Life Lessons Learned While Surfing in Costa Rica

Sanguine Element 4: Resilience

Surfing Lessons in Costa Rica: What I learned…


Years ago, I took my first (and only) surf lesson. It was super fun but I didn’t catch the surfing bug like so many people I know.  That said, I did learn a few things from the experience.


Here’s the thing about mother nature…you cannot control what she does.  I laugh as I write that because giving up control is not easy for me. But you have no choice when you’re facing waves that just keep rolling in.  And so letting go of control was one of the lessons I learned as I got on a surfboard for the first time in my life.


The waves don’t stop – just like life doesn’t stop.  Sure, you can try to put life on pause or shift into neutral but really…it never stops. The world keeps spinning, the tides roll in and out, seasons change, the sun sets and the moon rises.

The choice is yours…You can choose to dig your heels in the sand and get pummeled by the waves (or stung by a stingray on the ocean floor) or you can get out there and do something.


I stood up on the board a few times… I fell down a whole lot more.  So not only did I have to let go of control, I also had to admit that I was pretty bad at something (another one of those things that is difficult for me – letting go of perfection).

surfing lessons in costa ricaRESILIENCY IS KEY

It was a good reminder that, in life, you have to keep picking yourself up, brushing yourself off and taking another step forward to reach your goals. You have to exercise that resiliency muscle, while accepting that failure may still come.

My goal that week was to learn to surf; to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. The surf instructor kept encouraging me to get back out there.  To grab the board — and always be on the right side of it! — turn around and get back in the water. To go after that next wave coming in.

When he could tell I was getting tired of paddling, he’d give me a little extra push to head me in the right direction and then let me know when it was the right moment for me to pop up.

So what did surfing teach me?

I can see why so many people I know love surfing. It is a thrill to be standing there on the board, riding a wave [even if I was just in the small whitewater waves!]. While I didn’t catch the surfing bug, my surfing lessons in Costa Rica reminded me that if you truly want to succeed and accomplish your goals, you can’t ever give up. Being resilient is a necessary ingredient for living an intentional and meaningful life. With effort, courage and support from others, anything is possible.

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Now over to you… 

How have you learned to be more resilient in life? Or is resiliency something you struggle with? If that’s the case, let’s work through it together… leave me a comment below or connect with me here and let’s chat.


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chrissy gruningerChrissy Gruninger is an author and mindset coach. She mentors people on how to live their ONE beautiful life, wherever they may be. Her latest book, Lost and Found in the Land of Mañana explores her life in Costa Rica and both the challenges of working and living abroad as well as the beautiful life we can create from those experiences.

She loves her rainforest beach shack in Costa Rica, the sunshine and the rain and passionately believes that through intentional actions we create more happiness, health and harmony in the world. 

Her goal: to empower others to thrive in an imperfect world.