I have been waiting to unleash a lot of Bali content and while I figure out the whole video editing component, I wanted to make sure this message got out there because it's been coming back into my life constantly.
Beyond the fear is the fun.
I learned this through my surf lesson in Bali, but the point was brought up again last night through a conversation I had with my mentor's son who's a dating coach. You have to take action through fear to get to the other side. Courage is what matters or else you won't change.
When my friend Quinn proposed the idea of surfing during our trip planning call I knew I wanted to but was hesitant because I have a history of getting pummeled by waves. Hopelessly pummeled. When I was in Miami my friends found it hilarious that while they dove underneath the waves, I either tried to go above and get slammed or barely dive beneath them and also get tossed. I laughed at myself and admittedly accepted it wasn't one of my strengths. Pretty ironic for a Pisces.
I grew up playing a lot of sports, but I never was a fan of swimming and my family never pushed me into water sports in any way minus being able to swim. I'm pretty sure my dad was afraid we'd get carried by a current and die. Tanning and drawing in the sand then became my comfort zone (will come back to this later).
That morning at Canggu Beach I didn't know what I was getting into. At breakfast I tried to not think about it and was pretty good blocking the fear from my mind because what could I do then? I knew building it up would make it worse.
Quinn and I started practicing surfing form with our instructor on the sand with our massive beginner boards. We learned about paddling and where to put our feet on the board. I learned from my first ski lesson where my ski instructor left out a couple crucial details that I needed to ask the instructor stupid questions to make sure I'm not missing anything.
Are there sharks attacks here?
What about rip tides?
How should I fall?
What should I absolutely not do if I fall?
I then started practicing falling to get his approval on appropriate "eat shit" methods. This helped me feel like I wouldn't shock him with my potentially fatal falling instincts.
Then we started paddling out to the waves which was already a workout and I faced my first fear of swimming at the waves. I was getting bounced around a bit and could feel the fear rising.
In the water we talked about technique of catching the wave and it must have been no more than 3 minutes since the man was not a fluent English speaker. I was waiting for an apology about the waves and the surf philosophy. A shaka would even help. But alas, all he said was look at the shore which seemed pretty useless at that point.
He started to announce "Ready??" and I was panicking. I think that was about the time I wanted to say thank you sir for the tutorial, but this isn't worth it. I wanted to go back to the shore and just coast. I remember being convinced I was going to get out. The fear was overwhelming here, my brain had me convinced from logic and past experience not to do this.
Somehow I just thought you're here in Bali, you're doing it. Then I started to paddle and waited for him to say "UP!" like he promised. I felt the wave start to carry me and it felt like a roller coaster firing you out of the gate. I never heard him say UP over the noise so I just went for it after his long pause. I don't remember how far I got but I definitely tipped over and went under the wave. I was a little shaken up but the bandaid was ripped off.
I came back for a 2nd and 3rd time and still had a panic mindset that the instructor pointed out. He was a bit of a grumpy old man and was barely encouraging.
"Stop panicking, you panick" I'm panicking!? Dude, you don't even know what I'm like not on the board.
"Look at the shore" I'm aware, brah.
It took me about 8 times and I finally rode one. It was AMAZING. It was both empowering and felt like I was flying. And the instructor was right about looking at the shore, it just seemed too obvious and I didn't exactly get what he meant.
There's an analogy there: if you focus on just the shore instead of where your feet are and looking at the board you naturally stay balanced and ride the wave, but if you obsess about the nitty details and look at the board you throw off your balance when you look up.
Its overthinking vs. intuition. You have to TRUST.
I kept saying TRUST, it was the only thing that helped calm my mind.
Another tip I found was waiting until your arms were steadily placed before getting up. You feel like you need to rush it but it's better to wait until you're steady. I wish he made that more clear but I got it down learning by fire.
I got up 4 other times and rode one wave all the way to the shore on my 2nd or 3rd ride. I loved it. It took everything you had because getting back to the instructor was a huge workout and getting up on the board was a whole other workout. I wanted to catch as many waves as I could but it really depended on how much you could push yourself to get up even though you're running on empty. Someone told us you prep for surfing by weight training for months which gives me much better motivation for bringing it at the gym.
The last few times were so fun because Quinn and I alternated between getting waves and throwing high fives with the instructor.
Now to tie it back to the dating coach, James.
My mentor from Austin sent me a FB message that her son is in LA for the week so I was eager to meet him. When asking him about his work, he said he loved helping people transform themselves and kept repeating that he can only help people if they show courage. If they can't push themselves through the hump there's nothing he can do. When he said this yesterday I immediately thought of surfing.
He brought up that your mind will disguise fear as rational thought and practicality. When he works with guys approaching women they tell themselves:
The girl probably has a boyfriend.
I don't want to interrupt them.
I'll probably get rejected.
What if I say something stupid?
He said he can hand hold, but they have to move themselves forward. We're designed to stay in our comfort zone and we're not always aware of the fact we trip ourselves up with logic.
In any area of your life, if you're stuck you have to BREAK THROUGH fear, resistance, procrastination, or accepting mediocrity. When I was getting closer to quitting my job, I had to break through these mental barriers because there's a million logical reasons to stay. You and the people in your life will unconsciously keep you in your comfort zone.
James said people generally come to a breaking point where they can't take a relationship anymore, and it goes the same for careers.
That got me thinking you can either be reactive and have shit build up to where you can't take it or reshape your mind and thinking yourself.
But you don't need to read a book on it or watch your 20th inspirational video.
You gotta do it now. Now's a good a time as ever or else you're delaying the fun.