Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Why not to try something new

I went surfing for the first time today. I was also reading Seth Godin's great new book Linchpin this morning. Today he was talking about the "lizard" brain that urges us to safety, to not try anything new, to resist the artist urge we have to create. Godin goes into great length about brain studies and how the brainstem overrides the other areas of the brain when it comes to survival. When faced with a threat, fear takes over control. But Godin takes this truth further and talks about how all of us have great ideas, but few of us pursue them because our "lizard" brain tells us how stupid it is, how likely we will fail, how everyone will laugh at us, how much hard work it will be to learn something new, how the old ways are well-known and comfortable.

So, my friend James (a major surfer) invited me to go surfing with him and some friends at a pretty famous beach called Rincon. After giving me some basic tips, he took off into bigger surf farther out and I paddled around closer to shore, catching smaller wave, evening getting up onto my knees a couple of times, before toppling off like a goof.

But after an hour and a half, I was done, and it was really small surf. My arms, back, legs were toast. I haven't used these muscles this way before. And now my "lizard" brain is saying, "See, that was a dumb idea. You're lousy at it. You'll never learn it. You're too old to take on a young person's sport. Stick with swimming." And then this afternoon Godin's book and my experience merged. WE'll see over time which brain wins out.


At 9:47 AM , Anonymous Chaplain Pam said...

Bravo for trying surfing, Don!
Now that you've tried it and survived the aches and pains, will you do it again?
I enjoy your blog. It appears you try many new things that don't require a young person's body.
Blessings to you.


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