Surfing Life’s Big Waves

Surf contest is still getting all the more popular as we speak. I got an invoice from my lawyer a couple of days back – for what exactly I’m not sure, as his services didn’t really match the bill! He said he was sending out invoices to a as many people as he could think of, to “keep the wolf from the door in these challenging times”.

Challenging times they may well be. We’re all faced with difficult economic circumstances at present, we are all regularly faced with the ups and downs of normal everyday business and personal relationships and we are frequently confronted by the trials and tribulations of work, career and business. However the only real challenge we face is the challenge within. “How will I react in the face of so much negative stuff coming at me?” as one client put it to me last week. “It’s very hard to stay centred in the midst of all that’s going on around me – it’s like I’m in the eye of a storm” said another. “How am I supposed to stay focused when my personal life is falling to pieces around me?” another client asked me a couple of years ago.

These external challenges are just life’s “big waves” – and like all big waves, they keep coming at you. Life is like the Volvo Round-the-World yacht race. If you’ve decided to participate – and I hope that you have, you know that there are going to be lots of big waves. Armed with this understanding, you go about preparing yourself to make sure that you’re adequately equipped to deal with them. As a result of your preparations – and putting what you’ve prepared into practice when it matters, you’re able to ride those big waves. So it is with the ups and downs of everyday life. You know for a fact, because you see it all around you, that life is full of these big waves – these peaks and troughs. So, just like the yachtsman or yachtswoman, you need to have adequately prepared yourself to ensure that you’re appropriately equipped to ride those waves. However, I’m not talking about being prepared in some vague sense – I’m not simply talking about being on your guard. You will need more than the simple Boy Scout attitude! I’m talking about developing the kind of clarity of mind and mental focus that will enable you take real action in facing up to what life throws at you – rather than crawling back into the normal cocoon of snap reactive behaviour that normally makes matters even worse than you think they already are.

And, on the basis that life is lived moment to moment, you’re going to have to be up to the task, moment to moment. That means that, before you set sail every morning, you need to have your mind tuned in to the here and now – not focused on the day ahead, the day ahead will present itself one moment at a time – one peak, one trough at a time. This means that whilst you’re drinking your breakfast coffee, that’s what you’re doing – inhaling the aroma, tasting the bitterness, feeling the warmth of the mug in your hand, watching the steam curl of the liquid’s surface, feeling the warm liquid run down your throat, listening to the sound of you swallowing. Through preparing yourself before the day gets going you will be appropriately equipped to put the same level of five-sensory, presence of mind, mental focus into play during the course of the day – not matter how choppy the seas around you become.

The point is, you need to focus your mind every morning, to turn yourself on to the reality of the here and now, to be present, to have presence in the here and now. At the very least you should ensure that you take each opportunity that your routine of normal morning chores presents you with. The problem is, if you start the day mindlessly, you’ll continue mindlessly and all manner of challenge will swamp you. If you start the day focused – and remember to check whether or not you’re still focused during the day, you’ll be a totally different person and your day – and your life – will be totally different. Even from drinking your coffee mindfully! Of course, you could go that bit further and do a little meditating – that wouldn’t just make you a great yachtsman or woman, it would make you master and commander.

But, at the end of the day – or, in fact, at the beginning of each day, if you don’t bother to take a few minutes to get yourself up to speed first thing in the morning, basically you will have decided to participate in life’s round-the-world yacht race in a rubber dinghy. If you get drowned, you’ll only have yourself to blame.

Copyright (c) 2010 Willie Horton

Willie Horton enables his clients live their dream – since he launched his acclaimed Personal Development Seminars in 1996. His clients include major corporations: Pfizer, Deloitte, Nestle, Wyeth, KPMG, G4S & Allergan. An Irishman, he lives in the French Alps and travels the world as a much sought after speaker and mentor. In 2008 he launched Gurdy.Net home to his Online Personal Development Seminars, Change Your Life & No More Stress

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