Adventure is a tool for learning

THE BIG THRILL

Adventure is a tool for learning

Mankind as we see it is today is a result of explorers and adventurers who have dared to discover new things and new places, thereby filling the gaps and connecting the world we are living in.

Adventure is perceived as a risky, dangerous but exciting experience. The word ‘adventure’ largely refers to activities with some potential physical danger, such as skydiving, skiing, mountaineering, scuba diving, bungee jumping and other extreme sports. However, if viewed from a wider prospective it can refer to any venture, organisation, enterprise or individual as they also other risks such as market, financially, psychological and consumer risks to be successful in their chosen area.

Primarily the most successful venture, enterprises or individuals have been the ones who took greater risks, the ones who dared and who were able to explore newer markets, customers and options each time.

Humans and adventures
In the past, humans have lived predominantly in the outdoors and in close contact with nature, and involved in myriad adventurous exploits. Thus, it will not be incorrect to say that we are adventurers by instinct and a penchant for adventure may be ingrained into the human psyche and culture.

Why adventure? What is the need, wouldn’t it be better to play safe and stay home? For many, adventure is a pursuit of self, as it teaches you to deal with life, adapt to circumstances, and make the best use of resources. It is a way of  learning by doing and experiencing, offers an opportunity to open up to new ways of looking at things, appreciating differences, and finding a common ground.

Adventure could be the first step towards being able to deal with or overcome difficulties and a need to acknowledge that yes, a situation may be  hard, but what now? It’s all about pushing yourself, taking yourself to the next level and in the process realising your inner self and strengths.

Deep within, we all thrive on a sense of adventure and the adrenaline rush.
The experience of living-on-the- edge in one form or the other also psychologically unlocks the fear, makes one more resilient and gives one a sense of fulfillment. Groups generally encourage individuals to be adventurous.
When people are in groups,  they make decisions refarding risks differently from when they are alone. In a group, they are likely to make riskier decisions, as the shared risk makes the individual risk less.

The team spirit of not wanting to let down the team enables them to look at risk differently, and this shift in risk perception is termed as choice shift.

Physiological impact
Experiences of an adventure activity more than often leaves a highly positive impact, more importantly in the way in which people see, feel and understand themselves. Learning, experimenting, change in personality perception, better stress management and more importantly value resources could be some of the long term impacts of adventure. Studies have made it evident that participation in adventure activities has a positive effect as adventure motivates, boosts self-confidence and enhances self-awareness.

Outdoor activities like cycling, fishing,  and games make you feel fresh and relaxed, but the excitement and thrill that accompanies adventure takes to the next level of fulfillment, and makes you feel challenged and encouraged thus exhibiting your skills and building self-confidence.

Adventure as a process identifies with the underlying philosophy that is also referred as experiential learning. Research shows a positive outcome and reports that it effectively improves self-esteem, encourages better personal and social behavior and increases mutual trust. Adventure and outdoor training is one of the most preferred training options among the HR fraternity and corporates as it’s an effective employee engagement model. It enables participants to learn and experience the challenges in an unfamiliar ground. It helps to enhance behavioral skills and qualities of an individual, bringing out latent facets of one’s personality.

The writers Kavitha Reddy is CEO, BASECAMP Adventures & Major Vishal Thapa is Vice Principal, Nehru Institute of Mountaineering

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