Poetry by Charles Joseph

What I learned from Snowboarding

On Christmas Day, for the first time since I started snowboarding a few years ago, I snowboarded down a blue trail without falling. When you’re going down a snow hill on a snowboard, you notice very interesting things happening to your thoughts. It’s very funny and humbling. The biggest, and most important thing, that I learned after this big accomplishment in my life has to do with trust and my relationship with it. 

I didn’t make my way down that mountain because I knew what I was doing. I made my way down because I TRUSTED that I could do it. I trusted that I had what it takes to do it. When you’re moving much faster than you’re used to with many bumps (obstacles) that you’re not used to facing—while knowing that whipping out is an embarrassment—the mind immediately goes into panic mode. It activates fight or flight. ”I CANNOT DO THIS! I CANNOT DO THIS! ABORT THE MISSION! ABORT THE MISSION!” During the whole ride, I found myself fighting with my mind to stay on the snowboard and not give up—DO NOT throw away the whole project (as we all do at times) by purposefully putting your butt on the snowy ground!

Here are a few things that I learned from my experience:

– TRUST YOURSELF! Trust. You have the skills needed to accomplish the task. Trust that you can do it.

– No matter how hectic, unexpected and challenging the external environment gets, remain as CALM as possible on the inside.

– DO NOT let fear take control of your decision making.

– Be aware of whether fear or caution is running the ship! They are very similar, but one makes sure you’re safe WITHIN the situation (caution) while the other tries to get you OUT of the situation (to safety) (fear).

– You do not get better at level 1 by sticking to it until you master it. You get better at level 1 by gaining JUST enough skills (and courage) to attempt level 2. In the process of facing that higher level (failing, hurting yourself—all that good stuff), you will gain mastery of the previous level without even noticing it (it sounds crazy but it works!)

– Keep your eyes on YOUR OWN ROAD (and the goal). Don’t worry about what other people are doing or their skill level! This is a journey by yourself. One where YOU ARE your only opponent. Focus on that opponent.

– Enjoy the ride. Make sure you are having fun. That’s the most important (and memorable) thing when it is all said and done.


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2 responses to “What I learned from Snowboarding”

  1. Very, very wise. Congratulations on both your experience and your insight.

    1. Thank you very much Harlan!!

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