Trailblazer. Pioneer. Adventurer. These are just a few of the words used to describe those identifying with the explorer archetype. They are willing to take risks and refuse to conform to the expectations of everybody around them.
Doing things that scare us is important, but what’s even more important is doing things that scare us for the sake of our own growth and happiness. Moving outside of the comfort zone requires courage and a strong dedication to our own happiness, which the archetypal explorer has in abundance.
Qualities of the Explorer
Explorers are elusive yet inspiring characters. Lovers of travel and change, explorers are dedicated to living a life that is highly authentic; they believe in following their soul’s calling and living for their own enjoyment, as opposed to the approval of others and comfort afforded by a more stable and predictable lifestyle. Non-conformists at heart, explorers cherish their autonomy, think for themselves, and have faith in their instincts and desires. This character’s love of freedom can make them feel restless or aimless in some circumstances, so having strong intentions ensures their journeys are meaningful. With a clear sense of purpose, the explorer is ambitious and driven, and admired for these qualities by all who fleetingly cross their path.
The explorer is timeless; yearning for change and progress is an integral part of human nature, true for people of all backgrounds and cultures across our entire history. In times of increasing global travel, the link between the explorer archetype and our worldwide adventuring is an obvious one, but we’re more interested in the ways we can integrate the explorer’s curious, captivating spirit into our daily lives, without the need to travel land and sea. The positive and negative qualities present in this archetype are rich with wisdom regarding how we align our lives with our dreams and live true to our wants and desires, even when these wants and desires are unexpected or unconventional. As explorers, we must ask ourselves if we are embarking on a new journey because it’s what we really want, or because we wish to escape a difficult patch on our current path. For those of us that find commitment difficult or have impulsive tendencies, this is especially crucial; living authentically is just as important to the explorer as being on the move.
Two practical ways of getting to know ourselves on this deeper level, are journaling and ‘checking in’. It’s possible to check in with ourselves at any time of day, and in any location, even the tube, train, or bus – anywhere that’s convenient! The practice itself is simple: take a few deep breaths, close your eyes (if that helps you detach from your surroundings), and take stock of how you feel, objectively and without any pressure on yourself to feel a certain way. Doing this regularly allows us to build up a clearer picture of how certain activities, places, and people affect our mood. If we regularly feel tense after meeting with particular colleagues, discussing certain topics, or doing certain things, then it may be helpful to consider small ways we can change either our attitude going into these situations or the situations themselves.
Happy, Mindful Explorers
Being able to take a step back and assess our situation objectively requires a lot of self-awareness. This process gets easier with practice and has the potential to transform our personal and professional lives, as well as increase our overall happiness, sense of purpose, and confidence in our own decisions. Don’t just take our word for it – there’s a lot of scientific evidence backing this idea, such as Kyoto University’s 2015 study, The Structural Neural Substrate of Subjective Happiness. Researchers in Kyoto found that objective thinking like this works part of the brain called the precuneus, which their study finds to be linked to greater overall happiness. By taking the time to assess our goals and getting to know ourselves better, it’s possible to not only feel more authentic, but happier too.
Tapping into explorer energy may be as simple as recognising when you feel trapped and choosing to breathe new energy into your daily routine. Equally, it may be as life-altering as deciding to change career, leaving your stable, but unrewarding job for the possibility of something that brings greater joy into your life. Finding new ways of doing things and having the confidence to suggest them to others can be an intimidating step for many of us, particularly if we lack confidence in our judgements and abilities.
Taking risks and trying new things, especially when we’re not expected to, is exactly the kind of unconventional behaviour we’d expect from trailblazing explorer types, and we believe wholeheartedly in the benefits of trusting your intuition and nurturing your dreams. The explorer inspires us to refocus our attention on the things that bring joy and satisfaction into our lives. By evaluating our choices and goals in this way we’re able to overcome the restrictions, both real and imagined, preventing us from achieving higher levels of fulfilment, confidence and happiness.