Last updated on 5 January 2018
Making decisions can be difficult. Making decisions can be uncomfortable. Even if we know the likely outcome of a decision, there is still a leap into the unknown. The unknown, or an unknown state is what makes decisions sometimes scary. We may not have all the information. We may not be ready. What if we don’t have the skills or experience? What if we screw it up?
What if an opportunity came knocking? An opportunity you can’t pass up?
What if you had enough faith in yourself to make it through? How much better would the ride be?
On and off, in my spare time over the last three years or so, I’ve photographed surfing. After three years I wonder why I haven’t yet invested in new and better camera gear. But that’s another story. After three years I wonder why I haven’t got into the water myself. But that also is another story.
While photographing surfing, I’ve observed surfers. My fiance is a surfer. He checks the surf every day, mainly the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. He knows, and waits for the right conditions to surf. He doesn’t like missing an opportunity to surf. But aside from knowing when to pick his surfing opportunities, it’s what happens in the water that has me thinking.
Watching surfers has me thinking about making decisions. Last year and more recently just last week, my fiance has surfed new breaks, namely in Samoa and at Margaret River. Surfing these breaks take some conditioning and preparation. They also need experience and self-confidence.
Making decisions is sometimes about patience. Before going into the water, and especially at a break a surfer hasn’t surfed before, there’s some time dedicated to studying the landscape and learning to read the conditions. From here, a decision is made based on recognising the right conditions – either go for it, or pass it up. Sometimes you don’t know when that moment is, but you have instincts. Making decisions is about the present moment – the information you have at hand and the person you are in that moment alone.
Surfing is a kind of meditation. When surfers are out in the water, there’s just them and the water. They’re in the present moment because they are focused and ready to take in the information (the wave) to make a decision whether to go for it. When a wave looks right, surfers make the best decision they can at the time. Sometimes the decision pays off, sometimes it doesn’t. The point of going for the wave is to potentially enjoy the rewards, the ride.
When making difficult decisions, we don’t know for certain whether we can ride the wave, that we’ll make it through to the other side. For surfers, they can’t know for sure what the wave is going to do – will it close out on them? But we don’t know the outcome unless we go for it. We go for ‘waves’ with the information we have. If we never make decisions to challenge ourselves, how do we move forward? How do we learn about ourselves, our capabilities, or our future possibilities?
We make decisions in the present moment with a present set of circumstances. The best we can do is know ourselves, read the conditions and the ride is what we make of it.
Here are a few of my favourite photos I’ve taken so far….I’m either on the beach or in a boat near the break. Even taking photos has its great conditions…and not so great conditions. 🙂