Archive for July, 2015

Why try?

Posted: July 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

I share this moment with you as it happened today.

It was a clear flashback of a moment in 1980. It was a decision I made that changed the direction of my life for the next 35 years. Today I revisited that moment as if it took place only yesterday.

Throughout the 70’s I was a small boy who had moved schools regularly due to my father changing jobs. As a result of being ‘the new kid’ I seemed to attract the attention of the local bully who usually didn’t physically abuse me but did much worse. He made me feel ineffective. As a result, I developed a burning desire to never feel that way again. To feel confident when threatened.

This feeling became second to my love of surfing. When immersed in the ocean, I felt a peace that didn’t seem possible on land. It was a deep contentment as if I had finally returned to a place that I had always belonged.

This feeling was always there and never dimmed.

So in 1980, in my late teens I found martial arts. At last, a way to create a sense of power over those who belittled me as a child. My instructor was a powerful, tattooed man who exuded power and confidence with every move. Although very different from me, it was his presence that I desired.

So I threw myself into training every night.

I remember one afternoon, I was in my special place, the Indian Ocean. It was nearing my favourite time – sunset. I was feeling at one with the ocean and realised that if I was to make it to training, I had to leave now. The hunger to improve myself nagged at me to the point that I knew some changes had to be made. I left the surf early and made it to the class on time.

35 years went by. My white belt turned black, I won full contact kickboxing state titles, created muscle bulk through weight training and, through self imposed hardship, created an ability to push myself past limits I thought I had. Any fear I had as a child had long since disappeared.

Just today, I stayed in the surf until after the sun had set. As I walked back in that euphoria that only a surfer knows, that moment in 1980 came back to me. A memory as clear as my last wave.

I remembered the decision I made that changed my life and smiled as I realised I had come full circle.

So, what does this teach me?

  • It teaches that pride can only be achieved if a person throws themselves fully into an endeavour. Whether you are successful is not as important as the commitment to see it through.
  • It teaches me that a journey that is incomplete is as good as one you never started. So keep going.
  • It teaches me that regardless of an outcome, if you hang in there, it’s all good. It’s worth it in the long run.
  • Going off track by chasing different dreams is ok. Just don’t chase too many.
  • Knowing which dreams to chase is key. It’s something no one can teach you. You have to work it out yourself. But that is where the reward is.
  • When it’s all said and done, being proud of your effort is all that matters.

As they say in Australia, “Give it a red hot crack”