Big Balls + Small Brains = Excellent conditions for…

I’d argue just about anything, but in this case we’re talking about surfing. My good friend and personal surf guru said that I’m well on my way to becoming a surfer as I have the necessary ingredients… big balls and a small brain!


Now I’ve always been a proponent of mindfulness and increasing your conscious brain activity.  I believe strongly in being thoughtful, practical, strategic, and reflective in all aspects of life.  But there comes a time when it’s best to shrink the brain — that time is once you are in the process of doing.If you are busy thinking while doing, the doing will not be done well.  As Yin and Yang are mutually consumptive (the more of one, the less of the other) your ability to feel and be present can be consumed by your analytical mind and active imagination.  Best to be truly present in order to be your best.  This is true in all kinds of physical activity, surfing included.While not all types of activity require big balls, the concept of “going for it” works whether painting a picture, playing with your kids, listening to your partner, writing a blog post, engaging in debate, kicking bad habits, and learning anything new.  Your willingness to fall on your face and get up again will create conditions excellent for success.

An old saying goes like this, “to become a master, one must first be a fool.”

A newer saying goes like this, “every expert started a student.”

Often people are willing to “try” something new, but is “trying” enough?  My kids will nibble at the edge of a new food claiming to have tried it and not liked it.  Predictable behavior from a child, but unacceptable from someone really wanting to learn and grow.  A great Qi Gong teacher (Donald Rubbo) of mine will often be heard saying, “Don’t try, do!” and as Yoda taught, “Do or do not, there is no try.”

What stops people from “doing” and going all out for their dreams?  Fear.  Fear of looking stupid.  Fear of failing.  Fear of not liking it.  All of these fears come from over-thinking / big-brain activity.  It’s not until we begin that we may find out the real truth.

The real truth may look like this…
I think –> I try –>  I do –> I am

For my venture into surfing the thought arose that I really want to learn, followed by my trying to see if I might like it, followed by my doing regularly, and (hopefully) followed by the fact that I am now a surfer.

James says it’ll take at least a year before I’m any good. Seems like a long time and from my early results, a challenging road ahead. What would you like to learn? Realistically, how long or how much effort will it take to know if you like it and to develop the skills necessary to thrive? What are the tools you’ll need?

Surfers become expert at analyzing the swell and foreseeing the oncoming waves, big-brain stuff that happens before all the action. Much like the batter anticipating the pitch or the sales person practicing it.Thinking before acting so that you can act without thinking. When done right it can make catching a wave, hitting a fastball, closing a deal, or cooking for 20 look effortless and fun.

In surfing and throughout all of our life, external conditions are constantly changing. No two waves are the same. You cannot rinse and repeat.

It’s in the internal conditions that we have some control. What can you do to cultivate the excellent conditions of “big balls + small brain”?


Author: adamcoleshapiro

- just a man, father, husband, son, brother, and friend to many trying to make a difference by sharing what i've learned and think will be useful to you. My background: Mr. Adam Shapiro is a Nationally Certified (NCCAOM) and Colorado State Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.), holding a Masters Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine (MSTCM) from The Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences in Oakland, CA. Prior to becoming an acupuncturist and herbalist, Adam studied several ancient martial arts including Tai Ji, Bagua, Hsing-I, and Northern Shaolin Kung Fu, as well as healing arts known as Qi Gong. Adam's love for these Chinese internal arts paved the way for him to become a hands-on healer and heart-felt teacher sharing the gifts he's gained from his years of dedicated study and practice.

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