The Adventure Zone

Operating at Our Peak

In any given moment we are operating in one of three zones. These zones are our Comfort, Challenge and Survival Zones. The zone that we are operating in will determine how well we can adapt to the situation we are in, how much focus is required to perform the tasks that we are doing, and how well we will remember what we have done after the fact.

Comfort Zone: This is where we spend most of our lives. Being in our comfort zone can range from feeling bored to experiencing flow. When we are in our comfort zone, tasks are easy and familiar. Because we are not being challenged, we are able to focus on many different things at once and to process information at a high level. Being in the comfort zone is stress free.

Challenge Zone: When we are exposed to an increase in adversity, we will be forced out of our comfort zone and into our challenge zone. This is also sometimes referred to as our learning zone. This is where we need to be if we want to improve our skills, learn new things and have new experiences. As a result, this is the zone where adventure happens. When we are in our challenge zone, we are still able to perform at a high level. However, to accomplish this, more of our focus is required on the task at hand. This means that to perform well, our attention needs to be on what we are doing. To succeed, we need to be living in the moment. Being in the challenge zone can be exhilarating and rewarding. When we spend time in the challenge zone and we succeed, our comfort zone will grow. 

Survival Zone: If the adversity increases enough, our capacity for handing it will become overwhelmed and we will find ourselves in our survival zone. This zone is sometimes referred to as our chaos zone. When we enter our survival zone, our ability to react to the stresses put up on us becomes taxed to the point where our survival instincts take over. When it comes to skiing and snowboarding, our instincts are often counter to what we need to do to perform well. When we are in the survival zone, our focus narrows to the point where we can only concentrate on the task at hand. Even then, it becomes difficult to think and react fast enough. Being in the survival zone is stressful. If we are exposed to enough adversity, eventually we will become overwhelmed and incapacitated. The survival zone is where misadventure happens.

When it comes to achieving adventure for us and delivering it to others, the objective should be to create an environment where everyone is operating in their challenge zone. Under certain circumstances, some people will be able to handle going just into the bottom of their survival zone. This sweet spot is where our adventure zone lies.

The Feeling of Adventure

Adventure feels exciting, challenging and sometimes stressful. What is shouldn’t feel is overwhelming. This is a mistake that many people make when they deliver adventure.

When we become overwhelmed to the point that our instincts take over, we risk making mistakes, building negative memories, and eventually becoming incapacitated. All of these things can lead to misadventure.

The key to delivering adventure is to manage the level of adversity in a way that allows everyone to feel challenged, but not overwhelmed. 

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