What you can learn from the dark side of discipline

May 26, 2022

It was 4 am and dark as oil. 

Big fluffy snowflakes were floating down from the sky. The leafless trees in the downtown park were decorated with a beautiful foamy layer of fresh powder snow.

Something’s moving through the darkness.

It slices through the snow with speed.

Suddenly it leaps in the air.

A flash.

A screech.

A thump.

The crowd cheers.

I had just slid down a 30 stair long handrail on my snowboard and successfully landed my hardest trick.

It only took 87 painful tries.

Most of those failed attempts ended up in me cartwheeling down the concrete steps or landing on my ass on those said stairs or falling down the 10-foot drop on the other side of the rail knocking the wind out of my breathing apparatus or just finding some other way not to kill myself in the process.

This is the life of a pro snowboarder.

One new trick requires usually hundreds or thousands of tries. 

And an equal amount of fails.

When you do this for 15 years 150 days per year you get really good at falling and getting up. 

Both are learnable skills.

You get really good at not giving up.

You build this superpower of discipline, perseverance, and persistence.

You learn that repetition, analyzing your mistakes, and doing it again and again and again gets you the results you want.

But any extreme personal quality comes with its own set of problems.

You can’t let go of things. 

You are convinced that you can brute force things into existence. 

You stay on course no matter what. 

You don’t give up on anything.

But life isn’t that simple. 

Sometimes life requires you to accept things. 

To let go when letting go feels gung ho. 

To give up when your mind tells you to keep on.

To flow through matter like water.

To bend in the wind like bamboo.

We still have many things to learn compadre.

A black and white photo of the author Jussi's smiling face with shortcut hair and a short beardJussi Tarvainen

Former pro snowboarder. Author at night. Multi(failed)-entrepreneur. And mostly an awesome designer (said, my five-year-old son).

plenty more loot in the vault

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