What would my life be like if we never left Hawaii when I was a kid? Or more importantly: what would my surfing be like? My childhood years in North Shore Oahu were spent bonding with the ocean but we left just around the time surfing piqued my interest. Now, learning to surf as a 30 year old woman, I can really bug out thinking about the two decades that I "missed" out in the waves.
Perhaps it's this sense of lost time that has me so urgently and fervently practicing surfing; can we make up for lost time? Or is this mentality actually a deterrent to the learning process?
To bemoan what I cannot have certainly doesn't serve me, and it absorbs time I could otherwise spend learning and practicing. It's quite clear that these activities provide significant results, whereas the former only provides distraction.
So every chance I get I ask the other surfers for information and take it in and practice as hard as I can. That which I'm not yet capable of is merely something I haven't learned yet, and no one ever learned anything by not doing it.
But it's not so much what I put out that ushers improvement, rather what I take in. Every ripple and wave I watch, every question I ask, every view of a better surfer performing; all of this fills me with a potency that has very little to do with — well — me.
I often relate paddling out with going to church, which makes the ocean a sea of prayer, which makes me a vessel for its positive energy. My abilities bloom when I let myself be empty enough to be filled by the knowledge of the waves and the surfers around me.
Here are my current mental training approaches:
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions more than once; you never know what you missed the first time around.
- Be humble and hungrily accept criticism. Be grateful for the outside perspective because it's something you can never provide for yourself. It's pretty special that someone will expend some of their precious energy for your benefit.
- Dont forget to enjoy the moment. Training can take over your mind and distract you from the joy that got you surfing in the first place.
- Commit. Your biggest challenge is your own self doubt.
- Don't be afraid to eat shit; every mistake is a seized opportunity to explore the extreme edges of possibility.
I leave you with this quote:
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” - Michael Jordan