Being an adventurer

We all started out as adventurers when we were young children, but somehow we seem to lose this important characteristic.

You have already seen how the brain is continually trying to search out information and make sense of it. You have also seen how it likes to form patterns and make connections. The most successful learners use the patterning tendency of their mind but do not get too set in the ways they think about things. (There is more about this creative aspect of learning later in this section.) They are always searching, inquiring, and wanting to find out more. They are adventurers who don't mind challenging accepted ways of doing things, are open to being spontaneous, and are prepared to take calculated risks. As you will recall from the section on learning and personality types in Chapter 4, each person will, of course, express their adventurousness differently.

Hilary Cropper is a good example of someone who does not like formal learning but clearly has a spirit of adventure. Indeed, at the FI Group she has made a name for herself as someone who advocates joint ventures as a way of trading. She says of herself:

I hate being taught anything. But I love being put into situations where I don't know what to do and can explore completely new ground.

Sir Bob Reid has similar instincts:

It's vital that you engage young business people's sense of adventure. You must send them out to do things which are beyond them and then be patient with them as they learn. You must invest in risk..

When you catch yourself saying things like "I couldn't possibly do it like that," you may be becoming set in your learning ways. To rediscover a spirit of adventure, seek out some simple, not too challenging but significantly different ways of doing things.

1 Try this simple exercise to get you in the right frame of mind. Sit on a chair with your knees out to the front and your hands by your side. Cross your legs. Uncross them. Cross them again. What do you notice? Did you cross the same leg over the other each time? If so, why? Now, cross your legs the other way. Stand up. Fold your arms over your chest. Let your arms drop down by your side. Refold them. Let them drop again. Did you cross the same arm over the other each time? Now, cross your arms the other way. Was it easy?

Most people naturally cross their leading leg over the other one when they cross their legs, but find it very easy to do it the other way round. With arms, most people find the opposite crossing a little more difficult, but can easily learn it. You can, in fact, almost feel your brain working out the new sense of cross-laterality as you do this! Crossing your arms the unnatural way is an image of what is involved when you try to relearn your adventurous spirit.

Here are some more simple ideas:

♦ Ask your partner or a friend to arrange an evening out with you, doing something of their choice, when all you know is what time you need to meet up.

♦ Try a different mode of transport to get to work for a day.

♦ Go to a concert of a kind of music that you don't normally listen to.

♦ Organize a visit to a business that is apparently nothing like yours and make a note of what you could learn for your place of work.

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