Be careful going in search of adventure – it’s ridiculously easy to find.
– William Least Heat-Moon
In 1976, Edward Packard published his Adventures of You series. It was then that the famed Choose Your Own Adventure-style of book appeared to wider audiences and became more popular. While there is some dispute over who actually originated such branching- and narrative-path books (and some even credit B.F. Skinner), the story format generally gave young readers a variety of options at a time that eventually led to one of an assortment of endings. Many of these gamebook creations drew to a close with the pronouncement of either Successful or Failure.
Naturally, you want to see the word: SUCCESSFUL!
Gamebooks are works of fiction; your life is not! However, it is stimulating, captivating, and irresistible to apply the same gamebook principles to your path forward in this world. That’s right, from here on out you can choose to experience your life as a mighty adventure that you take an active part in – not an experience to tolerate or withstand. You can, by following the steps outlined in this article, turn your life into a powerful and enthralling exploit and choose how it unfolds (or at least how your appreciate it). By viewing your life as a story that is constantly being written, you can alter your life at any time and follow a new direction with every option you exercise.
Are you ready for the adventure of your life? Here’s all you need to know to get started:
STEP 1: Choose [how you perceive] your level of difficulty.
I know you are already saying to yourself, why would anyone choose anything other than the easiest possible way? Well, this is all about managing not only your expectations, but your perceived value of what you are rewarded with in the end. [QUICK NOTE: Choosing your level of story difficulty is not about fairness. Everything in life is fair (you just might not understand why things are happening all the time). So, let’s just get used to the notion that the possibility for something arising that you might grasp as unfair always exists.] You can make the choice to shift your life dramatically in the direction of success by wanting, in advance, to have a life-game that is filled with events, people, and things that will truly test the mastery of your skills, provide tension to keep you on your toes, and threaten and thrill you with the appearance of defeat. Whatever level of difficulty you choose for your personal adventure, you are massively rewarded in proportion to your efforts and the chances you take. Further, by giving yourself complications, you always force yourself to find new ways of looking at problems. And problems, after all, are nothing more than obstacles, setbacks, and predicaments that are just crying out for your attention and for you to provide a solution.
If you will change how you perceive difficulties, you will mightily turn your life around. Start realizing that you can’t have a problem unless you first have a desired outcome. In other words, a life without problems is a life without desires. And you have desires, don’t you? Of course, you do. So . . . there will always be challenges. Look forward to them! The difference with you, is that you can now start to see each and every hurdle as an essential gamepiece in your story and something that has arrived to help you understand the value of a situation.
Go ahead, set that level of difficulty so high that the rewards for meeting such a challenge are beyond your wildest dreams. You can always reset the game and the difficulty level if you get overwhelmed.
STEP 2: Discover where you are in the story right now.
Your life has been taking place for quite some time now and your story is already being written and told. The next step in our adventure is to find out how much of a life you already have. How does your life look in each of the following fundamental areas:
3. Personal Growth/Education
4. Love/Relationship with Others
10. World Situation/Environment
11. Paranormal Abilities
12. Philosophy of Life
To help you work through these 12 genres of your life, you might want to take a look at these two prior Thinking Magically™ articles:
These 12 areas of your life form an interactive journey as your story unfolds. Once you objectively establish where you are right now, you can start writing the story beats to move you in the direction you either want to keep going (if you like where you are right now) or rewriting the story to move you in the direction you want to go (if you don’t think a particular aspect of your life is serving you well).
STEP 3: Enjoy the story!
The two primary things you bring to your story are your focus/attention (what you developed in Step 1) and your mastery/vitality/fitness (what you discovered in Step 2). Notice I said you are bringing them to the story. Your story is already going. Now, you must start paying attention to it as the pages of your life are turning.
Now it may happen that there are periods of your life that cannot be experienced or understood in a lineal fashion. It’s certainly alright for you to think of your story as a collection of episodes or chapters that need to be resolved before you move onto some other aspect of the adventure. The point here is to enjoy making decisions!
In the course of your story, it will be wise for you to realize that there have been actions and deeds and expressions you have used that have rewarded you with success. There have also been those times when your conduct has met with apparent failure. Part of enjoying the story of you is not learning to outguess life, but in becoming proficient in creating habits and actions that consistently serve you well. If you don’t start resolving to make good choices, your story is going to punish you. Start paying attention to those times of greatness when your successes have manifested from an alchemy of self-confidence, common sense, decency, and courage. Learn to reproduce those times with ease.
Also remember, that like any good story, the characters you meet along the way may not be what they appear. Don’t always rely on what your eyes are showing you. Take the time to get to know people and things and events. There are deeper truths that hide in the obvious and our rushing to judgment makes what should have been crystal clear quite muddy. Oh, and don’t forget, this is your story – not theirs. When you start living someone else’s story, you stop living yours.
Much as I discussed in Step 1, stay brave throughout your story! If you don’t keep advancing forward, you don’t reach your dreams and desires. Henry David Thoreau elegantly noted: Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler. And it was George Patton who once said: Nobody ever defended anything successfully. Always resolve yourself to taking action that serves you well. Always! (Part of being brave, by the way, includes teaching others how to treat you by drawing lines that are not to be crossed. And it includes being heroic enough to continually cross the lines that others place before you.)
Now even as I applauded you for being heroic and self-possessed, please remember that, as you go through your story, no one asked you to leave your common sense at the door. You have the wealth of common sense you uncovered in Step 2. Put that knowledge to good use so you don’t repeat the mistakes of your past.
STEP 4: Finish the story.
If you give up, there is no story. Without you, there is no story! You must pledge to yourself that you will continue to keep putting one foot in front of the other no matter what the story ends up being at any particular time. You can let the choices that are presented to you be uncomplicated or impenetrable. I would choose the straightforward path if I were you. This will let your willpower and your attention remain on the true tasks at hand – being deserving of victory, being dauntless in your quest, and choosing honor as a way of life.
Follow these simple 4 steps and you are well on your way on the path of affluence and happiness.
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