A long time ago, I watched a movie about a South-African boxer trying to make it into the international circuit. That alone could certainly stand as a very meritable goal. However, the fact that he was white and his trainer was black, and that they both pursued their dream during the height of apartheid in South Africa makes their story even more remarkable.
A true testament to courage, grit, determination, and resourcefulness.
For what is resourcefulness if not going beyond your natural skills and making the most of the resources you currently have at your disposal.
Listen to nature…
I don’t like boxing. Never have.
But I have enormous respect for anyone who decides to pursue the sport professionally. I am especially drawn to the creativity of some boxers to pull their limited resources together, in the majority of times, from very humble beginnings to mega-stardom, by not letting themselves be beaten down by lack of resources. This is one of four resourcefulness examples to live by.
Back to the movie.
I recall a thought that the boxer’s coach, an old and wise mentor, shared with his protege shortly before dying. It’s not textually accurate but it went something like this:
“…whenever you have doubts in your life, look to nature for the answers”.
It may not mean or resonate with most people. I get it. But then again, Sentinels are not like most people, right?
The message, in my case, did have a profound impact on my life.
It helped me gain clarity, allowing me to face some of life’s inevitable adverse situations with grace and humility. I was also lucky to realize this while living in one of the most naturally abundant places in Mexico: Riviera Maya. This beautiful stretch of sea, mangrove, and jungle had all the necessary elements for finding my answers.
It’s not my fault…it’s never my fault!
If you have been reading my posts for sometime time (thank you!), you probably know that lately, I have been facing emotional and economic challenges which have left me a bit perplexed and overwhelmed.
So, I did the predictable thing: I complained, pointing the finger at external reasons causing my misfortune, my excuses falling squarely on the lack of resources not available to me. You know the ones: got no money, no time for a second job, to late to go back to school, blaming them millennials for the audacity to think and do things differently…blah, blah, blah.
The internal discussion was harmful, to say the least. It also got very confusing, very fast. Overwhelm was getting the better of me. I felt I was slowly choking in doubts and fears. And then I remembered the message from the boxing coach, so long ago:
“… whenever you have doubts in your life, look to nature for the answers”.
I remember I spent the rest of the afternoon at a local beach, trying hard to listen to nature, letting her offer her wisdom. And then, just as I was about to head back to my car, I had my answer. It happened so suddenly and with such clarity.
The ocean was calm, as it always is during May, I think it was, at the Riviera Maya. Waves lapped on the white-sand beaches of Puerto Morelos. I watched for a while as the waves came in and then receded.
And the then it came to me.
Like waves coming in and then receding, external resources can just as easily swallow you up in a misguided sense of glory.
It’s not to say that it’s all bad. On the contrary. External resources are great and they do have a place in one’s personal journey, but here’s the thing: they are finite. They can provide a certain sense of security for a while.
But once depleted, resources can toss you out onto dry land leaving with you with nothing to show for.
It’s finally making sense!
Standing there, I now understood that, in the larger scheme of things, those resources were ephemeral and short-lived. Their tides depending on the comings and goings of circumstances and events.
I realized that they could also be great facilitators of excuses as to why we are not doing what we need to do to accomplish our goals and dreams.
I pondered further, recalling briefly my best friend’s son when he began to walk. As he was learning to walk, he would fall down over and over again, on his own. His natural persistence would eventually lead to the next stage of growth which was walking.
To his misfortune, he reached a time in his life that both my best friend and his wife began fostering a lack of self-responsibility and ownership to real-life situations.
Without realizing it, they began dismantling his natural resourcefulness, slowly taking away qualities like creativity, confidence, troubleshooting, self-esteem, pride and independent thinking.
And as if the universe wanted me to understand all of this in terms which I could better comprehend, it wisely sent me, as it often does, a very clear and loud sign.
It came to me while driving home and listening to Tony Robbins (God bless him!) during one of his acclaimed Business Mastery conferences. To his electrified audience Tony said:
“Success is not about your resources. It’s about how resourceful you are with what you have”.
A-HA! moment anyone?
Coming out of a slumber…finally!
When you surround yourself with environments that encourage you to plan, strategize, prioritize, set goals, search for resources and track your development, you are on the fast track to learning resourcefulness.
These six skills are the building blocks which give us the ability to find and use available resources to achieve goals.
And that is exactly what happened to me.
Deciding to create Surfsentinel finally woke me from a deep slumber. And for the past 10 months, I have read, listened to, and engaged as much as my budget has allowed with thinkers and legitimate influencers in both the PD and long-form content marketing space, literally re-programming my mental and emotional hard-disk.
I have committed to feeding my mind with practical positivity as well as improving my mindset and productivity habits.
The only trouble was that my subconscious mind had been so full of crap for so long, I had to accept the fact that reprogramming it would take me at least as long, if not more, than all the time I had spent wasting away in the emotional and intellectual basement of my life.
So, are cognitive skills enough for being a resourceful person?
I wondered and began researching biographical books about legendary entrepreneurs, people with an uncanny sense of resourcefulness such as Walt Disney, Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Elon Musk. My research also included personalities from our surf culture, individuals who broke ground in the surfing world by applying to a great extent the six building blocks mentioned above (more about that in a moment).
