On Saturday I went surfing for the first time in a LONG time. Luckily it turns out that surfing is a bit like riding a bicycle in that once you’ve learned how to do it you never forget no matter how long you leave it. In fact, you step back on the board at just the level of competence that you were previously. Sweet.
On the first decent sized wave that came through I surprised myself by jumping to my feet swiftly and easily and finding myself atop the board and looking down the face of the wave. In fact I was so surprised that there was a moment in which I wobbled and almost relinquished control of the board to the wave, allowing myself to fall off the back.
But in that moment, that fraction of a second, I decided to ride that wave, to weight my front foot and take control of the board. In an instant the experience went from the power of the wave pitching me off to me harnessing that power and gliding smoothly and rapidly forwards with it. Such a buzz.
It struck me that the work I’ve been doing in my climbing and here on my blog on visualization and following through came together in that moment to enable me to instinctively make that snap decision to commit and to ride that wave.
Through training a positive mental and physical response in different circumstances we make that positive response available to us in any and all situations that require it. No effort is ever wasted. We are constantly learning and transferring our new skills across the different spheres of our lives.
Thinking about it further I realized that since I started working on my commitment in rock climbing (to scary moves, to climbing above protection, to finishing out a route) my ability to commit in my work life has improved dramatically (I am closing deals better, I am facing down the unpleasant tasks that used to hover undone on the edges of my to-do lists, I am doing stuff today not tomorrow).
I am learning that just as I can’t dictate the waves in the ocean I can’t control what life throws at me, but I can control my response to it.
I can ride the wave.