Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: As an avid surfer for many decades, I concur with this article that points out only 8% of surfing is riding the waves and the other 92% is preparation. Read this article to learn more leadership lessons from a wonderfully enjoyable hobby.
Want To Have A Successful Career? You Can Learn A Lot From Surfers
by Antonio Neves, Inc. Magazine, 8/17/17.
But something I find particularly fascinating about surfing is that surfers spend only eight percent of their time riding waves. Eight percent!
The way surfers talk about their sport, you’d assume the vast majority of their time is spent shredding waves. And it’s easy to get that impression watching surfing highlight reels.
The reality is that surfers spend most of their time not riding waves. This is by no means the sexy or adrenaline-fueled part of surfing, but it’s oh so necessary.
Before a surfer even comes close to riding a wave, there are a lot of steps that need to happen that most of us are unaware of.
This includes waxing the surfboard; transporting the surfboard to the beach; putting on a wetsuit and getting into sometimes frigid water; paddling often against a strong current, out to where the waves are; then waiting and waiting some more until a wave comes – that is, assuming the weather is even in your favor that day.
When the wave finally comes, sometimes another surfer will beat you to it. That means waiting it out for the next one.
When another wave comes, maybe it’s a too small – so you decide not to take it. You continue to wait.
Yet another wave comes, but this one’s too big and you decide to pass on it. More waiting.
Then a just-right wave arrives and you decide to ride it – only to immediately wipe out and get smashed down hard into the water.
More paddling and waiting.
Finally, another perfect wave arrives, and this time you ride it for all of 5, 6, or 7 seconds. An amazing ride.
Then, you paddle back out and wait all over again.
With surfing, all we tend to see are those elusive amazing rides. Rarely do we hear about everything else it takes to prepare for that moment when it finally arrives.
In many ways, this is a great metaphor for life and business, particularly when we’re struggling or feel stuck…