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Shake the wipeouts of life, learn from them, and move on


Shake the Wipeout

One of the most challenging things about being a surfer is that every single wave is different. The ocean is a dynamic continually changing force of nature and sometimes it beats down on you.  Every now and then mother nature can be a bit@#.
Sometimes, when you are attempting to catch a wave you will experience what is called a closeout:

Closeout: A wave that breaks along its entire length at the same time making it unsurfable. Closeouts can either be caused by a strong offshore wind or sea floor topography. Also called shutting down.

Essentially what happens is that you attempt to catch the wave and you might ride it for a second or two before the wave curls over your head and water dumps on top of you, knocking you off your board. Needless to say it is not the most pleasant experience.

Sometimes the waves of life tend to occur in a similar manner. You may be right on the verge of experiencing massive success, when an opportunity closes out on you:

In life, wipeouts are inevitable. Just like they are a part of surfing, they are a part of life.  But, if you don’t shake the wipe out as quickly as possible, then you may end up missing the ride of your life.  The next wave could be the one that carries you to the pinnacle of success and if you are consumed by the one that just closed out on you,  then you’ll miss your shot.

Learning from it

When I was in the water the other day with some of the girls from my surfing meetup group, one of them told me that a friend told her “you should take whatever the ocean throws at you, try to ride it, and learn from it.” We both agreed that when a wave looked  like it was going to destroy you there was now way we’d follow that advice. Despite that, I decided to put theory to the test and I got pummeled by the next wave that came through. I jokingly said that the advice was bullshit, and in that moment I actually came up with the idea for this post.  Amazingly enough I did learn some lessons from that experience.

1. Trust your instincts: Before I decided to take the plunge, my gut feel was that I was going to get destroyed by that wave, but I took the risk anyways. Trusting your gut feel is something that really is valuable in so many areas of your life. Anytime I’ve gone against my gut feel, I ended up regretting it quite a bit. I’ve chosen the wrong jobs, had clouded judgement when it comes to friends, and stayed in situations I should have gotten out of.  Trust your instincts because they will lead you down the right path.

2. Look for the learning opportunity: Often why people fail to learn anything from an unpleasant experience is because they don’t look for the opportunity. Just by asking yourself the question, “what can I learn from this?” you will often find valuable life lessons. As much as I didn’t enjoy that wave closing out on me, it gave me two things:  the idea of trusting my instincts, and the idea for this blog post. So, it actually had some benefits.

Moving on

You’ve likely heard the phrase “If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’re going to keep getting what you’ve been getting.”  When you don’t move on from an unpleasant experience, you will keep attracting more unpleasant experiences into your life.  This is because you are focusing your thoughts on that experience and recreating it over and over again. Do yourself a favor, and just move on.

All of this easier said than done. But,  like anything else, if you take it one step at a time, you’ll eventually find yourself on the ride of your life to a place of massive success.

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