Lessons Learned From Kayaking This Past Summer

I went on a short weekend trip to San Antonio this past summer. I stayed at an Air-BnB and got to do some fun stuff like kayaking, seeing the inside of a cave (Natural Bridge Caverns), and explore the oldest unrestored stone church in America (Mission Concepción-Catholic Church finished in 1755). 

I wondered what it must have been like to come into (what was technically) Mexico at the time and set up a church. 

There was no Home Depot or Lowe’s to get building supplies, if you catch my drift.

All kidding aside, I learned some valuable life lessons when kayaking with my wife.

1. It takes a lot of momentum to get going at first

I noticed that it took a lot of effort and energy to get my kayak going. The faster I rowed the quicker I reached a decent pace going down the river.

This applies to life in a BIG way. Most people don’t realize that to achieve a new habit/ goal, you will have to put out a lot of effort at first to get started. Maintaining it though is MUCH easier once you get going.

I remember Will telling me about when he was losing weight 10 years ago. When he first started exercising, he did 20 minutes on the elliptical and it made him sore for like 3 days. Getting started can be difficult.

You have so much to do in the beginning. Later, you just maintain it, and enjoy the same rewards. This is a valuable life lesson: sacrifice in the beginning and get the rewards later.

2. If I maintained a steady amount of effort after I got going, I didn’t have to use nearly as much energy

I noticed after I got going with that massive effort, I could use long, infrequent strokes to go at a decent pace towards my goal. That means I could “cool my jets” a little and conserve energy. I had to kayak 2 miles so I needed to conserve my energy. I looked back at my wife and it was obvious she hadn’t figured out this trick yet.

She decided to use bursts of intense rowing and then rest (when she did, she drifted back with the current). This proved to be the most tiring approach imaginable for her. She was completely exhausted when she reached the end of our 2 mile trip.

3. Stopping is not just stopping, it is regressing back to where you were before

When I decided to stop and wait for my wife to catch up (because her method was much slower), I drifted back with the current. When I stopped, it was not just me at a stand still, it was me going backwards with the current. 

Have you ever stopped and drifted backwards with the current in your life? I sure have. This means if you stop your self-hypnosis and your positive action steps, you will regress slowly into old ways if you don’t take a stand. Time and persistence are the ultimate keys to maintaining this new neural-wiring.

4. I realized going back to “rescue” my wife every 10 min meant that I would not reach my destination within a reasonable time period…if at all.

I tried to go rescue my wife every 10 minutes because she was so far behind. Even though I love her and would go back for her regardless, this is a good example of art imitating life. If you go back and rescue all the friends/family that are way behind in life, you will reach your goal late in life or never at all. Keep that in mind.

5. I decided that focusing on where the kayakers ahead of me were was not helpful for my success

I ended up seeing some kayakers ahead of me about three-quarters of the way through the course. They were so far ahead I couldn’t catch up without an intense level of effort. I found myself starting to get frustrated and a bit irritated. I am a competitive guy and I even surprised myself with these emotions.

I realized though that every moment I stopped focusing on my “why” and my goals and instead focused on being behind these people, I felt more tired and less empowered to continue. 

Comparing yourself to others is probably the worst move you can make. There will always be someone ahead of you in one way or another. Stay focused on your goals/ dreams and what you need to do to make them a reality.

Stay strong my friends and keep these lessons in mind. Bookmark this blog for later.

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