The Unexpected Antidote to Procrastination

surfingA recent early morning hike in Malibu, California, led me to a beach, where I sat on a rock and watched surfers. I marveled at these courageous men and women who woke before dawn, endured freezing water, paddled through barreling waves, and even risked shark attacks, all for the sake of, maybe, catching an epic ride.

After about 15 minutes, it was easy to tell the surfers apart by their style of surfing, their handling of the board, their skill, and their playfulness.

What really struck me though, was what they had in common. No matter how good, how experienced, how graceful they were on the wave, every surfer ended their ride in precisely the same way: By falling.

Some had fun with their fall, while others tried desperately to avoid it. And not all falls were failures – some fell into the water only when their wave fizzled and their ride ended.

But here’s what I found most interesting: The only difference between a failure and a fizzle was the element of surprise. In all cases, the surfer ends up in the water. There’s no other possible way to wrap up a ride.

That got me thinking: What if we all lived life like a surfer on a wave?

The answer that kept coming to me was that we would take more risks.

That difficult conversation with your boss (or employee, or colleague, or partner, or spouse) that you’ve been avoiding? You’d initiate it.

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Peter Bregman

Peter Bregman

Peter Bregman helps CEOs and their leadership teams break down silos and tackle their most important priorities together. He teaches courageous leadership in an annual Leadership Week. He is the author, most recently, of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done, a Wall Street Journal best seller, winner of the Gold Medal from the Axiom Business Book awards, named the best business book of the year on NPR, and selected by Publisher's Weekly and the New York Post as a top 10 business book. He is also the author of Point B: A Short Guide to Leading a Big Change and co-author of five other books. Featured on PBS, ABC and CNN, Peter is a regular contributor to Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Forbes, National Public Radio (NPR), Psychology Today, and CNN as well as a weekly commentator on Fox Business News. Get notified when he writes a new article.

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