Here's a question: What do several Hollywood movie stars and directors, a Formula One racing champion, numerous high-profile CEOs, ambassadors, and even a few members of the world's royal families have in common? Answer: They all have children who once were coached, taught, or mentored by ELS director Will Sutherland.
The impact [of completing an outdoor adventure course] doesn't just take the form of a thrill, it takes the form of a revelation: "OMG, I can't believe I just did that. Wow! What else might be possible?" Indeed—all sorts of things. There's an enormous satisfaction that comes not only from overcoming your own self-doubts, but in realizing so many new possibilities. And when goals become more ambitious, motivation and grit inevitably emerge. True self-confidence spawns self-discipline. Organizing towards future objectives becomes second-nature.
James Wallman, writing in Fast Company (June 2015), cites seven reasons, backed by research, why money spent on experiences generally trumps money spent on material things when it comes to making us happy. Not that this should be news, but...
A number of years ago, several of us involved in the European Leadership School attended boarding school In Switzerland—in a ski resort no less. We skied almost every day. In those days learning how to ski was painful; you spent more time on your rear end than standing upright. But after you got the hang of it, the sport grew on you. And by the end of the season you were hooked. You couldn't imagine life without a mountain and ski lift in your back yard.
Sailing a classic yacht is the same sort of proposition. The first day bobbing up and down in the water, trying to figure out what you're doing, can be a little unnerving. But by the end of the first week, you're addicted. And by the end of the course, you feel like some sort of James Bond—smoothly operating at a new altitude in magical European destinations. (For what it's worth, we think our cutters are cooler (if less luxurious) than that boat Daniel Craig and Eva Green used to make their entrance into Venice in Casino Royale.) Anyway, sailing, like skiing, is a sport you simply have to try to fully appreciate. Video images on a screen don't do it justice. And yachting should come with a warning: potentially mind altering.