New York Times

We’re all familiar with the concept of a mutual fund, right? A mutual fund is a box you put money into, and out the other side comes more money. Hooray!

You know what’s even more exciting than a mutual fund? An adventure.

An adventure is a box you put human beings into, and out the other side comes a more valuable human being. I don’t have to defend why that is a good investment, do I?

Just think about the world we inhabit. You set the temperature in your house at 70 degrees, you go to the office and it’s 70 degrees there, too, and then you hop into a car to go home and it’s still 70 degrees.

In a world where it often feels like everything is static, there is inherent value in reminding yourself that you can change. If it’s O.K. with you, I’d like to just call that an adventure.

Four years from now (barring a tragic accident), I will be 50 years old. That’s going to happen whether I commit to an adventure or not. I can spend that time sitting on the couch doing nothing useful, or I can spend it transforming into a better version of myself.

And in four years, you’ll be that much older, too. You might as well choose adventure. Personally, I can think of no better investment.

So here’s your challenge:

1. Pick an adventure. These don’t have to be physical, by the way. An adventure can be a detox from information addiction, a diet change, writing a cookbook, whatever. And here’s a hint: If an idea pops into your head but you find yourself immediately dismissing it as something you could never do … pick that!

2. Work backward. If your adventure is something you want to do three years from now, start there and work backward. Where do you need to be 24 months from now in order to make it happen 12 months later? What do you need to do, plan and save? What about 12 months from now? Six? Eventually, if you do this right, you’ll end up knowing what you need to do tomorrow. And that brings us to step number three …

3. Take action. Think of the next smallest step you need to take. I call that a micro-action. It’s an action so small it almost feels like it’s not worth doing. But do it. Repeat this step until the adventure’s finished.