What Surfing Taught Me About How to Do Life
GROWING UP, DID YOU HAVE ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT YOU GOT SO USED TO THAT IT SEEMED LIKE SECOND NATURE - LIKE EVERYONE JUST NATURALLY KNOWS HOW TO DO IT TOO?
We all have talent. We all have some kind of light inside us that is just waiting to be shown to the world and to be used for good. But when something comes naturally to us, we sometimes think that everyone else knows how to do it too.
So we keep it hidden. And we never learn from it. Nor do we give others the benefit of learning from it either.
Growing up, surfing was something that came to me like second nature. The first time I remember trying it I was about 8 or 9 years old and I stood up on my first try.
I'm sure the fact that I grew up in a surfing town, watching all of the pros, helped a lot - and we'll get back to why that's important later.
I never got really good at surfing as a kid. I kind of got bored with the scene (as I do with so many things) and I moved on to other things.
But, looking back, I've realized that, even though I wasn't one of those kids that got obsessed with chasing the next big wave, riding the wave itself has taught me some huge lessons about life.
I'll share them with you today:
#1. Learning to navigate life is just the same as riding a wave.
As with riding a wave, and so with life, you've got to know when to lean in, when to lean back and when to make turns in order to stay above water and really enjoy the ride.
When you paddle into a wave you've got to quickly stand up on the board and put all of your weight forward. You've got to really go for it. And if you hold back, you'll likely wipe out, which ultimately leads to an uncomfortable amount of salt water up your nose. #netipotcity
Another thing is, if you don't turn with the direction and flow of the wave, and make slight adjustments as you're moving along, you'll find yourself veering off or riding against the wave and that just doesn't work - no matter how hard you try.
The same goes for life. Once you want to start something, you've got to learn how to trust your intuition and instincts to make a quick decision about how you're going to do it, and then really lean into it to get that momentum going. Then, of course, you've got to step back at times to make slight adjustments and, finally, the most important part - learn to enjoy the ride.
#2. There is always something bigger than me - and that's ok because I'm still a part of it.
How funny and egotistical we humans are to think that we are the biggest, the best, and the most powerful beings on this planet.
Ha! Ever been in the Pacific Ocean? She'll slap your sweet ego right in the face if you try to one-up her. But the cool thing is that when you have the intention of co-existing and even playing with her she'll bring more wonder to your life than you could have possibly imagined.
Surfing taught me that the ocean is a powerful force of nature, just as I am, but rather than trying to control it, it feels really, really good to be present and to be at one with it.
And that's something we can all learn about life, in general. The more present we are with one another, the less we try to control, and the more we recognize that we're all inter-connected anyway, the better pleasure we'll get out of life.
#3. It's ok to fail - A LOT.
As I said before, when you're learning how to surf, chances are you'll wipe out - A LOT.
And that's to be expected. But, you know what? You'll get yourself back on that board and try again, won't you?
Why don't we put the same expectations on ourselves in life? Why do we think it's not ok to fail a lot in life?
I think it's because when you're doing something like surfing, you're in the flow, you're using your guts and your instincts, you believe that the tenacity will bring a huge reward, and you give yourself no other choice but to move forward.
And with life? Maybe we get too much into our heads.
Let's get out of our heads, shall we? And give ourselves the permission to fail...and to be relentless about doing what we love because we know that it will pay off.
And finally, #4. Take inspiration from others and then take inspired action.
As I said in the beginning, I learned how to stand up on a surfboard my first time trying because I spent years watching the pros.
I took note of what they did, how they moved with the wave, how they course-corrected when they needed to, how they dug in, how they gracefully (and oftentimes really ungracefully) fell and got back up again.
This is how I do life AND business. I observe and learn from the pros and then I get inspired to start taking inspired action and I get to avoid some of the mistakes that they've made.
And it wasn't until recently that I realized that it's SO ok to let go, to make mistakes, to fall (fail) and to get back up again, because by watching the pros who've done so, I've seen that after the fall comes a HUGE rise.
Surfing has kept me grounded, given me some amazing highs, and taught me many lessons about life that I'm so happy to share with you here.
And even though it was surfing that came naturally to me, I'm sure there's something that you experienced in life that came naturally to you and gave you the gift of so many lessons.
Will you share those lessons, those gifts, with us? Drop a comment with me on Facebook.
WITH LOVE + ALOHA,