top of page
  • Writer's pictureDan Mularski

Adventure And Adversity Require Intensity And Growth

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

Adventure includes expected hardships, learning, and opportunities to contribute to a higher purpose. However, the best growth circumstances occur when the unexpected happens. The deceptions of ideals dissolve. A revised perspective evolves to confirm strengths and expose weaknesses to improve.

Hoosier Pass: highest point (11,539 ft.) & longest climb of Trans America Adventure

Circumstances arose for a possible visit with family along the Trans America route. Berea KY was the rendezvous for an upcoming weekend demanding completion of a certain number of miles for the next few days, some in the 90 plus miles/day range. Despite being in the best cycling shape ever, the demanding days, inclusive of many hills took its toll on the TA Team.

When legs are fresh, pedaling up the hills still isn’t easy, but an increased heart rate is the result. As the day continues and climbing of more hills happens, a number of things unfold. The body fatigues and alternative ways have to arise to get the climb up the hill done.

Hills completed at the beginning of the day only required getting into a lower gear and pedaling while sitting. Fatigue demands new methods. The first is using the lowest gear continuously. The second is standing up to pedal in a higher gear that eventually goes back down to that lowest gear, but standing demands more energy.

The next step is off the bike and pushing it up the hill. The final step is resting as often as necessary while pushing the bike. Multiply this time 10-15 hills and at some point, mental fatigue occurs. The intensity of battle is here.

Without a clear purpose in mind, the battle to get up the hills really becomes arduous. Quitting is not an option at this point because everyone has the same fight. No super heroes on the TA 2020 team, just survivors. Quitting, thought about by everyone especially on these days, is optional. All this is voluntary, so why fight the adversity?

The default in general life is find the easiest route, method, way, etc. to accomplish a goal. Many things in the normal course of each day are good to do in this way, but are not necessarily meaningful. When things become too routine and mundane, it’s natural to become bored. Bigger and better never happens if adversity is absent.

When daily life results in too much struggle, intensity or uncertainty, things get confusing and dreadful. The “sweet spot” between these two extremes is where maximum growth happens. A couple of researchers studied this and established the Yerkes-Dodson Law.

The “sweet spot” is good, but how is it achieved? What hill is worth pedaling up? The “hill” referred to here is metaphorical. Everyone has different “hills” to climb to grow at different times in life. What are your vocational, spiritual, mental, physical, etc. hills to climb right now? Age, race, world views do not alter the need for growth and meaningfulness.

Adequately equipped and trained, a number of options open. Starting out working at a fast food chain is great, but staying there forever is not the objective. At some point, shifting gears (better positions), getting off the seat (get a better job), and sometimes walking up a hill (intensive academic and vocational training) are what it takes to advance.

What is at the top of that hill is only a temporary achievement. The good thing is although this was difficult, now endurance builds from this adventure to take on the next one. And on and on. The challenges of continuing to find fulfillment through adventure never end with the right attitude.

Adventures consume a lot of spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical energy. Recovery needs to be included as part of this experience. Otherwise, the result is falling way short of reaching the intended outcome. Taking on adventures for the wrong reasons is also a major contributor to weakening the effectiveness of a great adventure.

Picking the right purpose for planned adventures does not make “pedaling” any easier. What the right purpose does is bring clarity to utilize energy efficiently. The obvious point of getting off the bike due to intense exhaustion is to reach the top of the hill and do whatever it takes. Much more happens in the spirit, mind, and emotions at the peak of this physical battle.

A person has to direct the battle in the mind and heart back to the reasons why coming on this adventure began initially. When the prime directive is fun that’s a problem. Fun is for vacation, playing with the kids, getting together with friends. A “fun objective” doesn’t last when things become really difficult.

Proving character, becoming a stronger person, and building endurance are a few core value reasons to go on adventures. The sources of the quotes, “Adversity builds character” and “Adversity does not build character, it reveals it”* are in question, but both apply. Adversity doesn’t seem to be an “all or none” thing, so a viable alternative from this author’s perspective is “adversity builds AND reveals character.”

Adventure, in the proper context, is adversity. Planning an adventure is not looking for adversity, it is part of the package. Meaningful experiences make an impression and give lasting memories. A life of fulfillment demands effort.

Remember, this is not getting off the couch and eating donuts to the intensity of climbing Mt. Everest. Adventure in this article may seem like it is always some monumental achievement, but that is not the case. What is easy for one person in one area of life, is a huge undertaking to another.

Heights are not a problem for some so rock climbing, rappelling, parachuting, etc. are fun! The person that does these things and has a crippling phobia of heights and sets out to overcome that fear undertakes an adventure. The point being every adventure is different based on a person’s makeup.

Comparisons get people in trouble. Try to align with people that are far superior in a particular skill, attitude, or maturity makes one feel inferior. Align with those that have far less capabilities and boredom and little or no growth occurs. The Yerkes-Dodson Law “sweet spot” doesn’t happen in these extremes.

Image from

In the story of Goldilocks, she tested the three beds of the bears. The first was too hard, the second too soft, but the third was just right. Picking an adventure is not about comfort, but it is about getting that “just right” challenge. Test things, take risks, inquire, find people with a growth mindset regularly.

The chosen adventures will build and reveal character in the process of becoming the person God created you to be!

What is a “just right” adventure you’ve been thinking about. Leave your comments below, like on facebook, subscribe to this website.

I get a kick out of your comments so tell me what adversity you have faced in your adventures?

*Some say author James Lane Allen as the source of the quote

#growth #PedalingOnPurpose #meaningful #adversity #Intensity #adventure

1 view0 comments
bottom of page