Why Are People Thrill-Seekers?
It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do. There is always a time when you’d come seeking thrills when life gets boring. Perhaps a risky investment, watching a really scary movie, or an extreme sport or activity. And if these moves pay off, you’ll get a sense of fulfilment for achieving what you previously thought was impossible. Over time, you’ll want to do them again; not necessarily for the tangible rewards, but just for the heck of it.
So why is that? Why are humans seemingly natural thrill-seekers? There are several explanations.
It begins and ends with evolution. Our ancestors did what they had to do to survive. The earliest humans (and human ancestors) will not survive if they weren't willing to try unfamiliar things. Humanity wouldn't have evolved past using primitive stone tools. So that means you can thank prehistoric thrill-seekers and risk-takers for today’s modern society.
This is the first important aspect of the behavior. The next aspect doesn’t necessarily involve survival, but rather the trivial ‘just for the heck of it’ mentality. It’s all because of dopamine.
Dopamine controls your reward and pleasure sensations. It makes you not just see the rewards from a certain activity, but compel you to move in order to get them. In short, it makes you think, “That looks very exciting. I’m gonna do it. Hold my beer.”
And it’s not just dopamine, too. During an activity where you feel a thrilling sensation, your body also produces stuff like adrenaline and serotonin. Combine this with dopamine and you get a cocktail of pleasurable sensations that thrill-seekers compare to a drug-induced “high.” Since this sensation makes people feel good, they tend to seek it over and over again.
Humans have the tendency to want to be tougher. No one likes being pushed around, right? You know you don’t. There is an innate feeling of pride in oneself no matter how far up or down one is in the social ladder.
One can argue that this can also influence thrill seeking. You feel good about yourself for accomplishing things other people deem impossible. For instance, people may seek things that actually terrify them, because they live in a society that values toughness. Experts call this counterphobic behavior. Remember, however, that this is just one of numerous (still undiscovered) reasons that can reinforce counterphobic behavior, and by extension, thrill seeking.
“Natural” Thrill Seekers
There are those among us who seek thrills on a regular basis. These are the daredevils—the Evel Knievels and Felix Baumgartners of our time. You can count daring explorers among this list, too. Folks like these have made careers and millions of fans across the world for death-defying stunts.
Are you easily bored and always looking for some sort of stimulation? Experts broadly consider this trait as a sign of extroversion. People tend to think that extroverts are the typical “party animals” and those who constantly crave social interaction. In truth, they’re not content with just social interaction. Stimulating situations such as sex, travel, and extreme sports activities are among the stuff that extroverts seek.
There are several studies that may identify a so-called “thrill-seeking” gene. Experts say that this gene commonly involves greater responses to unexpected rewards. As a result, people with these gene find unexpected stuff even more thrilling. Couple these with normal human qualities (for instance, people tend to seek risk to avoid losses), and the thrill-seeking tendency increases further. The catch is, however, scientists haven’t identified the exact name of the gene yet.
Go Out And Try New Experiences!
Always remember these words: we are not born just to work, pay bills, and die. Life is full of wonderful things. Thrill-seeking, no matter how profound it is, is a fact of life. The willingness to try different experiences is a gift from our ancestors, and thus something that everyone must take advantage of. Go out and make memories, so you can tell people that you’ve truly lived life.