The Adventure of Self-Discovery
Christopher McCandless was a young American man who made the decision to leave behind all his possessions and what little money he had to move to Alaska, live in contact with nature, and find meaning in life. He had begun his exciting adventure towards self-discovery.
If you want to know the incredible story of Christopher McCandless finding his true self, you should watch the film Into the Wild, masterfully directed by Sean Penn, or read the book of the same name written by Jon Krakauer, which inspired the film.
But does this mean that we all have to travel to snowy places, deep woods, and vast grasslands to start the adventure towards self-discovery? Of course not, although it’s not a bad idea.
However, the adventure of self-discovery includes voyages, getaways, long conversations, and encounters with amazing places that can change your way of perceiving yourself as a person. But the destination is much closer than Alaska. The place where you should direct yourself is your own mind, heart, and true self.
The adventure towards self-discovery: preparing for the journey
The first stage in the wonderful journey towards self-discovery is possibly the most difficult, because you have to move muscles that you’ve never moved before, and that’s not an easy task. Jean Piaget once said that “if an individual is passive intellectually, they’ll never be free morally.”
Getting up and moving is a difficult process. First you have to be aware of your immobility, and then you have to convince yourself to start the journey. Afterwards, you have to pack your suitcase with everything you’ll need for the journey.
There’s a good number of preparations to be made in order to start the adventure of self-discovery, because the journey is undertaken from the deepest parts of your being, from which there is no turning back. The pillars of your own existence will take a beating, and you need to be prepared for it.
Starting the journey
The first difficult step has been taken. All the preparations have been made and the journey has begun. The scene before you is as exciting as it is intriguing. You might experience fear, dizziness, and terror, but it’s best to not turn back. The destination will be worth it.
George Bernard Shaw once said that “few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.” Don’t forget that you’ll have to go through the same process that brought this philosopher and thinker to exercise his mind almost daily.
But where does the journey begin? It’s actually both simple and complicated at the same time. Your journey starts with questions like “who am I really?” “why am I here?” “what do I want?” and “where do I want to go?”
“If we only stop to think about the little things, we’ll come to understand big things.”
Into the wild
You’ve prepared all your luggage and set forth. Now the time has come to advance into the wild. Walk in an unfamiliar direction and delve deeper and deeper into your thought processes, the nature of your emotions, and the reality of your feelings.
You’ll notice that as you move along the path towards your own essence, the following assertion by Jean-Paul Sartre will become more apparent: “my thoughts are me, therefore I can’t end. I exist because I think, and I can’t avoid thinking.”
The beginning of the journey was difficult. Leaving your comfortable existence to wander aimlessly into the abyss of your mind and heart was truly disorienting. Nevertheless, as you advance, you notice that the path is becoming clearer, brighter, and easier. Your own reasoning and emotions are starting to become clearer. You are you, and you are discovering yourself.
Arriving at the destination
Now you notice that it’s taking less and less effort to think. You’ve dusted off all the corners of your mind, and your heart is moving steadily towards your true self. Now you can fully understand this quote by Marco Aurelio: “a man’s life is what his thoughts make of it.” And your thoughts are real and sincere.
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts and made up of our thoughts.”
Thanks to the adventure of self-discovery, you know yourself better as a person. Your situation in life, your desires, your goals, the value of your emotions, your hopes and dreams, and your capacity to love everything around you, whether it be nature, family, friends, acquaintances, etc.
Now you know your limits, your strengths, and your weaknesses. Now you know who you are and what you want. You’ve arrived at your destination, but the adventure doesn’t stop here. There’s no turning back, and there’s no taking breaks. There’s always something new to find, new places to visit, and new passions to enjoy, but now you know how to recognize them because you know who you are and what you’re really looking for.