"We have to recognize accident, i.e., the fact that there is no formula, no 'principle', which covers all things; that there is no totality or system of things. And this recognition at once supports a life of 'responsibility and adventure' and leads to scientific discovery." ~ John Anderson
Are responsibility and adventure equally essential in the grand scheme of things? Does life "happen" or is it planned? Or is it both? Life, after all, is much more art than science and many of the greatest moments, the most memorable achievements and the highest joys in life are often unplanned.
Could it be that the whole of responsibility and adventure, balanced together, are greater than the sum of the two separate parts? If so, how may we achieve the ideal balance for the greatest potential return?
I believe we should think in terms of discovery and maximizing the potential of its occurrence:
- Responsibility and adventure, each in their respective nature, are opposing forces. Both of them, however, share the same objective, which is discovery.
- Many discoveries begin with responsibility in the form of a plan. Historically, some of the greatest discoveries, however, were accidental, yet the original course of which still began with a scientific or planned objective. We have a strong case for responsibility.
- The discovery, however, is often made far away and beyond the shores of responsibility. At times discovery cannot be made without opening our minds to the possibilities and stretching our imagination and risk tolerance beyond the outer limits to capture the complete discovery potential. We also have a strong case for adventure...
We may logically deduce, therefore, that responsibility and adventure play important and quite essential roles in the process of discovery...
"No wind serves him who addresses his voyage to no certain port." ~ Michel de Montaigne
I've never been a proponent of the use of quantitative data to tell me what the future will hold for a largely qualitative -- that is, our life -- destination. With that said, however, moving forward without planning is foolish.
Goals are typically long-term endeavors that derive from responsibility and should be planned.
Ultimately, we should attempt to make responsibility the plan and make adventure the journey...
"A life without adventure is likely to be unsatisfying, but a life in which adventure is allowed to take whatever form it will is sure to be short." ~ Bertrand Russell
We must, therefore, come to the realization that responsibility and adventure should be balanced and also that one is not prudently practiced without the other:
- Responsibility points us toward a certain port. Adventure inspires an alternative route.
- Responsibility in absence of adventure and adventure in absence of responsibility are both consistent with self-defeating behavior and tend to be much more limiting than enabling.
- Responsibility is the plan. Adventure is the journey.
- Responsibility embraces the known. Adventure embraces the unknown.
- Responsibility minimizes risk. Adventure maximizes return.
- Responsibility employs science. Adventure employs art.
- Responsibility seeks the goal. Adventure seeks the reward.
- Responsibility is a choice; Adventure is a choice; Discovery can occur as a result of either; but the potential of discovery is maximized by some combination of the two.
"The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man." ~ Euripides
Balancing responsibility and adventure can be a challenge in itself but finding just the right balance is quite the struggle for many of us.
Whether you are planning a journey alone or with a spouse or a partner, the most important element of the journey is agreeing on the destination. Once the ultimate goal is clarified then the means of getting there becomes secondary. This destination should be something that brings meaning and purpose to your life; therefore, money enters the equation only as a tool to serve that meaning and purpose. This may be an oversimplification, but if we begin our journey with responsibility and open our minds to adventure along the way, we may be more successful and, more importantly, more fulfilled.
"Moderation, which consists in indifference about little things, and in a prudent and well-proportioned zeal about things of importance, can proceed from nothing but true knowledge, which has its foundation in self-acquaintance." ~ Plato
The remaining gaps in my simple frame of balancing responsibility and adventure should be filled by self-awareness. If you know yourself, you will be aware that you may lean too far toward responsibility or you may lean too far toward adventure. You may then make adjustments accordingly and moderation will be central to the success in balancing the two...
In summary, the path of your journey should not be a straight line, as absolute responsibility would have you do, and your path should not be without direction, as absolute adventure would have you do.
Much like an investment portfolio, it is most likely that a combination of responsibility and adventure will yield a much higher return with a lower level of risk than either of the two taken separately.
Ultimately, the greatest discovery is that of self-discovery, and it absolutely requires both responsibility and adventure in our journey to the destination of a meaningful existence...