Riding the Waves

If there is one thing that is constant in our lives it is “Change”. We all can agree to that. Let’s consider a scenario: you have been working in a corporate career. You are not happy, however, you don’t like changes and being in a familiar environment is more comfortable to you than taking a leap into the unknown. You decided to keep working that job, 8 to 5 every day. In your mind, you are avoiding change. Other employees are leaving for better things and new ones are taking their place. What just happened? The change happened even though you didn’t physically move your office. Change is inevitable. New waves in the ocean will keep emerging. If change is inevitable then the question is, “Why do we resist change?” Why can’t we ride the waves with a smile on our face like this quote says, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf?”

What is the secret of a good surfer? Surfers are not born; they are carved based on their perseverance and will. There are various tips on how to become a good surfer. One of them is to “Paddle, Paddle, and Paddle”. The key is to find a rhythm that works and to keep it. What is the Law of Rhythm? The Law of Rhythm states that everything vibrates and moves to certain rhythms. These rhythms establish our seasons, cycles, stages of development, and patterns. There are a time and a season for all things in the universe and beyond.

Riding the wave looks different for each of us and changes day to day depending on our circumstances. For me, learning to speak English when I came to the USA was like riding a huge wave for a surfer. Speaking English is the key to thriving in America. Growing up in Pakistan where English was only implemented in a prestigious circle, I prayed in my Namaz (Islamic prayer done in an orderly fashion 5 times a day) to be able to speak English fluently one day. It took me five years to speak English well. I spoke to strangers because it seemed less embarrassing (strangers were friendly and less judgmental towards me) than speaking with friends and family.

Language is a complex cultural factor intertwined into society. There were times I got in trouble by overlooking aspects of conversing in English. While I was learning to speak English, I was also working as a computer consultant to support my tuition. There were times when colleagues would greet me with “What’s up”, I always looked up. It took me a while to understand that “What’s up” equated to “How you are?” However, even then I didn’t understand the cultural nuances. When they asked, “How are you?” I started telling everyone exactly how I felt in detail, and I soon learned that nobody really cared to know the details of “How I truly was”. “How are you?” was just a greeting in English and the correct response was “Fine!” I was raised under the Islamic greeting “As-Salam-u-Alaikum” (“Peace be unto you”). This greeting was simple and straightforward.  Of course, I went through various trials and errors and embarrassments before I learned that lesson. I learned to ride the wave by understanding the idiosyncrasies of “English”.

We have the innate power to choose the wave we want to surf. We need the willingness to ride the wave and perseverance to become a great surfer.

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