Learning how to surf was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I have zero natural athletic ability, and I’ve never been good at sports. To add to that, the conditions are different every single time you paddle out. But, I persevered. Every single day for several months I took a beating until I finally stood up on my board.
In the earliest days of surfing, I struggled endlessly just to stand up on my surfboard. If I did manage to stand up, I would fall almost immediately because I had no sense of balance. But, then one day it suddenly clicked and I found myself catching my very first wave. The first big dent you make in any endeavor is going to be one of the most difficult parts of it. But once you’re standing up, you just have to keep showing up every day and let go of the need for visible progress.
I thought it might have been a fluke so I went for another wave. I stood up again. Over the course of the next hour I caught one wave after another and I was hooked. I didn’t want to get out of the water. This got me thinking about how true this is in every area of life.
Progress Occurs outside your Comfort Zone
Early in life – thanks to report cards and grades- we came to view failure as a bad thing. Rather than try to fail, we started to do nothing at all; we took the safe path. But failure is what causes growth. When you’re playing outside your comfort zone, you increase the likelihood of failing. Anytime I’ve surfed a bigger than average day I’ve had moments when I thought I was going to drown. But it’s also those days that push my skills to the next level.
Focus on the Process instead of the Outcome
This is easier said than done. But once you can do it, you’ll find that you’re ability to progress rapidly increases. When you hit a roadblock or setback, ask yourself what you can learn from it. Some of my greatest life lessons have been the result of failing miserably at things.
It really is never a bad idea to try really hard things even if you fail.
|Written on 3/05/2012 by Srinivas Rao. Srinivas is the author of the Skool of Life, where he writes about surfing, personal development, and things you never learned in school but should have. If you’re ready to to become a student, check out his FREE course on the 7 most valuable lessons they never taught in school. You can follow him on twitter @skooloflife.||Photo Credit: mikebaird|