How many times in our life have we been inspired to achieve a dream?
Some of us were inspired to learn how to play the guitar like Eric Clapton.
While others were inspired to study the complex Mandarin language, believing it is for future business endeavors when the real motive is just to impress a cute Chinese girl…
Another group might want to acquire skills to actually play football decently rather than just being a harsh TV fan critic.
But surely almost everybody once attempted to achieve something in order to regain a boy or girl mistakenly let go.
The question really is:
How many of us have set our minds to achieve a dream, only to quit at some point?
I bet everyone.
“If you deny yourself commitment, what can you do with your life?” -H.Fiersetein
Most of us have developed the trait of not finishing what we started because we fear failure, hate struggling, or we are impatient to go through the long necessary process to get better at what we do.
In the Philippines such a trait is known as:
Sadly the trait has gone viral into a habit proven to be hard to eliminate for most, including me.
The good news is, an antidote has been found and I’ll be able to share it with you.
One reward you will be able to reap from travelling profusely is getting rid of your own Ningas Kugon virus strain.
It can happen in Aurora, one of the remotest province in the Philippines.
A 6 hour bus ride to Baler followed by a 7 hour rough road van ride to deep inside Aurora makes the travel quite a challenge in itself. The 12 hour travel time certainly would give you no clue that you are about to be reborn.
(getting bored inside the van)
(a deep gorge to describe the risky rough road)
(With the Baler locals, as one of the vans breaking down due to the heavy rough road beating)
It’s not until you face the sharp shallow reef break that you will discover the real challenge that would transform your life for the better.
Aurora, with its overwhelmingly sharp reef, is far from the “safe” surfing spots everyone is accustomed to and thus requires everyone to summon something extraordinary from within.
Paddling out, the reef will instantly introduce itself, flaunting its sharp parts as if it was waving hello while cunningly welcoming you deeper to its jaws.
By the time you reach the lineup you will have a few scratches bleeding already. The reef isn’t friendly and definitely is blood-thirsty.
Each incoming wave sucks water from the reef making it shallower, demonstrating that it will take a lot of courage from anyone daring to catch a single wave.
Any thought that surfing Aurora being purely enjoyable and leisurely experience will be gone.
(dangerous surfing spot due to the sharp reef)
(waves sucking water out exposing the sharp reef)
(me deciding that there is no turning back)
Citing my own experience, my buddies and I were frozen while mustering all the courage we could.
Hours later I found myself alone on the same spot after all of my buddies decided to just try again in the afternoon. Most of the locals, satisfied upon meeting their own wave quotas, have paddled in too.
It was almost completely low tide as noon approached. It was just me and Jovvit (Baler local) who was surfing from a distance.
I thought that if I really wanted to surf Aurora, there was no other time.
Having travelled far, it would be unforgivable not to catch at least one wave.
I had no choice; so I convinced myself that if Jovvit can do it then there is no reason I can’t.
There was no turning back. If I was going to progress my surfing, I had to overcome my fear.
(Our surf group still mustering the courage to catch a wave on the sharp surf reef)
Then a short word popped in my head:
I just had to do it, I blanked my mind from all worries, chose my wave and committed. All that mattered then was the present moment of catching and riding the wave, whatever consequences came afterwards didn’t matter.
I stood up on top my surfboard even if the reef discouraged me by baring its sharp teeth.
When I realized that I finally conquered my fear, it was pure bliss. I felt untouchable.
I just remember myself smiling intensely while I allowed myself to let go and just carelessly fall to the water.
This proved to be a bad move.
I was instantly reminded how shallow the reef was, when the force of the waves rubbed me against the sharp ocean floor.
(wiping out on my first attempt)
Although my back was bleeding as a result it didn’t matter. The pain was masked by the sheer happiness of achieving what I wanted.
Commit– remember this word. A short yet strong word that can define the way we must all live our life.
Since the day I committed to catching that wave in Aurora, I just had a different approach to life.
(Stoked from taking the risk. Could have been worse. Fortunately, I only got minor surf scratches.)
Commit is a simple philosophy. Adopting it will result to your life being much happier and satisfying.
Failure will not worry you anymore because the possibility of success alone will keeps you going.
The cure for Ningas Kugon is unique for every individual. Mine came from surfing and travelling. Yours might come from other endeavors. But the principle of the cure is the same for everyone:
Just stay the course and continue. The feeling of achievement after going through all the hardships is addictive. Experiencing the feeling even once would make you seek it repeatedly your entire life.
I believe seeking satisfaction, sense of achievement, and sense of purpose are the strongest cures to Ningas Kugon.
Just commit in everything you do no matter how difficult because when you achieve your goals all the pain would certainly disappear.
Who would have thought that a simple invitation by the locals to surf a new spot would result in me having an entirely new attitude?
“COMMIT”, a simple one word antidote. Aurora would provide enough dosage to get you started in booting the Ningas Kugon habit.
I leave you with a video of Mark Visser (professional big wave surfer) to inspire you even more:
(Nicco Lampa visited Aurora, Philippines on May 5, 2012 until May 8, 2012)