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Why settle for ‘good enough’? – Be extraordinary

This August, I succeeded in doing something I’ve never done in my life before…

As the tail end of storm Ellen was lashing the UK’s south coast, I decided to blow the dust off my 1980’s windsurfer and see if my body would remember something it last did when I was in my 20s.

It did!

Astonishingly, after a gap of 35 years, I managed to complete a manoeuvre that I never managed to master during my younger years – a carve jybe – the Holy Grail of windsurfing.

This manoeuvre is extremely difficult because you have to keep the board on the plane as you “carve” a 180-degree turn through the water.  At the mid-point through the turn, you lose all power from the wind and have to rely on the momentum of the board to take you through the turn.

This requires a keen sense of balance, as not only do you need to steer the board using your feet, but you also have to support the mast and sail as you flip them over to the other tack.  If for one moment the board comes off the plane, it sinks, as it doesn’t have sufficient buoyancy to stay afloat without substantial forward motion.

The power of mindset

So why couldn’t my nimble, fit, 25-year-old self do it in the 80’s, yet my 60-year-old self managed to do it this summer?

Was it because board technology has changed in the intervening period?  No – I was using the very same board that has been sitting pitifully abandoned in my garage for 35 years.

The difference comes down to one word – MINDSET.  Back in the 80’s, I (subconsciously) believed that I’d reached the limit of my windsurfing capability.  Some “lucky” people could carve jybe – and I simply wasn’t one of them. I didn’t have enough natural talent or balance, so I gave up.

But now, I know that acquiring any new skill is much more a question of practice, persistence and application than talent, i.e. having a growth mindset.  I had to push through the valley of disappointment (where no progress seems to be evident), wiping out countless times, each time adjusting my technique slightly.

Acquiring any new skill is much more a question of practice, persistence and application, than talent.

Age is no barrier

It still makes me smile when I think about what I managed to do – against all of the odds.  It just shows that age is no barrier to learning and doing new things – even things that require physicality.

Too often, we are content to cruise along, accepting our current abilities as a given. We say to ourselves: “I’m not the sporty type”; “I haven’t got a musical bone in my body”; I’m no good at sales”. All of these are self-defining, limiting beliefs that have no scientific basis.  The very design principle of our brain is to enable us to change.

Think of an area where you would like to improve?  Are you putting limits on your career aspirations? Or is age your excuse?

In truth, the only barrier is your mindset.

Are you happy being “good enough” or could you be something more? Contact me about our Mindset Assessment. Email: info@team-working.com

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