Some life lessons you have to learn from experience, but it seems like no matter how many times you learn them you fail the quiz over and over.
Skateboarding taught me two things. The first and most important was that there will always be people that are better than you, and worse than you. You can always find someone who can’t do what you can do, and there will always be someone who can do something you can’t. The worst part is that person who is better than you is probably also younger and you will never catch up. The comforting thing about this observation is that its pointless to dwell on how good other people are and just focus on improving yourself. Skateboarding was always fun, but letting go of how good I was (or wasn’t) made it even more enjoyable.
Another thing I learned from skateboarding was that the only way to make something look easy is to try your hardest. When a good skateboarder does a trick it looks beautiful, smooth and effortless. It’s as if the board just follows the feet into the air and flips by itself. It hit me the first time I landed a frontside flip off a ledge (kickflip + 180 turn facing forwards). I jumped with all the power in my legs, kicked out my left leg as far is it could extend and sailed through the air rotating smoothly to land back on the board. Putting that concentrated effort into a trick made it look as smooth as it did. Every time I tried to imitate the ease of a trick the board never followed through, or I would land too early. This has resurfaced in my life in other ways recently. I’m used to coasting through certain types of work, especially math. I could have performed much more gracefuly on the GRE math section had I put in all of my effort, but instead I got plywood to my shin and now my ego is bruised.
This last lesson has nothing to do with skateboarding, but I relearned it recently. It’s funny how quickly one can forget this simple wisdom. When dealing with women it’s more important how you make them feel than what you explain to them. Sometimes you don’t need to go into all the details and reasoning behind some action when all she wants is to feel special. It is completely counterintuitive to the male brain but its amazing how much trouble this simple observation can avoid. It is also an amazing feeling when you get it right ;)