Adrenaline and MRO: Growth vs. Dopamine Dependence

Tags Moose River Outpost

Adrenaline Junkie… its a powerful term usually used in reference to the outdoor sports world. It conjures to mind an image of a Monster Energy Drink-toting rebel, ripping huge flips off a jump on any of a myriad of wheeled devices. There are mountain Bikers, kayakers, wakeboarders, rock climbers, and many others that bear, and fit, the stereotype. At MRO, we mountain bike, kayak, wakeboard and rock climb. “Adventure” is a part of our core values. So are we adrenaline junkies? And if we are, how come no one’s giving us free energy-drink sponsorships?

DSCN1435 The reason for our lack of buzz-inducing beverages is, of course, because we’re not adrenaline junkies. We’re not even really participants in the growing “extreme sports” scene. We’re in this for something else.

Extreme sports is about pushing “the envelope.” What the envelope is, what sort of mail it encloses, and what surface we’re shoving it across is perhaps grounds for a different blog post. For now though, let’s acknowledge that pushing the boundaries of our physical abilities produces a number of results: It produces a feeling of accomplishment. it produces a physical release of dopamine in our bodies related to feelings of fear and physical exertion. Finally, it produces a great number of broken bones, and mind-blowing YouTube videos.

What makes MRO’s approach to adventure sports different is that we’re not interested in “pushing” indefinitely. We want to stretch, grow, and develop new skills, so that means recreating in the space outside of our comfort zones, but the “pushing” is a means to an end. At MRO, we’re interested in growth. We “embrace adventure” in an effort to capture the feelings of accomplishment that come from trying new things and the confidence-building emotional momentum that comes with that.

We’re less interested in pushing boundaries as an end unto itself. Admittedly, that limits our potential for YouTube fame (or infamy), and sugary-drink sponsorship, but we believe it’s a reliable way to grow, and for us that’s much more important. There’s an addictive quality in constantly feeling out the point at which skill, luck, and adrenaline meet, and admittedly, we’re just not interested in that. Safety is always our primary concern, so that kind of blind searching for the edge just won’t work here. We’re after something bigger and longer lasting. We’re lovers of the outdoors, proponents of adventure, and even slaves of Christ, but we’re junkies of nothing.

So the next time you see the x-Games on ESPN7, enjoy the show. Those athletes are amazing and we respect their mastery of their respective disciplines. Remember though, that mountain biking, kayaking, climbing, and all the rest are sports that don’t have to be about pushing. They can be about growing, learning, and enjoying. Now if we could just figure out how to get a drink sponsorship for that…

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