Life Lessons from Skateboarding

To learn how to do a skateboard trick… how many times do you have to get something wrong until you get it right… and you hurt yourself… and you learn to do that trick, now you get a life lesson. - Jerry Seinfeld

Growing up, skateboarding was a huge a passion of mine - one of the earliest that I can remember. Ever since I first played Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland on PlayStation 2, I had wanted to learn how to skateboard. When I finally got my first skateboard, I would spend almost every single day outside practicing. 

The first time I ever did an ollie, I was ecstatic. Not only did I spend countless hours practicing - falling, getting back up and trying again - but for the first time in my life, I was able to achieve something for myself that I previously did not think was possible for me to do.

Although I was never very good at skateboarding by any means, the lessons that I learned from an early age have guided me in many ways throughout my life. 

The following are those lessons.

If you want to get good at something, you have to practice. A lot.

No one ever picks up a skateboard and is suddenly doing impressive tricks and jumping down stairs. It takes a while to even feel comfortable riding around on a skateboard, let alone learning to do tricks. You have to practice it, a lot, and you have to do it even if you suck. It’s not exactly glamorous when you first start out.

If you fall, get back up and try again. This is part of learning.

That being said, when you are first learning how to do something, you will inevitably fail at it in some way. This is okay, and is all part of the learning process. When you first try to learn a new trick on a skateboard, you might fall and hurt yourself a little. If you give up then, you’ll never learn how to do the trick, or get better. You have to understand that this is all part of learning, and try again until you get it. 

Things usually aren’t as bad as they seem. Falling down hurts, but goes away after a while.

Again, you will inevitably fail when you first learn something new. For many people, even the thought of having that possibility stops them from doing whatever it is they want to do. With skateboarding, you often learn that falling down hurts, but usually isn’t as bad as you initially thought. Often, the initial pain or discomfort goes away after a while.

You have to take risks, but only calculated risks. Don’t be stupid.

This one is one of the most important lessons you can ever learn. There will always be risks that you have to take in order to move forward in life, but these risks should not be stupid risks. They should be calculated risks, risks that you know are just beyond your comfort zone, but are doable if you push yourself just a little bit.

Death to Stock

I was fortunate enough to have picked up skateboarding at an early age, where I was able to learn these lessons slowly over time. Although I didn’t do any sports growing up, skateboarding was the one activity that I did that I was truly passionate about, that in a way was a sport. 

I think these lessons can be learned from any sport, not just skateboarding, as it just so happens to be with me. These are the kinds of lessons that I think everyone should learn at some point in their lives. I know that they have helped me in many ways in my own life.

Also published on Medium