Tyler Tervooren Explains The Contrarian Lifestyle

April 1, 2013
How “choosing the path less-traveled” can lead to unexpected opportunities to enrich your life.


From time to time, the Support4Change Blog will feature guest posts from Tyler Tervooren from Advanced Riskology. Tyler’s inspiring posts advance his mission to “help everyone I can to take smarter and more beneficial risks in their lives.”


Path in the woods

The Contrarian Lifestyle Explained
by Tyler Tervooren, Advanced Riskology

In my opinion, a life lived right includes a healthy dose of adventure.

If you grow smarter, faster, and wiser by taking risks, then pursuing adventure is one way to expose yourself to more of them.

As the world wakes up again to the virtues of risk-taking and adventure, someone always seems to come around to make it easier—to take the risk out of the… risk.

An example of this is the industry of organized adventure travel. No longer do you have to do anything yourself to experience the wonder and danger of the world; instead, you can pay someone to show it to you from a distance.

While I was climbing Mt. Elbrus from the North side last year, there were climbers on the South taking a gondola to the summit.

If you’re looking for a shortcut, by all means, take it! If you need help getting started, ask for it. But it’s best to remember that you can’t take the risk out of risk-taking. That’s called “sure-thing” taking and the results are not the same.

Sometimes “sure-thing taking” feels a lot like true adventure. The way you can tell if it is, though, is by honestly asking yourself what you’ve achieved once you’re done.

If the answer is “a new perspective of myself,” then congrats, you’ve had a true adventure!

But if it’s superficial—”I saw some cool things and met some cool people, but I’m basically the same as when I left”—then perhaps you’ve been cheated.

True adventure changes you.

When you return from a true adventure, you are not the same person you were when you left. And there’s no mistaking this realization. It’s either there or it isn’t.

And true adventure, in my opinion, can only really be achieved by living what I like to call the contrarian lifestyle—by deliberately choosing the path less traveled.

The Decision: A Contrarian’s Moment to Shine

Pursuing a life of adventure also means pursuing the life of a contrarian.

It means looking at all the options available to you and intentionally choosing the unpopular one. Sometimes that means making an uncomfortable choice. But this is only in the beginning. Most contrarians grow to enjoy discomfort. They thrive on it.

If you decide to be a contrarian in your own life, don’t be surprised if you start to find yourself more comfortable with discomfort than convention.

The first time you realize you feel this way is something to be cherished. Welcome to the club! You’re now primed for true adventure in your own life.

Of course, these kinds of decisions are not easy to make. They require commitment and discipline that can only come through some hardship.

No one expects you to get this right every time. But you ought to expect yourself to try.

Even through careful planning, these are decisions that have to be made in the moment because there will always be that little doubt in the back of your mind that, screaming with it’s last breath, begs you to turn and run with the herd.

But the contrarian knows better. She knows that the best moments in life come from true adventure, and she makes the hard decision anyway. She turns and goes her own way.

Whatever true adventure you might be looking for in your own life, I hope you’ll adopt the principles of the contrarian and pursue it:

  • Defy convention
  • Remain true to your own ideals
  • Make unpopular decisions

Question for you: Where’s your true adventure? And how will you make sure you pursue it even when the world tells you to take the easy road?

 Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


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