What Surfing, Photography, and Steph Curry Can Teach You


Photo by Oliver Sjostum/Unsplash

That’s an odd title isn’t it?

Well, there are a host of useful life lessons that these three distinct sources have to teach us.

If you surf (I body surf), you are obsessed with getting better and better, improving your skills. As you do so, calm seas or the same old easy waves become boring. You want to test your skills against bigger and bolder surf. Avid, expert surfers are known to travel around the world at a moment’s notice when they learn of an especially challenging spot. For us, it is not to wish that life was easier without any challenges. Wouldn’t that be delusional anyway? Life will always be full of contrast like the ocean surf. Like surfers, we would be well served to develop a growth mindset to build our given talents so we can look forward to and not retreat from life’s challenges and surf its waves.

Over the last few years, I’ve developed an interest in photography. What makes some images more interesting and impressive than others? While there are technical camera aspects to learn, what impacted me most was to become more aware and conscious of my surroundings, to develop the “photographer’s eye.” Now as I venture out, I am discovering a new world and beginning to notice beauty in patterns, lighting, angles, perspectives, and unlikely subjects. Sunsets, flowers, landscapes, sports, people, and buildings are obvious attractions, but what about the micro and macro worlds? I have begun to notice tiny things like spider webs, geometric patterns in architecture, and the most mundane objects as totally fascinating. Discovering all this beauty surrounding me by being more present and aware, my gratitude has flourished. Every moment becomes an adventure and a photo opportunity!

Finally, any worthy photographer knows that proper editing is essential. In life, we might calling it “reframing.” Our ultimate freedom lies in our choice in how we respond to anything. With our quick reactions, we may fall into the trap of fear or one of its disempowering cousins. That’s just being human, but remember you can edit your thoughts. When I find a photo that initially disappoints, I am reminded that I can crop it down or edit it. We can do the same with life.

If you don’t know who Stephen Curry is, he is a professional basketball player. He is a slender, undersized (by NBA standards) individual who has single-handedly changed the game. He has demonstrated the uncanny ability to consistently shoot the ball through the basket from distances and awkward positions that just a short time ago would have been thought to be foolhardy. When he isn’t handling the ball, he seems to endlessly be darting around the court to create scoring opportunities not only for himself, but his teammates. Now not only his contemporaries, but youth are copying him. Curry is now acknowledged as the game’s all-time supreme shooter. He is his team’s leader by example, a winner (of at least four championships), a fabulous, unselfish teammate, and plays with tireless joy that is infectious. Like all supreme performers, he is not tripped up by perfection, but instead consumed with perpetual improvement. (A study of the very best performers in any endeavor show that they have between 3-6 “off days” in any 30-day period, but they invariably recover quicker and better than others consumed by perfection.) He is obviously comfortable being uncomfortable and doesn’t let setbacks stop him.

As he has approached the twilight of his career, he is ever growing as a person and has strengthened his body to assure maximum endurance and efficiency. He is working at staying relevant. Are you? Steph Curry also spreads his joy and love of life to his community where he is just as inspiring and unselfish. We can’t all be Stephen Curry’s on the basketball court, but we can emulate his quest of constant improvement, training, practice, joy, and unselfish giving.

So which example resonates most with you and what are the similarities between them?

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)