The other day I saw a Nike commercial that was about skateboarding stereotype—it shows the perception of how people see skateboarders. They see us as adolescents who never grew up; like our sole purpose is to invade or destroy other people’s property and stress them out. They see us like we’re some kind of criminals because we do something we love. JB Gillet said in Transworld’s skateboard movie called “First Love” how those people could never fully understand what skateboarding means to us and what’s the feeling we get from it.
I perceive skateboarding as something where I can free my mind—it’s like meditating with my eyes open. It’s the mixture of having fun and being free which makes it all so interesting. I don’t know whether it’s a constant rush of adrenaline or the feeling of freedom that keeps us addicted to it, overlooking the injuries or pain.
Although freedom plays a high role in skateboarding, you feel connected with other skateboarders not just because you share this same feeling with them, but also because you share the same point of view and vision—vision to do something you love.
Imagine yourself in a community where you are accepted unconditionally. No matter where you’re from, how old are you or how you look like. Your cultural background and the color of the skin is meaningless. You are accepted just being who you are.
Skateboarding itself has so many possibilities. Not only because there is nobody that’ll tell you what to do, where to do it and how to do it (unless there is a trick tip obviously), but also because there is an endless list of trick variations and skateboarding styles. Every skateboarder is unique because they add their own personality to their style.
What Skateboarding is all about
Skateboarding is so much more than just a physical activity. It’s all about you and how you express yourself. It’s allowing you to be what you want to be. And that is the main reason why skateboarding is so popular.
For every individual skateboarding means something different. For somebody, this is a way to escape from all the troubles and for others, it’s about pushing their limits so they can grow. All I can say for certain is that skateboarding is everything you want it to be.
How skateboarding helped me become a better person
In this world full of influences it is hard to find the differences between what you really want and what you think you want. Constant bombardment through either media, celebrities, society you live in or even by the people you are influenced by is putting a heavy weight on individuals in a way of how to live life or what is right, cool and what’s not.
Lets not forget how fast and busy lifestyle has driven us to the point we stop spending enough time with ourselves. This brings massive consequences. People don’t know who they are anymore because they aren’t connected with their inner voice. That can lead to rapid (in most cases wrong) decision making.
Skateboarding helped me become more independent. It taught me how to set and achieve goals, how to challenge them. But most importantly I learned perseverance—how not to give up and how to get up when you fall.
Life lessons I’ve learned from Skateboarding
Passion is everything
I’ve been skateboarding for more than 14 years now and I’m still as passioned as in the beginning. I still get a rush of excitement every single time I step on a skateboard and start pushing. That’s passion!
Passion is the spark we all need to start something. It’s the driving force that helps us go through the high and low points of our life. Passion is like oxygen—without it, we can’t perform at the highest level. It’s the only way that leads to great work.
There are a million combinations of tricks and every skateboarder does them differently. You can immediately spot someone that’s trying to fake a style just to look cool.
Humans are social animals. Because social approval is largely engraved in our brain we see a lot of people trying to be something they’re not. I can’t stress enough how bad this is. Instead of trying to do what’s popular or trendy think about your unique strengths and double down on that. Don’t try to please everybody, instead, please yourself first and the rest will follow. When you start becoming who you really are you start shaping the environment you live in.
With every move as skateboarders, we risk an injury for a greater good. That state of a complete focus when you’re on top of the stairs visualizing the trick in your head over and over again. We’re risking it for the adrenaline rush just before trying it for the first time. There is no greater feeling than overcoming something that seemed impossible before.
Without risks, you’re indeed playing it safe but that also means nothing better can happen to you. Every great person had to risk something to come to where they are today. Fear plays a big role when you start overthinking things but remember, in the majority of situations the odds are better than you think!
Learn to fall
Similarly to risks we know that we’re eventually going to fall on the floor. Instead of avoiding that we had to learn how to fall. That skill plays a critical role between a serious injury and a minor scratch.
Don’t be scared of failures. They will come no matter how hard you try. So instead of avoiding them embrace them when they come and make the best of it. Take that as an opportunity to learn by evaluating what went wrong and why it happened in the first place.
Strive for progress
One of the great things about skateboarding is that you always have to challenge yourself. When you reach a certain goal there’s always next one to pursue whether this means perfecting a certain trick or learning a new one.
I know this is a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how many people doesn’t practice their skill-sets. This is a key for maintaining your passion. Don’t allow yourself to switch your workflow into an autopilot. Challenge yourself regularly and get yourself out of your comfort zone.
Enjoy the ride
If you’re not having fun while getting to your final destination why do you think that will change at the end? It’s nothing more heartbreaking than looking back on your life and regretting you didn’t enjoy the ride.
Skateboarding truly changed my perception of the world. I can’t imagine where’d I be at this very moment if I’d have never met skateboarding. It really changed my life forever. I’m not saying that team sports don’t bring me pleasure, but there’s something different about how skateboarding does that. The feeling of being a director at the endless list of possibilities. It is unexplainable.
So next time you see somebody skateboarding stop for a second and observe what is really going on. You'll quickly start connecting the dots I was talking about.