THE 6 KEY LIFE LESSONS SKIING TAUGHT ME

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Austria is a beautiful country to be in during winter time when there is lots of snow. This is important. There has to be snow. Without it, it’s just cold, dry and did I say cold? Anyway, this year we did what all families do during the December / January holiday season. We went skiing and it was marvelous and life changing for me, all at the same time. Why?

Well, I started to learn how to ski as an adult. Why is this, such a big deal? Firstly, because it’s not so easy to wear those heavy ski shoes and put on those long skis. Secondly, you have to learn not only how to ski but to move in those huge plastic boulders they call ski boots. Its doing 10 things on the check list before you get to do the actual skiing. Thirdly, it’s all about learning a new skill which is never easy to do. I tried it before many years ago and wasn’t so successful. But this year I challenged myself fully and decided I will be a skier by the end of the week.

Skiing is a loner sport. I say this because you have to deal with only yourself on that mountain or hill. It’s just about you, the skis and the mountain. It’s about getting yourself to learn this one thing and be as good as all the other people flying or skiing past you. That’s if you want to learn the sport of course. You could always give up (as I wanted to many times) but again you could really learn how to come down the mountain without falling or rolling down the snow, and most importantly, have the time of your life doing it.

To be honest, I wanted to give up on my first two days. I remember saying to myself, “this is too much. Why the heck am I putting myself through this pain?” I had a check list of 10 different things to do, before I was able to get myself up on the training hill and when I was skiing I had another checklist. Things like the position of your feet, how to hold your ski sticks, walking with the skis, how to get a hold of the stick lift so it can pull you properly up the hill, or your ass will hit the snow many times (which of course it did). I mean seriously the list was endless and I hadn’t even starting learning how to actually ski. At one point I told myself, “I’m doing this one more time and when I come down this stupid hill I’m going to the ski hut (the restaurant at the bottom of the hill), get myself a hot drink and never come out.

But something happened every time I came down the hill. I learnt one more thing and I got just a little better. Then I learnt something else and this made me improve my skill a little more. Before I realized it I was getting better and better every single time I came down the hill. What that did was help me let go of a lot of fear I had, of falling or hurting myself. I had to finally let those fears go, to let through my small victories. I had to let go of this little fear voice talking to me every single time I was at the bottom of the hill, telling me “it’s just too hard, my feet hurt, I am falling too much, this is embarrassing”.  The more I didn’t listen to that negative voice, the better I got each time I came down that hill. The better I got, the more confidence I had to do it again and again.

By the end of the third day, I COULD SKI. I can actually ski.

These are the lessons skiing taught me;

  1. YOU HAVE TO OVERCOME FEAR BEFORE THE SUCCESS COMES
    Fear is always around in our heads and even more when we confront a challenge. So we have a choice to make. Either, we listen to it’s negative voice and give up or tell yourself “dude it’s all good. Let’s start here and see how it goes”. As the voice of fear keeps talking, (which of course it will) with all the reasons why you will not or can’t make it, make sure you have counter answers. Tell yourself “Just try it one more time. Of course I can do it. I am able. Just do it one more time then let’s see what happens.” You are the only one who can shut up that negative voice. The good news is, it can be done.
  1. PAIN=GOOD
    Pain is actually your friend. By trying anything new or anything out of your comfort zone you are guaranteed to feel some kind of pain. It may be physical or mental pain. This is like building a new muscle while exercising. First you have to feel the pain and work through it. Then and only then will you see the results. So when you feel any kind of pain, know this is you reprogramming yourself to do something better or this is you learning something new that can add value to your life. This is only a good thing. This means Pain=good.
  1. DON’T GIVE UP TOO EASY
    We have this tendency of not giving something new a chance. When we feel uncomfortable we think “ahhhh this is not worth it, forget this” and we let go. Consciously change the way you think. Instead of giving up, take a small break and try again. Just try again. Then do it one more time and see how you feel afterwards. Nothing comes easy. It is up to us not to give up on ourselves and believe we can actually learn a new skill and we can improve and be better. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
  1. BABY STEPS LEAD TO SUCCESS
    How do you get to the top of a flight of steps? By of course doing it, one step at a time. If you take too many steps at a go you could slip, fall and hurt yourself or you could get too tired before reaching the top. So just take things a moment at a time. There is no need to look at the top of the steps and go, “I’m never going to make it”.  DON’T SAY THAT. Look at what you have to achieve at this moment in time, today, tomorrow, this week and just keep at it. After some time, you will be amazed at what you have achieved.
  1. BE YOUR OWN CHEERLEADER
    The feeling I had after the fourth day, knowing that I had achieved this skill which I have always wanted, was so amazing. I was so proud of myself. I didn’t wait to be told how well I had done. I decided to congratulate myself. I said “Ceri you are just amazing. Look what you have achieved. You have done a great job and I am very proud of you.” Now the magic in doing that is (as weird as it may sound) afterwards, I didn’t need any pat on the back from anyone else. My acknowledgement, me being proud of my achievement was more than satisfactory. You do not need the approval or the congratulations from anyone else. Yes it is nice to hear it. But you do not need it. Say these words to yourself “I am so proud of you. You have done really well”.
  1. ACT LIKE A CHILD: Since I was learning how to ski I was on the lower hill with lots of kids between the ages 4-9 years, who were also taking ski lessons. Have you ever realized that kids don’t care what other people think when they fail or fall? They just pick themselves up and do it again until they get it right. I remember the first few times I was learning how to use the teller lift and I would fall and then, I had to move on the side so that I don’t stop the motion of others coming up the lift. I saw kids who fell too, moved on the side, then just started playing with the snow as they waited for the ski teacher or parent to come help them up. Well that is definitely not the feeling I had. I felt embarrassed, I thought I looked like an idiot and just wanted to hide. By the way, no one made me feel that like this and when I looked around no one even cared. These are just feelings we bestow on ourselves. We need to lighten up. Find your inner child. You do not need to care what other people think. More important is what you think. That’s what is going to make you move forward.

I found this quote and it is just perfect to end with.

Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.

-Babe Ruth – 1895-1948

Professional Baseball Player

As I said, do not focus on the end result, it’s all about taking it a step at a time.  🙂

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