Life lessons I learnt from surfing.
We grow up looking for the answers to life’s most pressing questions. Should I strive to be a successful professional? Is it the right moment to be a Dad/Mum? Is it better to buy a house or a vehicle now? However, quite often we fail to ask ourselves the crucial questions, Do I really enjoy what I am doing? Does it make me happy? Do I truly understand who I am and what I am capable of? Although getting these answers may take some time, pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones is what allows us to get the proper answers faster.
An opportunity presented itself over the weekend, I was asked to go camping and surfing. For someone like me, making plans involves preparing as much as possible and even evaluating associated risks; ideas such as, “I have no idea how to surf, what if I got injured?” ran through my head. Not to mention the difficulties I was facing at that time. Full of doubts, I ended up going, doubts that stayed with me until I put my suit on, and, after a quick training on how to surf, I jumped into the ocean. Inevitably, I found myself in one of the happiest times of my life. The adventure was followed by hours of conversation and an evening fire at the beach, which offered me a break from life’s challenges.
I couldn’t stop thinking about how similar this experience is to our everyday life. I felt so alive when I challenged myself to do something I had never done before, and it reminded me that I can accomplish everything I set my mind to. I couldn’t even surf the first few waves; they threw me away, and I was also continuously smashed by the board. I was on the verge of giving up because I was so tired of trying, but I was determined to at least stand on the board. After at least an hour of struggling, I was finally able to stand up for a few seconds while the waves carried me forward. Those few seconds up there were priceless.
Life is essentially what you do in a matter of seconds while surfing. To begin with, you must make an informed decision about the direction you want to take in life, whether that would be to explore the world, pursue a successful career, or combine the two. Similarly, when surfing you must quickly decide whether to catch the wave or let it pass as it approaches from the horizon.
Then, life takes you through the journey of discovering what you are good at or what makes you happy, a complex process that is not completed until you have tried so many times and you have become an expert at doing what you enjoy. Similarly, in surfing, you begin by laying on the board, terrified, until you are finally able to stand on it while the waves carry you to the shore.
As in everyday situations, surfing, you always go back and try one more time, no matter how many times you fail, and no matter how much life and the waves move you. Here, it is when it becomes challenging, there must be difficulties along the route, but there is always the possibility of success. This experience provided me with a valuable response and taught me that if I’m committed to achieving something, I’m capable of doing anything, all while helping me in the never-ending process of learning a bit more about myself.
I believe it is not about going out there and doing whatever and putting yourself in danger; rather, it is about stepping out of your comfort zone and putting yourself on the correct route of getting to know yourself and what you’re capable of in order to obtain the appropriate answer to the right questions.