When I use the word vision what comes to mind? Maybe the ability to see? Maybe a vivid dream with ties to reality? For the purpose of this article we are going to define it as the ability to see things which others fail to see.
Have you ever been out in the line up staring at the horizon when all off a sudden the guy next to you tears off in what appears to be a random direction? You watch him carefully, while at the same time looking at the horizon to see if he saw something you didn’t. You don’t see anything different, and yet he’s scratching like a clean up set is approaching.
30 seconds pass and sure enough, here comes the set and he’s in perfect position. You’re in perfect position to watch him catch the wave of the day.
Here’s the point… he saw something you didn’t. So how can a person sitting in the exact same spot see something others miss? Vision.
One of the most underrated skills (and yes it is a skill and can be learned) is the ability to see the sets on the horizon before they get to you.
So how does a person develop vision? In one word, observation.
This is where I lose most people. They want to ability to see what others don’t but aren’t willing to dedicate the time to develop that skill. Why? Because you have to sit and watch the waves… Study them, time them, count them.
Your ability to develop vision is going to be directly tied to your willingness to sit on the sidelines and observe. Here’s what I mean.
Waves are energy moving through the water, and just like any other “wave” (radio, micro, etc.), they move in patterns. In layman’s terms (which is totally what I am), waves have a direction, period, set, and height. These elements combine to create the pattern as the energy moves through the water. (For example, here is how a person might define a swell in technical terms. 6ft, from South 180 degrees, at 15 seconds.)
Now I’m not going to get into surf forecasting in this article so I’m not going to get any deeper than that, but what I want you to understand and take away from this is that they move in patterns, and that they don’t really shift too much during a given surf session.
Ok so what does this all mean to you and how does this relate to observation? Well if we know that the swell moves in a pattern, all we have to do is identify it, and we can predict how the waves will approach your given break.
Here’s the tough part though… you have to sit and watch it. How long? Long enough to discover the current swell’s rhythm. Once you can identify the pattern you’ll be able to do so much more in the water than the average surfer. You’ll learn when to paddle out so that you don’t get crushed by a set, you’ll know when the next set is approaching so that you can be in the perfect position, and you’ll know which wave in the set is the best one to paddle for.
One last illustration to tie this together. If you know that the sets are 16 mins apart, that there are 6 waves in the set, and that the best wave of the set is the 5th one, the rest becomes easy. So now when you’re sitting out in the line up and 15 mins have passed since the last set, and you see a slight bump on the horizon, chances are the next set is approaching… get in position.
So how does this connect to life and business?
The difference so often between those that get “lucky” and succeed, and those that miss the boat, is the ability to see things before they happen.
If you can identify the patterns, and yes they exist in life just like in surfing, you can maneuver yourself to take advantage of whats coming.
The problem is that most people don’t take the time to evaluate whats on the horizon. They wait-and-see at the same time everyone else sees… when the wave is upon them. But if you wait until the wave is so close that even those on the shore can identify it, you’ve waited too long.
The truly “lucky” ones see things way in advance of the vast majority of people. And therefore capitalize on the pattern before it becomes known to everyone.
Just like in surfing, this can be developed, but it takes time. You have to take the time to look around and observe what people are doing, and see the pattern. Once identified you have to “scratch” like crazy to get yourself in position to catch the wave. One example and then I’ll be done.
The internet boom started right around the year 2000, but those that capitalized on the boom started getting into position around 1996. Why? Because they could see the train coming. They saw what most didn’t… a pattern that had been in existence for centuries was about to shift to a new platform. They saw this new ability to use your computer to shop, communicate, and share as a new platform to do what we all love… connect. People love to communicate, they love to share what their kids are doing, and they are always looking for cheaper/easier/faster ways to conduct business. This wasn’t anything new, the pattern was there to be seen… if you had the vision to see it.
Some people look at those in position to catch the wave as “lucky”, and sure there are those that just happen to be sitting in the right spot to catch the wave, but don’t lie to yourself and say, “well if I was as lucky as THAT person I would have caught that wave too.” Instead, take it upon yourself to learn the industry that you’re in, or that you’re wanting to be in, figure out where the opportunities are, and then pick off that perfect front-side stand-up barrel.
It’s not luck, its preparation. It’s been said that luck is when opportunity and preparedness meet. Take the time to prepare and you will be the luckiest guy in the line up.
Next time you’re getting ready to paddle out, leave yourself enough time to sit on the beach and watch the waves. I promise that if you do this, you’ll get “lucky” and score the best waves of the day.
See ya out there.
If you would like me to go deeper into reading the “waves” leave a comment below and tell me so.