It has been a transformative year for the Pinkster, and not just because I moved across the country, started a new job and landed square in the middle of my 30’s, but because I started fly-fishing.
It began at a family reunion last September. My wife and I bought a couple of cheap fishin’ poles at a local mega-store and headed out for a weekend of camping and carousing with my extended family. We didn’t catch anything, but then again, we had no idea what we were doing. We did have fun, and that’s all that really matters.
But you know what’s REALLY fun? Actually catching fish – and that takes practice.
In Malcom Gladwell’s best-selling book Outliers, he poses the argument that for one to become a true master of any trade, he or she must commit at least 10,000 hours to the process. That’s roughly 5 years of 40-hour work-weeks before you’re really up-to-speed, and I could certainly argue that another 5 – 10 years on the job doesn’t hurt.
I’m afraid it’s going to be a while before I get my 10,000 hour badge on the water. I’m making every mistake in the book. I’m using the right equipment for the wrong fish – the right equipment for the right fish at the wrong time of year – the right equipment for the right fish at the right time of the year in the wrong locations… and the list goes on and on. It can be a frustrating experience.
A little patience makes the whole process a lot more enjoyable.
I was recently explaining to a friend that is also just beginning this journey, that even the masters have their off-days. Everyone is challenged by the forces of nature, the unknowns and our own unfortunate mistakes. And we’ve all heard a million times, “HAVE PATIENCE!” It’s like a command. Something to be DONE. A way to take action upon a situation outside of your control. A decision.
Well, guess what. Patience isn’t a thing. Patience is the absence of a thing. Patience is freedom from time-specific expectations. Patience is a little humor in lieu of frustration. To have patience is to be in tune with the process as well as the result. And I say “as well as,” because having patience doesn’t mean that you won’t get what you want. Patience means being in line with the experience.
There are many lessons that fishing can teach a man, but patience (or lack of the very opposite), is the secret ingredient to a joyful learning experience.