The Art of Exploration (or How to Live a Fulfilling Life)

Exploration often gets a low spot on our priority list. Exploration for me means going with what you feel. It means going with the flow and seeing what happens.

This is what I did when I first got the idea of moving to Spain. Before I came to Spain, I hadn’t traveled for a while.

My last trip was to Iquitos, Peru in November 2008, where I did an ayahuasca journey in the jungle. It was a long flight and it left me exhausted. I just wanted to rest after that.

After about a year my batteries were recharged and I felt the urge to travel again, so I started exploring different possibilities. I looked at countries such as New Zealand, Australia, USA, and many European countries.

I ended up going with Spain, because it felt good both in my heart and in my mind.

I’ve been an explorer ever since I got out of school. I’ve never been bound down by a day-job, so I’ve always been free to go wherever I want, whenever I want.

Even if you have a job, there’s always room to explore. You don’t necessarily have to travel. Remember, there are no excuses, except the ones you create.

Changing Your Mind is Normal

I tend to change my mind frequently. That is annoying to many, because many people are used to maneuvering through their lives with logic.

When they make a decision, they don’t want to change it, because that would mean that they were wrong.

When you’re exploring, you will be trying a lot of new stuff. Some of it will stick, while some of it will not. They key is to keep experimenting and keep taking action.

As you grow more experienced with your journey and your feelings, you will start to get a feel for what you like and don’t like, which will help you avoid giving other people false expectations.

When you do enough exploring, you’ll have realization, a-ha moments and fascinating experiences. I’ve realized that sometimes you have to go around the world to realize that you already had what you wanted.

One Step at a Time

When you’re exploring, you will most likely only feel the step in front of you. For example, before I came to Spain, all I knew was that I wanted to move.

If I try to figure out more than one step, it becomes a logical process, which is good, but you have to be careful, because it can easily become a problem.

Now that I’ve been in Spain for almost 7 months, I’m beginning to feel what my next step is. I’m not going to reveal it just yet, because I want it to grow just a bit, but I think you’ll be surprised when I write about it before this year comes to an end.

5 Steps to Better Exploration

There are a few things you can do to enhance your journey. The following five steps are what help me focus on what’s important and what’s not.

I don’t always succeed of course. There will always be days when you’re not feeling like doing anything, but that’s to be expected.

1. Logic. I’ve been on a logic-bashing parade lately. I’m not saying to discard logic altogether, but beware of when it becomes a problem, such as thinking yourself out of what you really feel like doing.

2. Worry. I see worry as a part of logic. When you worry, you try to deduce and predict the future. Usually none of what you think will come true comes true, so it’s better to acknowledge your worry and keep moving forward.

3. Excuses. There are many layers of excuses available to you at any time. But remember this: if you want to do something, there’s always something you can do to move towards it, however small it may be.

4. Focus. When I’m focused on one thing, I tend to get more out of my adventures. If you go after a lot of interests at the same time, you won’t have the time to explore the subject deeply.

5. Excitement. Always focus on what makes you excited at this very moment. The future or the past doesn’t matter. Focus on what you feel like now. If you feel like lying down for a day then do that, but do it fully and allow yourself to rest.

Doing nothing seems like a waste of time, but when you allow yourself to do what you want, you will naturally progress to other things when you are done.

Bonus Tip

If you try to force yourself to do something, it will eventually back-fire on you.

Here’s a bonus tip for those that don’t know what to explore: go after your procrastinations. What do you tend to procrastinate with? That’s usually a good hint.

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Comments

  1. Jen Smith says:

    Timely post for me Henri, I realised this week that one of my favourite things in life is exploring! I have done a fair bit of travelling in the past but right now am settled in one place, however I am always exploring what is around me whether it’s my own country or abroad. As you say it’s not always logical but if we follow what feels right and good for us, we can’t go far wrong. One of my biggest challenges is being ok with not knowing what’s going to happen next, but the more I let go and let things happen, always the better.
    Jen

  2. Really great post Henri,

    It is very important to take one step at a time but sometimes people want to do everything at a time (which is not possible).

    Thanks a lot for the great post,
    -Onibalusi

  3. I’m quite positive that you would love Australia, Henri. Laid back atmosphere even in the big cities like Sydney, and the weather for a Scandinavian is nothing short of perfect. Try it if you haven’t already. :)

    • Oh I think I’d definitely love Australia. We’ll see when I get pulled in that direction!

  4. I think we are likeminded in the whole “changing my mind” thing. I’m glad someone else has the same mode of thought.

    Great post about exploration and logic. I am a firm believer in the fact that “conventional wisdom” is an oxyomoron!!

    So many things get set up on auto pilot in our minds and we actually believe them! We find out later that the thing we feared wasn’t here to kill us after all. Once we have that knowledge we go to the next limiting belief and believe it is real as well!

    When will we learn? Great Post! Thanks

  5. When we don’t explore, we’re missing out on so many exciting things that are going on in the world. I think there are many sheltered people in the world and part of curing so many of life’s issues is exploring the world. Good stuff Henri.

  6. Hi Henri,
    I admire your exploratory spirit. I was reminded of my own exploration albeit a totally different paradigm. When I was about 18 (1960′s!) I decided I would go to college (UMass) and had no idea how I would pay for it. Coming from an impoverished ghetto mill town with no support from my family this was a big exploration for me. I never questioned how I would get through… I just knew I would.

    It is this same spirit that has enabled me to continually create my life and myself anew. Leaving a secure job as Public School teach to become a millionaire in real estate (having no knowledge of real estate development)… becoming a restaurateur… and now an author etc. In all cases it defies logic in the traditional sense… and like you point out so well, being illogical is inherent in exploring our creative nature.

    • Good stuff, Rob! Really, really good stuff.

      Sounds like you’ve followed your heart almost your whole life and it has worked out just fine. I really admire that.

      Keep rocking!

  7. Henri, this post is refreshing and uplifting!
    thank you for sharing!
    I like this takeaway…

    When you’re exploring, you will be trying a lot of new stuff. Some of it will stick, while some of it will not. They key is to keep experimenting and keep taking action.

    and remembering “one step at a time..”

    much luv,
    Jenn

  8. Henri,
    This was excellent! And, just what I needed to hear today. Never stop exploring and following your gut, or intuition.

  9. Archan Mehta says:

    Henri,

    Spain raised the FIFA world cup–congratulations. It is a victory for football, mate

    This is a good example of exploration. Spain explored the available player’s list and went with the best it could find. At least for the most part and lo and behold…

    Xavie proved to be a magician in South Africa. You must be still celebrating there.

    You are right: put your best foot forward and follow your feelings. Viva La Espanol!

  10. about excuses , they are the life story of lots of people, wish you can write a whole post about them

  11. karakalem says:

    Henri, this post is refreshing and uplifting!
    thank you for sharing!
    I like this takeaway

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