In many ways we are all surfers in search of our perfect wave. A few months back I shared my thoughts on creating your own definitions for success and failure and to me, those are the waves of life that we are all riding.
The perfect wave is something that provides an absolutely effortless ride. It peels across the ocean for what seems to be an eternity, a ride we hope will never end. The thought of danger is overpowered by adrenaline and excitement… It’s pure bliss at its very best, the type that puts an ear to ear smile across your face.
When you’re on it, you’re not thinking about the future and you’re not looking back. You truly are living in the moment. True success, in any aspect of our lives, often feels something like this.
How to Find Your Perfect Wave Checklist
1. Define What It Is to You. The quest for the perfect wave is something that most surfers spend a lifetime on. To one, it might be an exhilarating 20 foot wave, while to another it might be one that’s 2-3 feet and provides a longer, more balanced ride. The point is, for each and every person the perfect wave is something different, yet it’s always about embracing your strengths, likes, and deciding the wave that is perfect for YOU. It’s often easy to get caught up in societal definitions of success and failure, of what we “should” or “shouldn’t” want or be doing. But, when we define for ourselves what our perfect wave is, discovering it becomes much easier.
2. Forget Instant Gratification. Instant gratification is called that because it doesn’t last. When we make instant gratification our goal we are very rarely fulfilled and constantly in search for more. Finding the perfect wave often requires effort and patience, rather than being compelled by the need for instant gratification. When we put instant gratification first, consciously or subconsciously, we often make the wrong choices and eventually find ourselves starting all over again.
3. Don’t Be Ego Driven. If you can learn how to manage your ego in order to reach your full potential, you are leaps and bounds ahead of the average person. There’s no place for your ego in riding waves. Ego needs bring up fear, isolation, the desire for more, and a constant sense of comparison and competition. The moment things start to become about your ego is the moment they become dangerous, or at least haphazard. Excessive ego concerns hamper our focus and take away from a sense of flow and connectedness to what is happening in the moment.
4. Go for Inner Happiness. We live in such a stimulus-response driven world that the idea of letting everything come from within seems almost impossible. Yet, if happiness is something that comes from within, we often experience much more control over our perfect wave. When we are fulfilled from the inside, the external world we see reflects that back to us. We see more clearly and recognize the opportunity, abundance and perfection that are all around us.
Enjoy the Ride and Allow Pure Joy
To me the perfect wave is one in which I really am enjoying the ride. No matter what our perfect wave is, if we are not enjoying the ride then it’s really not a perfect wave. It’s often difficult to feel truly successful when we aren’t enjoying what we are doing. Opening ourselves up to experiencing the joy that is right there in front of us is one way to make sure we enjoy the ride. Another is to go through the checklist: Do we have a clear definition of that perfect wave, one that is truly and uniquely our own? Are we able to let go of instant gratification and superficial ego needs? Do we have a sense of inner happiness that isn’t dependent on things outside of us?
One thing I realized when I found out about my new job is that now I’m going to be getting paid to do something that I’ve been doing for free for the last 8 months. As for this wave in my life, I had defined it for myself, regardless of societal norms. I went the route of patience and effort and forewent instant gratification and ego desires. I cultivated happiness from within. And now, a perfect wave has come along, a new ride, one that’s right for me. To me that’s a sign that I’ve got the passion to succeed in my new role, and I’m open to the joy along the way. That’s the key, in my opinion, to all life-long success.
In life, we are all are going to ride many waves. In the end we all have a choice in terms of defining what is perfect for us and what is not. This is something we all need to define for ourselves. The beauty of the ocean is that there is an endless supply of waves, of all sorts, shapes, and sizes. This doesn’t necessarily mean there will be no mistakes, no flounders, and no wipe outs. And yet the waves will always come. Go out (and within) and discover the waves that give YOU the most joy, because it’s from there that you will ride the wind of success in your life.
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Srinivas Rao is a personal development blogger at The Skool of Life where he writes about self help, spirituality and personal development through his love for the sport of surfing. He’s a recent graduate of the Pepperdine MBA program and has a bachelors degree in economics from UC-Berkeley. He’s also a social media strategist for the online travel site, Cheapair.com