Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Knowing when to go

Have you ever sat on the beach looking at the waves trying to decide
whether to go out or not?  I'm sure, if you are like me, you've done it.
Can't quite decide if it's worth it or not, not quite sure you want to go
through the hassle of putting on a wet suit, rushing for a quick session
before work or during lunch, getting in trouble with your boss or wife.
Not sure if conditions are right? You watch, ask others but get all
sorts of answers.

Bet the same indecisiveness has happened in the water as well.
You see a wave coming but you are not quite sure. Should I
paddle for this one?  Should I go? Is it going to hold up, is it too
big or too small?  Surfing, like the rest of our lives, is filled with
opportunities, filled with decisions.  How do you decide?
What goes into your process?

I wish there was a quick and simple guide to making the
decisions we make in and out of the water.  I know that there
are lots of factors that influence what we do. Sometimes we
try to assess the risk. Are  we surfing over a shallow jagged reef
or soft forgiving sand?  Is the water 80 degrees or 40?  Are we at
our familiar local break or half way around the world surfing some
isolated unexplored atoll? Could be we might simply be afraid to get
out of our comfort zone, scared to confront the known or unknown.
It might just be a habit, a learned behavior, doing the same thing over
and over, repeating, accepting and maybe even enjoying the pattern.
Sometimes though these behavior patterns might just get us in trouble.

In surfing, like in life, it's really important to understand why and
how we do things. It's not an easy process but confronting
ourselves, our  habits, our vulnerabilities and strengths, as well as
our habitual behaviors is critical.  We need to be able to look
inward, accept responsibility, figure out what we can control and
what we can't, whether to blame other factors or accept
responsibility, ownership. We all wish that there was some
objective expert who could act as a referee, an impartial judge to
help us see more clearly, see the facts,  post the scores and help
us see the consequences,  Sadly, all too often there aren't.
We have to find a balance between our gut and our brain, our
feelings and the facts.  Unfortunately it's not always easy.

Every surfer has heard that "Eddie would go"!  Would you go,
should you go, do you know why or why not?  Not always a
simple question to answer.  At times we just paddle out, go
hard, take the drop, and see what happens. Sometimes we wisely
decide to back off. In difficult times and in really challenging
conditions, sometimes I wish I knew for certain when to go.

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