Skateboarding as a Philosophy

Life lessons gathered through years of skateboarding.

Photo By: Oleg Ivanov Unsplash

We were rebels at heart, we partied as if tomorrow was fictitious, and boy did we have this innate talent of pissing off the general public. Growing up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, skateboarding consumed the vast majority of my teenage years.

Although it had a tendency to lend itself to the justification of sketchy behavior, it did teach me a few fundamental life lessons. These are the lessons that I deem worthy of recognition.

Lesson #1. Don’t think, just go for it.

Standing on a runway that leads to a gnarly ten-stair, you can’t overthink it. If you do, you’ll never muster up the courage to go for it. You’ve got to throw all of your logic and reasoning out the window. This situation is uncomfortable for the brain; every fiber of your being will be screaming, “DON’T DO IT, YOU’LL DIE!”. However, you know you’ll be a better skater afterward, regardless of the outcome.

This applies to your life as well. Before you make any changes for the sake of your development, your logic and reasoning will plead with you not to do it. You can’t give in. If you’re feeling comfortable, the odds are that you’re not growing. Stop thinking about it, and just do it.

Lesson #2. You’re going to eat sh*t, but you’ll always get back up.

I can’t even begin to fathom how many times I’ve bailed or gotten injured in the course of my skating years. I’ve been left with broken bones, bruised ribs, and scars that I can show to this day. Still, I always picked myself back up and was riding again in no time. More importantly, I didn’t consider my bails failures.

In life, there will constantly be moments where you feel as if the world has chewed you up and spit you out. You survive, though, don’t you? I always say the most successful people in life are just “master failures.” Before anyone accomplishes anything great, it is likely they’ve failed in doing so multiple times. Keep going.

Lesson #3. You can’t fake it; you’ve got to put the time in.

Being called a “poser” was equivalent to receiving a knife to the kidney. I wanted to make it in skateboarding, not fake it. Trust me, I did try faking it for a while, and it wasn’t fun. The only way to be a good “skater” was to put an adequate amount of time in and perfect the craft.

Whatever your goal is in life, whoever you aspire to be, can’t be faked. You’ve got to do the research and develop the necessary skills to attain your ideal future. If you try to fake it, you’ll never make it. It’s more likely you’ll be ostracized.

Lesson #4. If you want to skate like the best, you’ve got to skate with the best.

I began skating with a few buddies of mine. All of us were at the beginner skill level. Now, we did make some improvements, but mainly by means of video searches titled “How to get MASSIVE pop on your ollie.” It wasn’t until I ventured out to the city skatepark and began making friends there that I saw desirable results. By surrounding myself with skaters whose skill level far exceeded my own, I naturally picked up helpful tactics.

Always be on the lookout for people that are experts in your desired field. Find an “in” with them. This will drastically improve your skillset and display what behaviors you need to pick up or get rid up. It’s also quite fulfilling to be around those that share similar interests and ambitions.

Although I don’t skateboard much anymore because that particular lifestyle doesn’t mesh well with my current values, I realize that it offered me some pretty practical life lessons that I carry with me to this day…

That and a couple of gnarly scars.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store