Talking Points

Mountains – The Best Way to Learn About Patience?

Antti Autti muses on how the mountains can be the best life coach out there…

Words: Antti Autti

Many of my friends say that I’m one of the most motivated snowboarders they’ve ever met. I can agree with them that I do have extra amount of motivation for days on snow when in fact you should just stay in bed. But I have to admit one thing, that motivation also brings out my weakest side of my personality: impatience.

When I was competing I had no problem with waiting because I knew that competitions would need to happen in certain time, and no matter how the weather was the event would most likely be run. It was very easy for me to focus and try to perform at my highest level. I really did not care about the conditions, because only thing that mattered was the result.

When I started to film and snowboard in the mountains the game changed. Suddenly weather became a huge factor, since you cannot get great shots if conditions are not good. Very quickly I started to notice that the motivation that had bring me this far in my career was sometimes very overwhelming to handle. I realised I did not have control over anything… except trying to figure out my own behaviour. This also meant that the days of individual success were behind me and I needed to become a real team player, since one of the most important things in the mountains is to have a group of people who share the same passion. But even if the passion is the same, individuals’ approaches might differ, and this is where I’ve had the most learning to do towards filmers and fellow riders.

To give you an example: Usually when we are on a filming trip, I’m the one who wants to get out right away. While rest of the crew is still drinking their morning coffee I’m already running around and feeling anxious to go. My mind starts telling me that I’m on a snowboard trip and I’m here to shred so why chill when you can be out there making turns? This can be seen as just an eagerness but in fact it is a habit that I’ve learned over the years. I treasure this motivation that can sometimes appear as an obsession, but I’ve started to understand that I need to be able acknowledge when it goes overboard because if it’s coming out the wrong way it can create tension in the group. Luckily I’m usually spending time in the mountains with people who know when I’m getting too ‘powder hungry’ and their mellow behaviour in these situations also gives me confidence that we actually do have the time to do lot of things and that I will get my needed fix of snowboarding.

Ocean teaches surfers, food teaches cooks… Learning patience is different for everyone. For me, playing in the mountains is the best thing that could have happened. Without the challenges that mountain environment creates I could not have understood what my biggest weakness is. Understanding that sometimes things that have worked in the past might not work anymore is so important, because it’s the only way to get better understanding of yourself and becoming better at things you are passionate about.

I’m still on the path of learning about myself and I don’t think I will ever stop. It’s the best way to keep on playing! Thanks for reading this little piece. I’d be interested to hear what kind of things you’ve learned about yourself in the things you do?

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