Updated January 1, 1 . AmFam Team
Remember when you were a kid and the possibilities of life seemed limitless? When you embraced every adventure with a sense of curiosity and believed you could do anything you set your mind to? Sure, it may no longer be practical to give in to your every youthful whim. But who’s to say you can’t transfer a childlike sense of wonder into your adult life and feel good more frequently?
Meet Rob Harsh — chief adventurer, coach and guide at Awakened Adventures (Opens in a new tab). He’s climbed some of the world’s highest mountains and competed in endurance races across the globe. Rob is one of those indulgent adventurers that never let his age dictate his passions. To him, there’s nothing more inspiring than exploring the world around him — and no time like the present to do it. So how does Rob live his life?
Of all his many adventures, it can be said that his most challenging was his battle with illness. Upon being diagnosed with stage four cancer, Rob was forced to look at life through a new lens. And Rob took this time in his life as a teaching moment and came out the other side a survivor.
Now, he dreams of using his experience to help others make positive shifts in their lives. And it all starts with giving in to curiosity, rebuilding a sense of adventure and taking leaps outside of your comfort zone. “I continue to be inspired by taking others out on amazing adventures and watching them rediscover their sense of wonder again,” says Rob. “We live on a pretty amazing planet and there is so much to see. In the end, life is too short not to get out there and remember what it was like to play like a kid again.”
Though you might feel uneasy facing the unknown or going against your routine, new experiences are what help you define your dreams. And Rob’s got just the tips to help you embrace a new and improved way of living.
There’s no one set definition of adventure. In fact, adventure can be anything from climbing Mt. Everest to taking a new route to work or trying out a new hobby. It’s up to you to make the change, and you can start small.
“For me, going on adventures has just been a way to step into my fears and get a little closer to freeing myself from all the stuff that seems to get in the way of truly enjoying life,” explains Rob.
“If you’re bored waking up to the same routine every day and want a little adventure, just take one step in a different direction. Order a different coffee drink, make plans to meet a friend for lunch — change your habits and mix things up.”
When it comes to getting the most out of life, mindfulness interventions are all about living in the moment and moving against your unconscious routines. You’ll find they can improve your health.
That’s where a mindfulness-based stress reduction program can come in handy. “Mindfulness is basically a way to move from autopilot to manual control in your life,” says Rob. “It’s a practice of just being more aware of our unconscious habits, observing them and, over time, being able to influence them in a more positive direction.”
“Reflecting upon the things you do every day and asking yourself why you do these things is a great place to start. Eventually, as you practice becoming more aware of these habits, you’ll naturally become more present. And as you become more present, you’ll move out of your head and more into your heart — feeling life and experiencing it.”
Whether you know it or not, you use visualization every day — you envision what you want for lunch, where you want to go on vacation, the next step in your career and more. Sounds mundane but when used in conjunction with mindfulness training, it can actually be a very powerful thing.
“The power of visualization comes in when you make it a conscious practice,” explains Harsh. “By visualizing the things you truly want, like success, happiness and good health, you can communicate with your subconscious mind and tell it what you want to create in life.”
“Over time, you can break down any limiting belief, bust through any road block and step into your larger self, creating the life you’ve always dreamed of.”
Rob knows a thing or two about overcoming adversity. And when it comes down to it, he believes you, and you alone, can dictate how an obstacle will affect your life. “Ultimately the only obstacles that exist are the ones we create in our minds,” expresses Rob.
Rob’s found that every moment presents itself with the hidden potential for growth. “It’s all about changing the filter you look through. You can choose to look at adversity as something that is standing in your way, only resulting in pain, or you can look at it as a gift that’s here to teach you something.”
Re-framing your thoughts across the day is what mindfulness is all about. And when it comes to stress triggers, cognitive behavioral therapy can build a bridge to new and healthier insights. There’s liberation in looking clearly at a problem and objectively understanding how it impacts you.
“Once you create that positive mindset, things start to change direction. You start to develop more positive thoughts, behaviors and habits. These habits then give you the confidence to let go of limiting beliefs and have greater trust in the direction you’re headed,” said Harsh. By breaking free of the rut you’re in, you can adopt healthier and more holistic approach to life. And the benefits can be lasting.
In the end, it’s all about taking control over your thoughts, fears and emotions and embracing change for what it is. Learn to take down your roadblocks and move ahead in your dream pursuit! You never know what the future might hold, but welcoming it with open arms is a great place to start.
“Stepping towards the future can be scary at times,” says Rob. “But by having the right attitude and creating positive habits, you gain the courage to take the first step, and the next and the next, until you eventually have reached your destination.”
Want to hear more about Rob’s harrowing story? Listen in on Rob's recent conversation with Mitch Matthews (Opens in a new tab) on the Dream. Think. Do. Podcast (Opens in a new tab). And, for even more inspiration,join our dream movement today — we’ve got just the resources to help support and guide you along your dream journey.