After a short delay in posting more of Nick’s amazing story, his lessons continue. In this segment, Nick speaks about taking opportunities as they present themselves, and has given a real life example of how he did this in his own life.
“When there is but a slither of any opportunity, it is your responsibility to pursue it with conviction” It’s hard to know when there is an opportunity or if there is going to be one, but in saying this, we must be ready to take advantage of them when they are offered. Rather than look for opportunities, I found it easier to keep clear of inopportune situation or moments by doing things that we could, not necessarily when we wanted to. Every so often, it would so happen to be perfect timing, but this was a rarity. For example, we usually ate at intervals of 3 hours, but if the elements of the weather changed, we were unable to take our hands off the paddles for anywhere up to 5 hours. That meant, no food and only sips of water. So, if the conditions were calm, even if having only paddled for one hour, we would eat, even though we were not hungry or thirsty. By doing this, we minimised the impact of the inopportune moments. This is what I meant by keeping clear of inopportune moments.
An example of taking advantage of a slither of an opportunity can be demonstrated with the following story. On day 3, we knew the forecast was going to be good for the day ahead, and this was a clear opportunity to push on and utilise the good weather. The problem was, the island we were camped on, created its own immediate weather system and this presented us with large crashing waves, thick heavy fog and very windy conditions. Couple this with the fact that the water was like ice, we were in a rock encrusted bay, it was pitch black (4am in the morning) and we were relying on our torch bouncing off the whitewash of the waves for navigation, it presented a very uncomfortable compromise.
We knew if we got past the 5 foot breaking waves, and made daylight, we would have a good day ahead, but the risk of capsizing, damaging our boat, and being trapped in the cold water was paralysing. The opportunity was still there though, and we decided 2-3 hours of discomfort was far better than the discomfort of potentially being stuck on an island for 10 days due to poor weather moving in. We realised the opportunity, and the opportunity cost of making it was better than not making it. We lined the kayak perpendicular to the waves, waited for the water to rush in and pick us up and take us and then paddled like obsessed beasts. As we built speed, the waves pounded into us and over our heads with building force. The power of the waves ripped equipment off the boat, tore away essentials on our life jackets, and sucked away our days food from our hatch and as our 270kg kayak hurtled through the wave and fell on the other side with spine compressing force threatening to shatter our fibreglass into splinters, I yelled orders from the front……”straighten up, paddle, paddle, paddle, straighten up, wave coming, wave coming, brace, paddle, paddle….” You know what, we made it through, and the rest of the day was close to perfect. I have never been so scared as I was at that moment that lasted about 6 minutes until we got past the mouth of the bay, but rarely will we get that “perfect opportunity”.
I don’t know if you can relate. Sure, you may have a run or a gym session scheduled for tomorrow, but that is tomorrow….you have today. Do it now, whilst you still can. It may be raining, it may be uncomfortable, but in 30 minutes you will be home, in a warm shower and comfy clothes with a full belly. There is nothing wrong with uncomfortable, get comfortable with it and you will achieve so much more in your life.
Comfort is a perception, perfect timing is a matter of relativity, they are all matters of the mind. Sure, you may have an opportunity later, but if you also have an opportunity now, why not take it? You will only feel better for doing so.