The Sexy Surfer Connundrum

I’ve become completely aware of the surfer phenomena being in a surfers paradise. There’s something about the tribe of surfers that’s an immediate coolness factor. Just to say “I’m a surfer” puts you in the category of coolness that precedes any other accomplishments you have in your life. You’re part of a tribe that has a reputation for chill, athletic, oceanic prowess that invites a flair of sexiness that’s indescribable.

You’re part of a tribe that has a reputation for chill, athletic, oceanic prowess that invites a flair of sexiness that’s indescribable.

The truth is, as throngs of tourists head down to surfing beaches for one to two week vacations or retreats, grasp on to the surfing fantasy, get the lessons, learn to ride the whitewash and feel the beginners thrill for a moment but then, with a view out to the lineup of pro’s, a couple good tosses and roll around in the ocean, their done. Happy to head back to regular life and on to their next favorite thing. The learning curve is long past the first stand up.

The ones that catch the bug and really feel the urge to learn and conquer this sport are willing to stick with it for the long haul. They are the ones up at 6 in the morning, trying and failing and trying again. Ok with the process. Asking, falling, getting battered and bruised — but they come up smiling. They have the intense desire, they are there for the long haul. And if they work, and if they can stay, put the time in, put the hours in, they will make it out to the lineup, they will win the waves, get in that groove and feel the waves take them.

The ecstasy pays them, but they paid the price. They committed past the sexy image, past the initial thrill. They persevered long enough to really join the tribe. Really claim the surfer title. They surf for themselves, not for the Instagram posts, not for the chance to wear surfer clothes back in their regular lives, not for the tan, for the chicks or for the buns. It’s their place, their meditation, their craving and their outlet.

The ones that catch the bug and really feel the urge to learn and conquer this sport are willing to stick with it for the long haul. They are the ones up at 6 in the morning, trying and falling and trying again. Ok with the process. Asking, researching, failing, training, getting battered and bruised — but they come up smiling. They have the intense desire, they are there for the long haul.

And if they work, and if they can stay, put the time in, put the hours in, they will make it out to the lineup, they will win the waves, get in that groove and feel the waves take them. The flow state pays them, but they have paid the price. They committed past the sexy image, past the initial thrill. They persevered long enough to really join the tribe. Really claim the surfer title. They surf for themselves, not for the Instagram posts, not for the chance to wear surfer clothes back in their regular lives, not for the tan, for the chicks or for the buns.

It’s their place, their meditation, their craving and their outlet.

But then there’s the other side. The people like my gang here on our 3 month trip to a surfing mecca in Costa Rica. The buildup to coming down here included a lot of talking, bragging, dreaming about riding the big waves. We bought the boards, enthusiastically took them out to brave the whitewash. Two weeks in and skills not improving much, the sexiness wanes. It’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. There are less trips to the beach, the drive isn’t there.

Why?

Is it because they haven’t caught the bug? Was it because the learning curve is too long. The intrinsic drive isn’t there and the extrinsic drive is done (i.e.: they don’t really want to be a surfer but they got all the Instagram and Facebook pic’s they need).

It’s the same with a lot of things.

The sexy startup conundrum — same thing, it’s fun to go to the initial meetings. To dream, tell everyone you’re creating a startup that’s revolutionary. There’s the pumped up buzz, the dreams, the late nights of strategizing. But then the truth of the hustle hits. The long, uphill battle of the real work required to take dreams to reality. The complaints, deals, long months without income. Just listen to Gary Vee rant to millennials about the truth behind the “glorified” startup life.

Same thing, sexy on the outside, great if you catch the bug and are intrinsically motivated but if you only have the extrinsic motivators, you won’t last.

It’s great to jump in and play, and if you catch the bug and it is your authentic place, you’ll last. But if not, it will tire you out, wear away your soul and become a treadmill, not matter how sexy it is.

The sexy network marketing company conundrum,

That initial meeting, the sales pitch, the dream of working with friends, flexible schedules, free cars, trips, retiring your husband. It’s all there for you to jump into. The first months are all about the highs, the wins, the firsts of everything. But then the glamor wears off. You run out of “friends and family” support and really have to get out there and hustle. The cheques you were dreaming of, seem a lot further off. It’s the same as the sexy surfer cycle — if it’s not in your blood if you’re not intrinsically motivated and really feeling it, you just want to quit. Sometimes it’s harder to quit than you think as well (but that’s another story).

I could go on and on….

  • The sexy job conundrum
  • Sexy girlfriend
  • Sexy home
  • University degree
  • Crossfit gym

So many tribes and social status winners, that look so great on the outside, but reality sets in soon enough. The truth of the matter is your motivation. Can you stop before you jump in, and see if this is really what you want?

What are your motivators? Are you seeking approval, acceptance, to be something you’re not. Can you honestly run through the average day, the trials and turmoils and see your dream unromantically and still see yourself there?

Are you a surfer or would you rather do something else? It’s fine to admire surfers, see them do their thing and respect the hard work they have put in. But can you let go of the image and instead look into the mirror and see what’s really calling you. What you’re motivated beyond any struggle, any setback to stick with.

As unsexy as it may seem, this is where you need to go.

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