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7 Ways to be an Adventurer from the Movie Sahara

January 9th, 2008 by Ryan

Often times our daily lives can become stale or monotonous since so many of our jobs and hobbies reside online. 

What happened to the good old days of battling enemies, warding off plagues, and searching for buried treasures?  

Luckily for us (or unluckily), we needn't go any further then our own couch.  The story of Sahara embodies much of our idealistic sense of adventure as well as a rare example of the charming and masculine man of action played by Matthew McConaughey.  

If you haven't seen the movie yet, rent it or buy it.  McConaughey's character is worth it, and the story is quite entertaining as well (although a little cheesy).

The film's hero, played by McConaughey, is an ex-marine treasure hunter named Dirk.  Dirk searches the oceans and the deserts for history's buried treasures.  His latest hunt focuses on a mysterious boat from the civil war era which is rumored to have crossed the Atlantic ocean into Africa.

On their search, Dirk and his team meet up with a world health organization agent named Eva, played by Penélope Cruz, who is in hot pursuit of a disease which leads the group into a war-torn part of Africa.  They face many enemies and various challenging situations along the way. 

To get a taste of the movie, view the trailor below:

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In the movie, McConaughey's character Dirk embodies the perfect example of the rare masculine adventurer.  Below are some of the lessons he can teach us to bring out that adventurous part within us.

1) Become a Man of Action

One thing you don't see Dirk doing much of during this movie is thinking.  He goes balls to the walls in pretty much every scene.  In the opening scene is he recovering a sunken treasure while diving off a massive exploration ship. 

When he meets Eva, he is spear fishing off a raft and sees her in trouble then fights off her attackers.  Each time Dirk finds more clues about his mysterious boat, he figures out the next course of action and takes it.

The lesson is to make a decision quickly and then trust yourself and act immediately.  The reasons Dirk is able to decide so quickly is because he knows exactly what he wants and every action is either bringing him closer to that goal or farther away.  

How can you become a man of action? 

Figure out what you want in every situation and take action.  You want to improve your health, do some research online, find a health practitioner, make a health plan, start exercising.  Think for a short time to figure out a plan then do something!  If you're as much of a dreamer as I am, you enjoy imagining how wonderful life could be rather then simply living that life right now. 

When you feel that passion while dreaming ask yourself, "What action can I take right now to make this happen?"

In the words of Jim Rohn:

"What small but steady activities can I be doing today, that over a long period of time can lead to big, long-term results?"

2) Focus on the Next Step

Throughout the movie, Dirk finds himself in precarious (dangerously lacking in security or stability) situations, yet he never loses his drive and determination for getting what he wants.

How does he do this?  He puts his focus into getting the next step handled, rather than becoming overwhelmed or discouraged by looking at the destination.

When he first finds the rare gold coin in Africa, he knows he is getting closer to proving the civil war boat is nearby.  He travels to a town in search of the guy who found the coin only to discover he's dead. 

While his partner gives up, he decides to find the hall of records in that same town for another clue. 

He trusts the universe

This trust allows him to see opportunities that subtley speak to him leading him to the next clue.

How can you focus on the next step? 

Lao-tzu says it this way:

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

If you focus on the thousand miles you're likely going to be discouraged, as you're at 0 of 1000.  Though if you focus on just the next step, you're at 0 out of 1. 

It's easier to get your brain to do something just for a day, 365 times, rather than try to commit to doing something for a whole year when you have yet to do a single day. 

The best thing is, the more days you go, the easier it becomes for the brain to comprehend bigger clumps.  For example, let's say you want to exercise everyday for the next 2 years. 

What if you only committed to exercising for today, and tomorrow you did the same thing.  Then after a week you said "well, I've done one week, let's do another week" and after a month you say "well, I've done one month, let's do another one" and so on until you get to 2 years. 

It's so much easier because you have less psychological barriers in your way.

The same thing goes for traveling.  The times I've just "winged it" with my friends have been the most fun and when I've met the most interesting people.

