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Lessons from a Kayak Pit

Have you ever been kayaking?

I am terrible at explaining what kayaking means (especially that use the same word as is in the activity), so here is what Wikipedia says:

Kayaking is the use of a kayak for moving across water. Kayaking and canoeing are also known as paddling. Kayaking is distinguished from canoeing by the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle. A kayak is defined by the International Canoe Federation (the world sanctioning body) as a boat where the paddler faces forward, legs in front, using a double-bladed paddle.

KayakingYou can see a Kayak on the right.

I had the opportunity to Kayak once; and despite my fear of water, I enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I am one of those people that cannot swim, so you can imagine what was going through my head when I decided to give it a try. Now I usually wouldn’t recommend putting your trust on a small 8 feet boat if you are scared about it, but I was trying to impress a girl.

Even to this day, I can recollect all the emotions that were going through my head when I pushed off against the lake edge.

Rather unsurprisingly, we feel the same as we are about to take a risk – there is a sense of excitement with an added worry – what if we fail? Will we sink?

A lifejacket helps, but the threat of failing can still be overwhelming!

Kayakers have a saying “The best brace is forward stroke”. This is applicable in our lives where we should continually strive to fight and improve, but sometimes it’s useful to just go with the flow, if that helps. What kayakers need, and what we need, is a sense of focus and purpose. The focus should not overshadow the ‘fun’ factor that we get from living our life, but stability is important, and should be given due importance.

Relax, observe and re-evaluate strategy when you fail. Kayaking is no surfing, there is little thrill to be gained from huge surfs, so ride the little ones, for they will take you the distance. Meditation helps, though not while kayaking (try before!). Meditation helps because it allows you to calm your minds, achieve a sense of direction and retain focus.

Luckily for me, my first adventure at kayaking went relatively well – only a few splashes of water and I never tipped over. But I might one day – tip over. What then? I shall try and remember these, and for any hardships in life, so should you:

  • It is ok to be scared, but remember, the moment will pass.
  • Failure is not the end; rather it’s the start of a new (more structured) beginning.
  • Stay focused, it will drastically improve your chances of success and allow you to overcome obstacles.
  • Be open to new things, you never know what lessons you might learn.
So do you kayak regularly? Can you share any other lessons that you learnt while kayaking?
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About Neeraj Sachdeva

Neeraj is a life-geek, who enjoys talking about Psychology and Freelancing. His freelancing endeavor focuses on kick-starting start-ups and small businesses by using practical and timely experience. In his free time, he helps budding freelancers, and you can read about his journey on The Freelancer Diary.

About Neeraj Sachdeva

Neeraj is a life-geek, who enjoys talking about Psychology and Freelancing. His freelancing endeavor focuses on kick-starting start-ups and small businesses by using practical and timely experience. In his free time, he helps budding freelancers, and you can read about his journey on The Freelancer Diary.

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