You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.

Credit: Eric Johnson, Surfer: Boh Johnson

The past week has been a tricky one. There’s been news about when we are going back to school (which we did yesterday), and you’d think this would be a good thing, but all it did, personally, was seem to demotivate me! So this past week has been a real mental test, trying to stay the course, keep practicing self-discipline. I guess I am also probably a bit exhausted physically too as I am in the final week of the fundraising effort ‘The May 50K’ and have clocked up 123 kms myself…

Then, yesterday, going back to school was another change! I felt I had just settled into the home learning routine, yet now there is a whole new routine we have to settle into again! This isn’t meant to be an article about complaining so READ ON…

This situation is what reminded me of how we can better deal with adversity, and it’s summed up in my new favourite quote:

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.

John Kabat-Zinn

In this situation of constant change (and a bit of unknown!), it links perfectly to the quote above. However we really can’t change the situation, it’s purely out of our hands, and in that we have a real opportunity to learn a fundamental principle which will help you all throughout life;


SO INSTEAD, WHY DON’T YOU PURELY FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL! (work ethic, kindness, attitudes, perspective, positivity, generosity)

You can apply this to any area of your life really. All you can do is control your attitudes, your thoughts, your perspective, and your effort. There is no point stressing and worrying over events or situations outside of your control, because this will then also take away from your ability to do what you do best!

Personally, this principle makes everything monumentally easier and allows me to feel almost completely relieved of external stressors.

For example: The exam dates are out of my control, so I respond by keeping my work ethic high, because the latter is in my control, and is all I can do. Changing learning settings are out of my control, but once again, all I can do is control my attitude and perspective, ‘I am so lucky to even have the opportunity to be able to go to school with such great friends and really valuable teachers’, and that’s solely what I focus on.

This is a prime example of dealing with the situation, with adversity. Being calmed at the fact that you know no matter what happens, if you do the things you can do to the highest standard, you will be okay. It’s the knowing that you are doing your best, and being comfortable with this. It’s not sitting around and complaining about the waves coming in, but it’s certainly learning how to surf.

Overall, you’ve only got two choices; get smashed by the waves, losing all your energy and risk drowning, OR learn on the go and find your way to shore, accepting that, to get to where you want to be, you’ve got to adapt to every different wave!

Have a lovely week legends 🙂

PS. And remember… don’t fight things to which you cannot change, instead, learn how to adapt to them and keep moving forward.

One thought on “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.

  1. Good article Ash. Yes, adapting is Darwin’s theory of evolution after all
    Picture those 18 different types of finches on the Galápagos Islands. They are all finches but differ mainly in beak structure depending on what they eat. Seeds insects nectar and the ones that feed on cactus flowers have developed particularly long beaks. So adapt or don’t eat. Pretty fundamental to their survival.
    Much the same with us.

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