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Stand up and deliver: 4 life lessons learned while paddle boarding

Photo Credit: Taro Taylor via Compfight

As you might know I’m in New York City and busy getting ready for Blogworld. So I was really grateful when Justin offered to be a substitute teacher.     And now Justin…

It’s amazing the thoughts that can run through your head when you are out and about, one with nature. I always seem to do my best brainstorming when I am participating in activities that I love. The other day was no different. I’ve been writing a lot lately and quite honestly tackling a bit more than I can chew, so when a buddy called and asked if I wanted to spend the day paddle boarding I jumped all over the chance to take a break and reset the jets a bit. All work and no play makes Justin a dull boy.

Life really is our school. It’s amazing what you can learn if you just open up your mind and become aware. I had never been paddle boarding before and the opportunity to try something new intrigued me and allowed me to apply what I learned through the days activities to my life.

Lessons learned while paddle boarding

1. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started Honestly, the act of paddle boarding itself is not a difficult one. Once on the board it’s pretty darn easy. Getting on the darn thing to get started might be the thoughts part of all. The board is just sitting there, waiting for you to get on, essentially calling for you to ride it. Get to overzealous and jump on and you are guaranteed to lose balance, have your feet come out from underneath you and end up with the fishes.

Now if you ease on to it, one foot at a time, maybe even put a hand down there to support yourself or even ask for help from a friend or instructor that knows what they are doing and you’ll be up in no time ready to paddle out. Just like in our life, small steps make for big strides when trying something new. Never be afraid to ask for help in areas you don’t excel in yourself or possibly need some guidance on.

Take your time. No need to rush. The board isn’t going anywhere and neither are you if you never get on it.

2. Going with the stream is easy but going against it is where the muscles are built I’ll admit it, the owner of the paddle board place gave us two options.

A. Go to the left, with the current and you’ll have an easier ride, smoother sailing (or paddling here), but not much scenery and not much of a challenge. AKA, the safe route.

B. Go to the right and you’ll be going against the current, harder to paddle, harder to balance, on coming boats, but beautiful scenery and a much bigger challenge. “If you’re strong paddlers you can make it around the island in 2 hours she said.”

Well, My buddy Nick and I blew it. We took the easy route. Everything she said was true. It was easy, we had more speed, there wasn’t much to see and I noticed all the other paddle boarders went this way as well. Hmmmm….. status quo anyone? We actually finished the route in about 30 minutes. Problem was we had one and a half hours to spare.

Sound familiar? You take the easy route, are never really challenged, bored to hell, never learn anything new, and miss out on what could be an exciting and challenging opportunity to grow and improve yourself. Not to mention you pay $30 bucks for a 30 minute ride. Not cool!

Instead of calling it a day we grew a pair and took the tough road. It was difficult, we actually had to (dirty four letter word coming) WORK…. work hard. The current was against us, the water was choppy causing us to lose balance, we were using our core, our backs, our legs, shoulders, you name it. Boats were coming at us, causing pretty rough wakes making it even harder to balance. But I’ll tell you what, the scenery was beautiful, the water was calm once we got to our destination, and we felt accomplished once we reached our goal, the wakes caused by the boats added for some fun and excitement. Not to mention we got a great workout in and saw some cute girls.

Lastly, there were no other paddle boarders out this way. Which ment less competition for those cute girls (if my girlfriend is reading this I apologize, we were just looking).

3. You’re never really balanced on that thing When I first got up on the board I was striving for complete balance. I did not want to be wobbling around for any reason what-so-ever. For one, I didn’t want to look like a noob up there, secondly, I felt like being balanced would make it easier and more enjoyable, and thirdly, I thought that is what I was supposed to strive for, BALANCE.

I soon realized that I never truly would be balanced on this thing. At least not today, and definitely not my first time. Something also tells me that no matter how long or how experienced I was at paddle boarding there would always be something that would cause me to be off-balance. A boat coming by, my own natural movement, a distraction (again, the cute girls), or something totally unexpected like a bird flying down and landing on the board to kick it with me for a bit.

4. Don’t forget your camera Needless to say we were a bit scared we would fall in so we initially left our cameras in the car. I know, I know, MAN UP! Going into a situation expecting to fail or anticipating the worst case scenario is never a good way to approach things. Or is it….

After our initial thirty minutes of shame on the easy route we came back to shore and picked up our cameras. Why you ask? Because we wanted to fully enjoy this experience and document it to look back on at a later time. Future encouragement or motivation, reminiscing, or just a quick smile at some point in time.

We also thought about the worst case scenario. We fall in with our camera’s, they get destroyed, we have to buy new ones and we don’t get our pictures. In all honesty, it’s not really all that bad. So we fall in and our cameras get destroyed. We actually don’t HAVE to buy a new one. That would be a conscious choice we make. So we don’t get our pictures. It’s not like we will forget it anytime soon and the fact that we did it together means we can talk about it amongst ourselves anytime we want to remember.

Last but not least

So how is paddle boarding like life exactly?

1. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started.

2. Going with the flow is often the easiest path but also the least fulfilling and allows for limited personal growth

3. Striving for balance is a mistake. You can never really have complete balance. Life, work, family, responsibilities, passions, health, you name it! They are all constantly pulling you in all sorts of directions. The best thing you can do is focus on one at a time, try your best, and enjoy the process.

4. Thinking of the worst case scenario is often a good thing. Typically it just isn’t that bad or our emphasis on what we think are needs are really just wants.

And finally, when it’s all said and done, don’t leave your board on the deck for someone else to pick up after you. You had your fun, enjoyed the experience, and even if you didn’t you just had a NEW experience and that is often more important. Be grateful for the opportunity and give thanks.

Live limitless.

Justin is the crossfitting, paleo eating, skydiving, bungee jumping, philosopher leader of Limitless365. He’s interested in doing more of what he loves and less of what he doesn’t, and helping others to do the same. Here’s what the Pro’s say about him: Eli Manning (Super Bowl winning, QB): “Great catch J. Couldn’t have done it without you.” Harry Potter: “This guy runs this town! Hogwarts won’t be the same without you bro.” Albert Einstein. “You’re right. E does equal MC2.”

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