5 Things Scuba Diving Can Teach You About Life
Last year, on a trip to St. Kitts, I split my time between lounging at the St. Kitts Marriott and getting my PADI Open Water Certification. When I arrived on the island, I expected to get in some serious relaxation and to learn how to dive. What I didn’t expect was to learn how to live. There was so much I learned when I was diving that directly correlated to living well. And none of the tips could be any easier… or any more challenging.
When you’re diving you need to constantly be in the moment, and aware of your surroundings. You have to keep your buddy in sight. You have to be on the lookout for any danger. You also need to be present in order to appreciate and enjoy the experience. What’s the point of diving if you’re not going to allow yourself to take in all of the underwater splendour around you? The same goes for life on dry land. Being in the moment is the only way to live—and travel.
The number one rule in diving is don’t hold your breath. But that should be the number one rule whether you’re diving or not. There’s nothing more basic than simply breathing and being aware of your breath. It calms your nerves, helps you to focus and connects you to your body. The next time you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, check in with your breathing and focus on keeping it calm and regular.
Look beneath the surface
Diving is all about discovering what lives below the water. It’s amazing what you can find there; even when the waves are rough at the surface, the current can be perfectly calm below. When things are grey and boring from above, they can be colourful and exciting below.
Next time you’re involved in an argument, look deeper to find the true cause. If you find it difficult to get along with someone, try to look below the surface of who they seem to be to get to the good stuff of who they really are. The truth always lies just below the surface.
One of the worst things you can do when you’re diving is panic. Panic gives way to danger. If you’re out of air, signal your buddy. If you see something dangerous, stay out of its path. Keep breathing and stay focused. That advice works just as well beneath the waves as it does above them. The one thing that always makes a situation worse is panic. So before you do anything else, do your best to keep your cool and your chances of getting out unscathed are far better.
It can be the hardest thing to do. But once you’re underwater, you have to trust your equipment, your dive partner, your teacher and your dive plan. You chose them all for a reason. Now you have to trust the choices you made. Second guessing your decisions and worrying about them will do you no good once your dive is underway. That’s good dry land advice too. Make choices and rely on those people and things you have put your faith in. Otherwise, it’s nearly impossible to enjoy the things you’re doing or be productive in the things you’re creating.
A blank mind is not your friend when you’re under the water—or on land. Being present and enjoying your surroundings does not mean forgetting all of the lessons you learned before you entered the sea. Having that knowledge at the forefront of your mind makes diving more fun because you know you’re prepared for anything. The same thing goes for when you’re at work or play any other non-diving day.