This life lesson relates to my previous blog #27 Watch a Bullfight.
The first time that I heard these words, laid out in that exact order, was from my friend Jesse. He was referring to a surf report that we were trying to decipher. Modern surf reports are very accurate and used by every surfer to figure out whether the drive to the beach is worth it or not. However, they are still based on a computer model that is susceptible to inaccuracies.
From Halifax, the nearest break is about 40 minutes away. When the reports are marginal, it becomes a gamble to determine the value of the next 80 minutes of your life. If you don’t think the conditions will be surfable, do something else. Or take the chance and go searching for waves. Jesse’s saying, “You don’t know until you go,” has echoed with me in life. This applies to many things beyond surfing.
In the years, minutes and seconds leading up to that moment when the picadore drove his blade into the flesh of the bull, I told myself that I was going to be able to watch it. In that moment, the delicate vial, containing my emotions, was broken. My ethical compass was spinning, and I was flooded with a wave of thoughts and feelings of which I could not make sense.
I didn’t blink for what felt like 10 minutes. I just continued to stare at the spectacle in front of me. In that moment, my mind was made up… I didn’t like it. Being proven wrong is humbling. This was just another emotion to add to the concoction swirling around inside of me. I watched four out of the six fights and then decided that was enough.
I knew that I was going to be okay with the bullfights. In fact, I was 200% sure. And yet, I was proven wrong. You don’t know until you go.
We humans develop these preconceived ideas about many things in life. After this experience I have asked many people how they can be so sure that they will like/dislike something that they have never tried before. The response is always the same, “I just know.”
I was filled with this same ignorance once and have realised that my preconceived ideas cannot stand up to the emotions released during a particular event. Sometimes I am shown that I actually don’t like something that I thought I would have, but the opposite is also true. I have found great enjoyment in things that I thought I was going to dread.
Do I think that I am better than those people who have yet to learn this lesson? No, but I do think that this lesson has shaped me into being a better person than I was before. I would argue that we all want to be better than our former selves.
Make no mistake, I have not become a “yes-man” from this experience. However, I have become persuaded by the belief that I will never truly know my opinion on something until I have experienced it firsthand.
This mantra, that Jesse so casually dropped on me many years ago, has shaped who I am today. It has caused me to challenge what I think I know, in search of absolute certainty in my feelings. And for this, I am eternally grateful.
When have you challenged your own view on a subject? What was the outcome? Let me know in the comments below.
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Dave has been on a mission, since 2010, to cross off the 100 items on his bucket list. The stories of his adventures are complimented by life lessons learned along the way and his travel tips are unique to his experiences.