So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed or stuck, ask yourself:

"What's the next step?" 

3) Have the Courage to Become Vulnerable 

While they are escaping from African soldiers, Dirk and his team accidentally enter another king's territory.  When Dirk realizes this, he tells his partner and Eva to drop all their weapons and move slowly with their hands on their head. 

Both of them are confused and reluctant to let go of their only protection in the middle of the desert but they trust him and comply.  

Dirk knows that in order to gain this leader's trust, he must make himself completely vulnerable.  This effort allows them to live and eventually meet the new leader who turns out to be a powerful ally. 

How can you become vulnerable?

This one I'm still working on.  What I do know is that it comes down to your own intuition.  You have all the guidance you need within yourself. 

Focus on finding the thought that feels the best and follow it until you find the path for you as well as the people who are worthy of your vulnerability.

One thing that this documentary on the problems of masculinity pointed out was that the mask many men wear to conceal their emotions is actually a form of protection. 

It then shows Mark Maguire as a true masculine example when he has the courage to become vulnerable during a news conference.

Think of it this way, is it easier to become vulnerable and expose your "true self" to others or to hide behind a mask? 

If they reject the mask then you can always tell yourself, "well that wasn't me anyway" and although it won't hurt as bad if something goes wrong, you'll miss out on those rare opportunities for someone to truly love the real you.

4) Stay on Your Path

Dirk knows where he is going and he focuses on reaching the next step along his journey.  Dirk stays true to his path even when others project their fears, doubts, and uncertainties onto him or the situation. 

He believes when no one else does.  The funny thing is that others start to believe in him because of it.

He pushes through the difficulties, and influences others with his vision.  He paints a picture of the boat and its treasure for his investor and transforms a hesitant skeptic to a hopeful supporter (by sharing the wealth also). 

He translates his path into terms others can see so they can join him.

How can you stay on your path? 

Once you find your mission and start living it, will you allow others to throw you off?  They will try to since they do not know what you know.  They don't feel what you feel.  They don't have the unique gifts that you do.  Will you trust yourself?

Meditate often and you will become more sure of your path.  When you are aligned with your purpose, the actions necessary will be clear to you.  

When you feel that joy on your search you will know you're headed in the right direction.

5) Develop a Resourceful Attitude

Dirk and his partner are captured and transported through the desert in the back of a pickup truck.  While his partner starts to worry about where they are, Dirk is already figuring out a way to escape.  

Once they do escape, they wander through the desert and come upon a wrecked, one-wing aircraft.  Dirk tells his partner, "I'll bet you a 100 there's a toolkit in there."  He replies "I don't want to rain on your crazy parade buddy…but I don't think we can fix this thing!" 

When his partner sees trash, Dirk sees opportunity.  They aren't able to repair the airplane, of course, but they are able to turn it into a one wing desert-sailing car.

How can you develop a resourceful attitude?

It really comes down to how you train your mind to work.  Are you problem focused or solution focused? 

When you are problem focused, you see the current reality and are almost attached to it, sort of like a poor-me stance.  When you are solution focused, you see the potential reality and welcome new and crazy ideas.  

When I brainstorm I often like to throw around any and all ideas that come to me, no matter how crazy.  Why?  Because sometimes a crazy idea may not be the answer, but it may stimulate within me a new idea that could be the answer I needed.

6) Be Willing to Let Go

When Dirk and his partner finally find a small truck stop in the desert, they have nothing to offer of value in exchange for a ride back to town.

Luckily Dirk had hidden the rare gold coin on him.  Even though this coin is the only solid proof that he has of his mysterious boat, he decides to trade it for a safe ride out of the desert and back to civilization.

The coin represents everything that he's worked for, the evidence to prove to others that his idea is right.  The catch is that in order for him to even have a chance at finding the boat, his true goal, he must let go of everything he has gained and face the unknown.

How can you let go?

When life comes to take away the fish in exchange for the skill of fishing, will you give it up? Can you see beyond your current reality? 

