Why People Find Enjoyment From Dangerous Activities

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. -Helen Keller


There are many things in this world people find enjoyment from, and the list is literally endless. Simple things can bring pleasure such as the laugh of a child, cookies and milk, and sitting in the sun. But there are other things that people do which make them happy that otherwise, if it wasn’t for the enjoyment factor, would simply just be considered dangerous. Between spelunking, ice climbing, mountaineering, skydiving, white water rafting, surfing, and any other activity that could be considered “extreme,” there is no end to the number of ways people could put themselves in the way of danger, all for the sake of having fun.

But Why?

Isn’t it odd that people would willingly do such dangerous things as swimming with sharks and squirrel-suit skydiving? What drives a person to go big mountain skiing, or base-jumping? There is most definitely a risk of life and limb when doing these activities, and yet people tend to flock toward whatever is said shouldn’t or couldn’t be done. As though the ego steps in, over takes logic and reason, and pushes a person toward achieving the unbelievable.

Are they adrenaline junkies? Do they want the prestige for doing what few others can? Is there that much happiness to be had from such extreme activities? Imagine for a moment, the countless number of people that have died trying to climb Mt. Everest. Now imagine the number of people who have lost limbs, fingers, noses, ears, and toes trying to conquer that mountain. Why? It’s been climbed to death, yet still there are people who want to try and climb it without oxygen. They want to try a new path they think is marginally harder, or has never been taken.

These things may have made sense back in the day, when so much of the world was unknown, and there were frontiers abound to explore. But nowadays, we know what’s at the top of Mt. Everest, we know what sharks look like close up. We can see all these on the Internet, read them in books, or watch a documentary on television. So why then, if it’s not for exploration, if it’s not for prestige, what is left to cause a person to risk their life doing such activities? Well I think I have an idea, and others have certainly shared this thought with me.

Our Inherent Spirit Of Adventure

It wouldn’t make much sense that people do these things for the prestige, because many people are unknown for their deeds. So therefore they couldn’t expect that in return. Most people are not adrenaline junkies per se, it’s not as though they can’t live without doing these things, or get the jitters when without it for too long. So therefore that couldn’t be the purpose either.

The reason people are able to willingly put themselves in danger is two fold as far as I can tell. One being that we as humans do indeed have a spirit of adventure. We’re curious to see for ourselves what this planet and our lives have to offer, because those offerings are close to endless. We’re able to put ourselves in dangerous situations because the thrill of adventure is enough to negate our sensible side of staying safe.

The other reason is the same as Helen Keller so aptly put forth. That putting yourself in the way of danger is no safer, in the long run, than trying to outright avoid it. That life, as she put it, is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all. This point makes more sense when you consider the phrase, “you only live once.” Which is true, so why then cut short the experiences in our single life due to a fear of loosing it entirely. It will one day be lost regardless of the danger you put yourself in, so why not enjoy this one experience while we can?

It would behoove many of us to take this lesson to heart. This doesn’t have to mean you go climb Mt. Everest, or go skydiving, as those things aren’t for everyone. But we should take note of what others are willing to gamble, because as we all well know, without risk, there is little reward.

The author of this article was Damien S. Wilhelmi. If you enjoyed this piece, you can follow me on Twitter @TheWorldVoyager. Certain activities aren’t for everyone, but many people could still enjoy such things as Rafting Colorado to fulfill their sense of adventure.

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