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4 Tips for Overcoming Fear from a Surfer Who Nearly Drowned

4 Tips for Overcoming Fear from a Surfer Who Nearly Drowned

Fear of failure is an emotion that affects everyone. Whether you’re a business owner who worries about how your operation will survive in a changing economy, or just someone in love who agonizes over the thought of having your heart broken.

If you’re a big wave surfer like Greg Long, you fear the unthinkable. And the unthinkable happened on December 21, 2012.

On that fateful day, he and several other surfers were facing some monstrous waves at the Cortes Bank, an underwater seamount 100 miles off the coast of California. Greg wiped out and endured a three-wave hold-down before his body was pulled, unconscious, from the water and carried back to the boat by the team’s rescue crew.

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Greg survived to share his story of what was essentially a non-fatal drowning. He even managed to overcome his fears and insecurities and get back in the saddle, or—in this case—back on the board, but it wasn’t easy.

It took some soul searching, some changes in perspective, and about a full year before Greg was finally able to shake his doubts and surf again with the same confidence he once had. Here are a few of the pointers he shares as he looks back at his road to mental recovery.

Control what variables you can and forget about the rest.

In surfing, as well as in life, there are elements you can control and there are those you cannot. Greg’s advice to anyone dealing with fear or anxiety is to only spend your time focusing on that first category.

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In Greg’s case, for every hour he spent surfing, he spent many more preparing and training (both mentally and physically) and making sure his equipment was in good working order. He knew the wipeout would come. His job was to work as hard as he could so that, when it did, he could be confident in knowing he was prepared for it.

Know that there are other possible outcomes, and they aren’t all bad.

A large part of Greg’s fear stemmed from the fact that, for too long, his entire life had revolved around surfing. It was all he knew and the only life he had ever imagined for himself. When something consumes that much of your awareness, then the thought of losing it is devastating.

Almost losing his life caused Greg to reevaluate his priorities and what he was living for. After a while, he realized that, while he still loved to surf and wanted to continue doing it, his true happiness was found once he struck a better balance that incorporated things like spending time with friends and family and pursuing other hobbies and interests.

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But don’t question.

Accepting the fact that there may be other possible outcomes is good. Constantly questioning why certain things happen is bad. No matter what life throws at you, know that it’s for a reason. Work towards finding a solution to adapt to your new circumstances and move on.

Greg never questioned why he suffered such a horrific accident or adopted a “why me?” mentality. Instead, he accepted his new reality and sought to figure out exactly what he was meant to learn from it.

Be grateful for your circumstances, no matter what.

It may sound strange to think about being grateful for tragedy or failure or heartache. But that’s exactly what Greg did after his near-fatal accident. He was keenly aware of the fact that he had no control over the obstacles he was facing. He only had control over himself and how he tackled them.

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Greg knew that it wasn’t those outside factors that contributed to his happiness. His happiness came from within. Greg made a conscious decision to embrace his new circumstances, and the result left him happier than he ever was when his life was consumed by surfing.

With these tips, anyone can begin making strides towards overcoming their fears of the uncertain or unknown. Change is inevitable. Hardship is possible. But behind it is a lesson to be learned and a new future that awaits you.

Featured photo credit: surfing-926822_1920/StockSnap via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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