In order to grab the next rung of the ladder, you must release the last one, otherwise you won't get anywhere.  The moment in between the rung you are holding and the next rung is that moment of vulnerability and uncertainty. 

To climb the ladder you must be willing to cross through this moment, over and over again until you reach the top.  But then again, will the ladder of life ever end?

If you want to change your life, ask yourself "What is it that I am holding onto that no longer serves me."

For me, I recently let go of a computer game that consumed a lot of my attention.  I could intuitively feel that it no longer served me and so I let it go and my life has been improving daily due to my extra time and energy. 

7) Develop Charm and Charisma

When Dirk and Eva are in the team's speedboat, Eva tells him "This must be nice….to have this as your office." Dirk replies, "Hell, every great thing that's ever happened to me happened in the water." Then he looks into her eyes, smiles and says "every one."  

If you recall from the first point, Dirk met Eva while he was spearfishing in the water.  So when he is speaking about great things happening, he is subtly and indirectly implying that meeting her was a great thing though she can't be absolutely sure. There is a little bit of mystery.  

In the next scene Dirk does the same thing when he indirectly asks her out.  He does a little role playing with her and has some fun with the process and she loves it. 

Being charming isn't something he does for the ladies only, he is charming in every interaction.   

When his partner tells him "A bottle says we never find it." He replies, "Make it a case."  The underlying vibe is that he is enjoying himself and sees life as one big game that's fun to play.

How can you develop charm and charisma? 

This one comes down to living with an open heart.  I really believe humor comes from the heart and a person who can laugh is a person that can love.  That is probably why women like guys that are funny since it's a way for their own heart to open more.

The best way I've found to do this is with the heart chakra meditation from Revive Your Sex Drive.  Do that everyday for a week and as your heart opens you'll find yourself delighted by even things that used to annoy you. 

At this place, you will be able to magically see the funny side of everything and people will be drawn into your fun and happy energy.

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8 Responses to “7 Ways to be an Adventurer from the Movie Sahara”

  1. Bart Says:

    I loved this movie, it was a lot of fun for me.

    I got me thinking on how to “Have the courage to be vulnerable”, and for me it has a large component of trust. In addition to trust, I guess there is a good deal of allowing things to happen to you (or not happen to you) and accepting that.

    It’s a tricky one to define, and as such really piqued my interest. I’d love to hear what you other guys have to say.

    I came up with 3 ideas.

    1. You can gather the courage to trust others, the circumstance, or the universe to not fundamentally damage you and relax.

    2. You use courage to trust yourself enough that whatever happen in this circumstance you can handle the dangers unprotected.

    3. You can have enough courage to accept the unknown, thereby accepting whatever the consequences could be, good or bad. This may be related to accepting your destiny or fate.

    Anyway, nice post.

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  3. Evan Says:

    Thanks Ryan.

    I really like how you emphasise that masculinity can go with vulnerability.

    Probably the one I find most difficult it charm. Brought up a serious evangelical I find it easy to equate charm with fake. A few years ago I learned that courtesy has to do with speaking from your heart. This helps.

  4. Ryan Says:

    Hey Bart, wow man you always add great info to these posts, thanks man. Evan too, glad to hear it helped. Charm is quite an elusive one and speaking from the heart is a great way to start.

  5. Bart Says:

    Ryan, saying that makes me feel good. Sometimes I hesitate, because I don’t want to be some “know it all” on some other guys’ blog.

    If I may wax poetic, your posts are smooth drum beats, late at night, emanating from the out-school jazz club, and I as a passerby, cannot help but riff-off the rhythms, joining in with the music.

    Seriously, at the heart of what you are saying throughout your blog, beyond the words, is compelling music. I just don’t see why other guys aren’t chiming in more.

    Then again, maybe I’m just a precocious loudmouth.

    Who is ridiculously good looking.

  6. Ryan Says:

    Lol, well either way I’m glad you stick around.

  7. Jared Says:

    I am impressed that you can even relate a movie to life.
    Good Post nonetheless.

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