Legendary surfer Laird Hamilton not only revolutionized his sport, but recently pivoted into entrepreneurship with his company Superfood. Like ace poker entrepreneurs, Hamilton applies tough lessons from his sport into his business.
In an Oprah Winfrey interview, Hamilton shared his biggest philosophy in business and in life:
Part of the way you're able to make the right moves is by not trying to make the moves, but to let the moves happen.
Adaptability over willpower
Even the most gifted surfer in the world cannot make killer waves happen, nor even accurately predict when they will happen. To paraphrase Hamilton in the interview, the best thing he can do is show up - and show up well.
Here's the secret no one shares: Willpower will not get you to where you need to go. You cannot will a client to pay you for your work. You cannot will a manager to value your contributions. You cannot will a life path best suited for you today.
What you can do is take advantage of the moment. The trick is that you don't know when that moment will happen.
Seth Godin wrote an entire book, The Dip, on this very concept: Deciding when to keep going when you reach the often inevitable point where you're not sure if your idea is worthwhile. It's sometimes a matter of sticking it out until the world is ready for you.
Until then, though, the best thing to do is get prepared. It is why you should be ready to do your keynote talk at the drop of a hat. It is why you need to spend time developing your craft so the idea will sprout to its fullest form. It is why you need to put in the best systems today for success tomorrow.
Luck over passion
The big winners aren't lucky... The big winners get a higher return on their luck in comparison, but they don't get more luck per se.
As I shared in a previous column, it's not about willing the ideas into success, but taking advantage of the opportunities given at the time:
I equate this with maximizing the resources one has, not just acquiring more. There is no safety in having more financial resources, just as there is no safety in being number one. Success comes from you taking full advantage of what you are given.
Hamilton himself sums up the idea well:
Nothing teaches you patience better than waiting on a wave. But I want to be ready if something special happens so I can take advantage of it.