"Here we go," he'd say, and I'd assume the position: Back toward the endless expanse of water, eyes focused on the shore, one arm out in front of me and one behind. When the wave approached, at just the right time H-band would yell, "Start swimming!" and I'd frantically freestyle-stroke like I was trying to escape a great white. About 70 percent of the time the wave would wash over me, and I'd emerge from the water with my hair in my face, disoriented. "Nope," H-band would say, "you didn't catch that one." The other 30 percent of the time I would feel this sensation of being lifted up and forward, and I would emerge yards ahead in the shallow water. That was catching a wave.
I never quite understood what made a wave surfable--they all looked pretty big to me, but H-band could tell if one would crash too soon to ride, or if it would grow. I look at what I navigate on a daily basis--namely, a business--and wonder, "How good am I at riding waves?"
No wave is the same. While there is a general direction they take, some swell disappointingly early; some bring a surprising sensation of warm or cold. Every day is fraught with some variation, even if it is moving in the same general direction of growth. Some days the meeting is cancelled--a small swell that dies too soon; or some breaking news in the blogosphere cancels out the regular business of the day--a deceptively large swell that pulls everything in the vicinity to the shore, exhausted.
The same thrill of predicting waves and riding them to my advantage compells me to get a handle on these random events that over time do not seem so random. Chaos becomes the norm, becomes cyclical, like waves. So why can't I spot them, estimate how powerful they will become, and then let them propel me forward, or wait them out while pursuing bigger, more meaningful, ones?
All I can do at the moment is wake up each day and assume the position: back to the ocean, eyes ahead, arms ready to paddle, paddle, paddle.