The Gaiman Principle of Adventure

Neil Gaiman, described a systems-based adventure standard, in a 2012 commencement speech when he said the following, “I tended to do anything as long as it felt like an adventure, and to stop when it felt like work, which meant that life did not feel like work.”

It seems simple, but this system was a significant contributor in establishing Neil Gaiman as a prolific fiction writer. It gave him the slack and the space to unapologetically work on his craft. What if more implemented that system to ensure that the decisions made led to adventure and not passionless work? How would the world change? 

But wait, “What does Neil Gaiman mean by adventure and work?” I don't know what he meant, but here is what the dictionary says...

'Adventure' is:

A verb
To engage in a hazardous and exciting activity, especially the exploration of unknown territory.
'Work' is:

A verb
To be engaged in physical or mental activity in order to achieve a purpose or result, especially in one's job; as a means of earning income; employment.

With these definitions in mind, we ought to take incremental steps towards things that are exciting, exploratory, and may involve hazard or risk. Additionally, we should do our best to avoid things where the only reason we do them is for the income. By doing so, we are building a life that feels like an adventure and not like work. 

Does this feel like adventure.png


Choosing adventure is difficult because, most often, there is no clear path. Choosing passionless work is easy. Each day, you just have to show up and someone else tells you what to do. It is easy to follow, and simple to do what you are told. It requires little upfront thought, and only follow through to meet the status quo. It is much more work to lead others.

It is understood that people need income to pay the bills, I get that. I also believe that when you let your passions fall by the wayside, you are only letting yourself down. If you have further excuses to tell yourself regarding a lack of time, visit the following link;

The truth is passionless work is not sustainable.

I leave you with Neil’s parting words;

“So be wise, because the world needs more wisdom, and if you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise, and then just behave like they would…

And now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art”

You can find the whole speech here at: