And that implies keeping an open mind through life?
Yes, you have to get out of your comfort zone for that. Diversity doesn’t happen in the comfort zone. Just like we are in charge of setting the boundaries of our comfort zone, it is up to us to overstep them. Out of the comfort zone things get a bit scary or risky. It’s unpleasant to go there. Maybe it’s the pain of a past relationship that left a big wound in your heart, which results in you withdrawing, not really opening up anymore and keeping a safe distance instead. Or you might have been digging too deep around in your own feelings, mind, heart and soul, and don’t feel comfortable resulting in you taking a step back. That’s how self-worth issues arise. You delude yourself and by it, distance yourself from your inner self. By losing touch with yourself, however, you lose all chances for the joy and deep happiness that life has to offer. Disconnecting from yourself results in self-doubts and a negative self-image: not liking yourself, flaying yourself, being down on yourself. And then, it’s really difficult, to feel any joy for life.
Sounds like you consider this mindset a lifestyle?
Well, to enjoy life to the fullest is rightfully part of the image of windsurfers, surfers and kitesurfers. To celebrate life out in the ocean, to live out this passion for watersports is something that’s missing in other peoples’ lives, who don’t have this passion. Trying to meet the demands of daily life, family, job, to earn money etc. isn’t easy, but that’s how life rolls and we all have to deal with these things. With a passion like windsurfing, this weight of life on your shoulders gets lifted. You can see this zest for life in the face of a happy windsurfer out on the water. Most windsurfers get hooked by this beautiful connection with the great outdoors. Being able to use the power of Mother Nature for your own pleasure and sporting experience is just something very special; the more extreme the conditions, the more exhilarating the experience. To enjoy this force of nature, and mastering the challenge of putting this force into motion instead of being crushed by it, is an invaluable lesson. As a surfer I’ve always enjoyed realizing my playful approach to life in general. The way I deal with people habitually, how I go about my relationships and business is just like I go about surfing – tackling life in a playful way rather than stubbornly trying to force things.
Can windsurfers draw inspiration for life from their positive attitude and experiences on the water?
Windsurfers generally have a positive outlook on life. They embrace life and they believe they are here on Earth for a good time. And they are used to the fact that this fun usually takes place outside the comfort zone like traveling abroad to windsurf, to new spots or going out in scary, wild conditions. Windsurfers are prepared to take risks: big waves, strong wind, dodgy conditions ... There is always a risk involved and things can go wrong. That’s one of the keys to a happy life: The willingness to take risks and to step out of the comfort zone. Like for example opening yourself to a new relationship, also means you’re opening yourself to the possibility of getting hurt. This may sound absurd at first, but only if you’re all-in, can you experience the full intensity of love and feelings of a relationship. Windsurfers, surfers, kitesurfers usually have this all-in mentality. They fully commit to the feeling they’re chasing, the kick, the stoke, to truly connect with themselves and life by happily taking chances. A windsurfer does that per se, because there is always a risk involved when hitting the water. Compared to a tennis court, the ocean or a lake is a risky place.
Would you say that due to their passion, windsurfers are in touch with themselves, which changes and helps the way they deal with everyday life.
If you live by this philosophy, life changes. Many windsurfers try to integrate windsurfing as much as possible into everyday life. That’s a personal choice, a life philosophy and approach to life. These windsurfers live for the time on the water, the feeling of freedom – and to get in touch with themselves out there in the water as intensely as possible. I have many friends, who live in Germany and not in Fuerteventura, e.g. They make sure they find this connection with themselves through something else in their daily lives. They are pure surfers, like the surfers in Hawaii. Yet, they have adapted the same philosophy for their lives in Germany. That’s what matters. It’s about: How open are you to life? How open and connected are you to yourself? How to create joy in daily life and learning to revel in every moment of your life, enjoying not only what’s wonderful, but savouring also the mundane, the ordinary. Our coaching work is about broadening people‘s horizons. For a windsurfer that’s much easier.
What you’re saying is that windsurfers live an open diversity, whether they have a 9-to-5 job or live the life of a waterman?
Absolutely. Windsurfers essentially have raised the level of happiness that they aim for in life. They don’t focus on the glass of water half empty, but on a glass that’s full. It doesn’t matter where you live or what you do for a living. Even if you only get to go windsurfing one day a year, that’s not the point. What matters is that you keep reminding yourself of this life philosophy and that it all can be over any moment. There’s no time to wait to be happy, one day in the future. Now is the time! And the present moment is the only time that’s real. In the end of the day, tomorrow is an illusion. There is no certainty in tomorrow. We don’t know if we will wake up tomorrow. And yesterday is already past, gone. All that we’re left with is right now – this very moment. And in this very moment, it’s our windsurfer’s attitude to life that drives us to make the most of every moment. I’ve met many surfers in my life with a very radical attitude towards life, who said: “I don‘t accept not to have fun for two months. I’m so deeply grounded and entwined within this approach to life, that I will live it every single moment”. This positive attitude can also be very inspiring for other aspects of life.