myself,
"This is happening. I cannot change the fact that this is happening. So
what can I learn from the struggle?" I always come out of each
situation stronger than I went in.
we take risks in life and try something that we have never done be-fore, it
is natural that we should feel some anxiety and fear. I think this is just
nature's way of focusing all our mental and physical resources on the task
at hand. So when you feel fear, it's vital to confront it directly. Because
when you move toward fear it recedes; when you run away from fear, it grows
in your mind.
can all recall sleepless nights at home, tossing and turning in bed, our
mind a turmoil of anxiety, worrying about some problem we have to face the
next day. And I'm sure we can also remember getting up in the morning,
confronting the challenge, and discovering that the reality of the event was
not as bad as our imagination had conjured. When forced to confront fear, a
lot of people step back. Those who step forward will move forward.
think the founder of Forbes magazine, B.C. Forbes, said it best:
"Nobody can fight their way to the top, and stay at the top, without
exercising the fullest measure of grit, courage, determination and
resolution. Everybody who gets anywhere does so because they are firmly
resolved to progress in this world and then have enough stick-to-itiveness
to transform their resolution into reality. Without resolution, nobody can
win any worthwhile place among their fellow men."
important is the quest for lifelong learning. Eric Hoffer once noted,
"In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find
themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer
either change, or you stagnate. You either leap forward, or you fall
backward. You cannot stay where you are today!
All articles & website © Expert Magazine