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The Tinkered Mind
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October 26th, 2020
Going out with a surfboard for the first time, no one has much in the way of expectations. It’s something to try out, to see what it’s like. As a few waves pass and the movements and actions of others are studied, it becomes obvious that there’s an all or nothing moment that requires developing a bit of an intuition in order to catch.
But eventually, with enough trying, that first wave is caught. Then getting upright on the board and staying up long enough to have the gleeful realization I’m surfing! is often as far as the plan, the hope, and the expectation go - but the wave keeps going, which can be quite a pleasant surprise.
Suddenly necessities like steering left and right to avoid swimmers and other surfers becomes instantly important and is often not something that was thought of in advance. But with the gleeful first accomplishment of just getting up on the board, the rest is gravy, and so it’s all taken far less seriously. And sometimes, there are no swimmers or surfers to avoid, and the wave keeps going, lessening, until that first wave has run it’s course.
There’s a certain zen like perspective that many naturally bring to their first attempt with surfing: like a true beginner, like a child, the focus is almost exclusively on that first tiny success: just getting up on the board and get moving with the wave.
However, when it comes to many if not all of our other endeavours, the planing goes haywire and even skips the most important part. Instead of focusing on just starting, just getting up and getting going, the backflips are planned, the cool shots from inside the curling tunnel of a breaking wave, the competitions are envisioned, the trophies nearly already won, even the dreams scripted for sleep after a long day. And in all this, the most important step: just getting going, is often overlooked for a much larger, grander vision. The tradeoff risks the whole endeavour, and because this, it’s best to think of that zen mindset so many have when setting out for that first wave.
Whether it be surfing or starting a company, or writing a novel, or building that killer app, focus on the most important thing: Just figure out how to get started.
Get going first.