Tuesday, September 22, 2009

From the known to the unknown

Many surfers are very very comfortable surfing their
home breaks and the breaks they know well. Others are
very happy riding the same boards or shapes. There is
something about the familiarity of things that makes
many feel safe, secure, and confident. Is safety, security,
and confidence always so necessary or can these same things
sometimes hold us back, prevent us from having new experiences,
learning and advancing?

On Saturday I just happened to be in my local surf shop
and had the opportunity to help a friend of a friend buy a board.
I really didn't know the guy all that well but I have seen him in
the water and watched him surf. He's got 2 boards both with
about the same shapes one a bit longer than the other. When I
asked him what he was looking for in another board he replied
"something longer, something I can catch more waves on". As
he looked on the rack he gravitated to longer versions of what
he already has. I urged him to consider a great deal on a used long-
board. He balked at first. "I've never ridden a longboard" he
said. "I don't think so" was his initial reluctant reply. As we spoke
I could see that it was the unknown that was holding him back.
"Try it" I said. "Give it some time. If you really don't like it I'm
sure you can sell it for what you paid for it". After a bit he bought
the board and excitedly headed to the beach. I'm looking forward
to the next time I see him to find out how he likes the board. To
find out how he did with the unknown.

As a country we are currently in the midst of the same kind of
struggle, moving from the known to the unknown. If you watch
and listen you can see the styles of dealing with the uncertainty.
On one side we've got those who rigidly resist any and all change.
They want things to be the way they used to be, to get back to
what was. That's the comfort zone they feel safe in. On the other
side we have those who seem to charge headfirst into change
seemingly embracing the unknown, sometimes without adequate
thought. Seems to me that describes our national psyche these days.
Too few realizing that we can never have things the way they were,
we can't go back. Too few realizing that a mad dash into an unknown
isn't always the wisest thing to do. Too few willing to listen to the

Where are you? Are you riding the old familiar break on the same
old shape? Are you charging blindly into the surf at a new spot without
looking for the channel, looking at the hazards? The unknown future,
filled with change is inevitable. How we deal with it is up to us.

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