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A Setback is a Setup for a Comeback

Recently, my wife balked at me for always being so calm, even in the face of what should be stressful circumstances. Naturally, I took this as a compliment. But I began to wonder if maybe I was skirting aloofness, thus not grasping the immediacy of certain realities. Thinking back to the origins of my 'calmness,' images of me being submerged under pounding waves in Haleiwa, Hawaii, or in Puerto Rico, I realized that sometimes life delivers me blows and setbacks.  Life is full of setbacks, it's how I deal with them that makes the difference. I recall 10-12 foot waves not only pummeling my body, but dragging me across sharp reefs, forcing water into my mouth, and covering me in darkness and uncertainty for what seems like an eternity.

Tired, scared, and literally fighting for my life, I know enough from experience, that I need to follow my well-trodden protocol to not fight the wave in a physical sense, but to almost let it have its way with me. I must be calm, conserve my energy, and like a chess player, calculate how, when, and to what extent I will expend my energy. Experience has taught me how to best fall/ jump off my long board, and how to hold my body as I go through violent motions. In other words, experience has taught me how to handle failure, and turn it into a comeback. 'A setback is a setup for a comeback.'  Using my foresight, I anticipate and factor in that a few more of these waves may catch me.  Each time it is a harrowing affair forcing all sorts of existential questions into my mind. "Is this my idea of fun? Am I trying to prove something? Why do I do this?"

But now I know. Calmness is a commodity that I plant on a daily basis, and my surfing experiences have hammered home to me the price I pay when not harboring calmness. As you know, a calm mind will think better, and gauge better than one that is agitated and not at rest.  Others will see how you act and react, and take note, maybe even emulate to their benefit. Due to repetition, I make this look easy and natural, but it took a great deal of experiential knowledge to get it right.

Thankfully, the skills I polished in the water easily translate to my life on the land, complete with setbacks and failures. Getting all upset, tense, and anxious begets more of the same, and leaves me no closer to resolution. In fact, it is a waste of my energy, and a waste of my time. Once I was crystal clear on that, I began to pay much more attention to how I monitor myself, and how I think and react to circumstances, and this has made all the difference.

Activities to try out for yourself: On Sept 9 Surfers Healing will be in Long Beach, Long Island, NY doing its surfing for autism event. Take your kids to this. Get them practicing the art of being fearless (at least to a great degree).

Sailing, surfing, mountain climbing, kayaking, swimming, basketball, scuba diving, and even tennis and long board skateboarding can all be customized to a child's level. Challenge your kids by being the role-model in these. You don't have to buy a long board, you can rent one, and you don't have to climb Mount Everest, you can go for a hike with your kids. It is important to think outside of your usual activities, and usher in a novel, fun activity.

Finally, if you want, reach out me, Coach Bill. I can help you get the ball rolling. You can reach me at or on Twitter @CoachBill007.

All my best,

Coach Bill

For more, go to http://www.CoachBill.US
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