I found out that to be resourceful, you must have the ability to process information emotionally as well as intellectually.
I also discovered that resourceful people are not only better at reaching their goals but also handle stress better.
So what makes resourcefulness such a priced skill to have?
I believe it has to do a lot with how you focus and invest that focal power.
In other words, people focus more on their limitations instead of taking advantage of their resources.
Follow their lead…
Going back to our tribe, take Taylor Knox, for instance.
At age 15, Taylor suffered a devastating back injury while skateboarding. Doctors found a damaged lumbar vertebra. Anybody who has experienced serious back injuries knows how painful and debilitating an injury of this sort can be.
Doctors told Taylor that surgery would be necessary for his recovery, but that probabilities to get back to surfing were minimal.
Knox underwent a very intensive rehabilitation which lasted six months, his body in a full body cast.
During this difficult period, Taylor decided to dig deep into his internal resources, visualizing from the hardship of his recovery the way he would surf again once back in the ocean he loved so much.
Incredibly, only months after returning to the water, Knox left the middle competition behind and returned to the top ranks of the NSSA Open Season.
In the end, his hard work, determination, and relentless pursuit to improve his surfing earned him an opportunity in the international spotlight. I
n February 1998, Knox would gain worldwide notoriety by dropping into a 52 – foot monster wave at Todos Santos during the Reef Big-Wave World Championships.
He became an overnight sensation and an international hero.
His blue-collar approach to surfing has also earned him the respect and admiration from his peers, recognizing him as the surfer’s surfer of the actual WSL. No mean feat.
A second great example of how a person can use personal judgment and intuition along with any available resources to achieve a goal that would otherwise prove to be impossible is Jay Moriarty.
Jay became a surfing luminary at the early age of 15 when he became the youngest surfer ever to ride giant Mavericks.
Two years before that fateful day, Jay began a journey that would test his strength and stamina as well as stretch his spiritual and mental fortitude to the very limit.
Along with his mentor, Rick “Frosty” Hesson, Jay underwent a two-year training program designed by Hesson which included visualization, swim hundreds of miles, and paddling hundreds of hours in open ocean.
Hesson also included writing essays on various topics related to desire, visualization, mindset, etc. Moriarty also ran, rode his bike, sailed, fished and played volleyball.
Tragically, Jay left us too early, passing away during training while free diving in the Maldives. His legacy remains as an inspiration to all.
Last but certainly not least is Bethany Hamilton.
If anybody had a reason to hang their hat of excuses not to accomplish their dreams, it should have been Bethany.
Losing an arm to a 14-foot tiger shark is a life-changing event, the trauma, and sequels of such an event leaving deep, permanent scars on anyone.
Going back in the water would be the last thing anyone would ever imagine of doing.
Bethany is not such an individual.
After her harrowing experience, losing 60 approximately 60 percent of her arm, she underwent several surgeries. Once stabilized, Bethany was released after a few days. Bethany saw this incident as a unique opportunity to thrive, taking her apparent tragedy and turning it around completely in her favor. She became laser-focused on getting back in the water as soon as possible.
Facing her challenging condition, Bethany had to re-think her entire life strategy. Her resourcefulness came from the necessity to discard some old rules for the sake of experiencing something new and much more significant.
In my opinion, it is also quite possible that, among other things, she eventually arrived at the following conclusion:
The ability to determine and shape her future would also contribute to her lifelong happiness and success.
Bethany was determined to keep on surfing, so much so, in fact, that shortly after her release, she won the Explor Women’s division at the 2005 NSSA National Championships. In 2007, undaunted, she began her career in the pro circuit.
That same year she released Heart of a Soul Surfer, a documentary which told her story before, during and after the shark attack. The documentary would be made into a movie later on called Soul Surfer, released in 2011.
Her achievements went well beyond professional surfing, also encouraging a healthy lifestyle and sharing her story through conferences and non-profit organizations like Friends of Bethany.
As social media became better known, Bethany also participated in several platforms, allowing her to acquire a very large following, yours truly included!
She has authored books like Body and Soul: A Girls Guide to a Fit, Fun and Fabulous Life, published in 2014. Additionally, she was also involved in another documentary, Surfs Like a Girl.
Back in the water, she won first place at the Surf n Sea Pipeline Women’s Pro event in March 2014. Her most recent accomplishment was giving birth to her baby boy, Tobias on June 1, 2015.
Bethany is the truest example of never accepting your limitations and seeing every problem, difficulty, resistance, hurdle, and roadblock as an opportunity to grow and thrive.
We have all faced adverse situations in our lives at one point or another. When push comes to shove, life makes us discover what really works.
Like Bethany Hamilton, we try new ways to make things work when they don’t go our way.
Greatness at its most inspiring arrives when we come face-to-face with enormous odds. And resourcefulness is one of the cornerstones for achieving mastery in life.
Do you know anyone who has shown the abilities of a resourceful individual? What are the traits you think you could make your own to help you become more resourceful?
Please share your thoughts inside the comment box below. I answer all comments and I value your opinions very much
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