What skateboarding has taught me

I have been thinking a lot about ‘risk’ and ‘reward’ lately. I would like to think that I am risk taker. I like to push boundaries and try new things, but ‘within reason’. I said that out loud the other day and I wondered what ‘within reason’ even meant. If its reasonable— is that truly risk taking? What are you even risking at that point? 

Skateboarding— like many other things— requires risk taking. In the case of skateboarding— not like many things— requires committed risk taking, or else it becomes even riskier. Trepidation, or holding back is where the greatest risk lies, and in that sense, it is an ‘all or nothing’ sport which is what I appreciate most about it. More than that, skateboarding is highly ‘unreasonable’. Out of context, if someone told you that they strapped some wheels on a wooden board and pushed themselves off a steep ledge— to me, that person would sound foolish. Intriguing— but foolish. But in that case, who is reaping the reward?

For me, in the process of learning to skateboard, personal growth has come first, and ‘fun’ has come second. It takes practice to find comfort and joy in new situations. It takes time for the ‘unreasonable’ to become ‘reasonable’ as you build skills, confidence and knowledge in new disciplines. The reward comes later. 

I encourage you all to go out and try something that seems unreasonable— even implausible— with 100% commitment and see where it takes you. Setting aside the things that hold you back is not a switch you can flip off at your convenience, it requires work and discomfort. Encourage others to do the same. Risk taking becomes easier with a support system, and the world becomes a better place when people are able to push the envelope— and push it more than once. Pushing boundaries is one thing, but moving boundaries requires persistence. The skateboarders you see on TV or social media all had to push off for the first time at some point and have excelled by doing it over and over again until it felt natural.  We must push ourselves to do better for the world and each other over and over again until it feels natural and then continue to push further, rather than taking ‘reasonable’ risks for un-meaningful ‘rewards’. 

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