A couple of weeks ago, a group of friends and I took our annual kiteboarding pilgrammage to Cape Hatteras. We go to Hatteras for a lot of reasons: great surf, largely undisturbed natural coastline, consistent wind. But I go for one primary reason: to find the glass.
The Pimlico sound is graced with a a number of low lying (6″ to 12″ high) marsh islands which dot the shoreline. The tidal ecosystem also laces these marshes with a network of canals and cut throughs. “Why should we care?”, you might ask. These coastal features comprise a dream setup for kiteboarders where it can be extremely windy (25 – 40 knots), yet on the downwind side of these marsh islands, the water is literally like a mirror. Kiteboarding in these “slicks” as we call them is a totally unique experience. Skip to about 4:30 in this video to get a good perspective on what I’m talking about, with good footage of one of my favorite slicks, Planet of the Apes.
I am a “butter hound” and I seek these “butter stashes” out with vigor. I’ve been known to go back and forth in Planet of the Apes, one of the more famous slicks, for over an hour, logging over 21 miles in one 300 meter stretch of pristine glass, just ripping back and forth, back and forth. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. It’s hypnotic and mesmerizing. No distractions. No noise. No sound. No chatter from chop on the water’s surface. Just me, a high surface tension canal, and the power of the kite. I can concentrate on just blasting speed runs, edging as hard as possible with my butt and shoulders often dragging the water and working on holding down as much power as possible in the total absence of speed bumps. When you find the glass, you attain surgical focus.
If you have an important critical project which demands your utmost attention, I suggest you take great lengths to find the glass, just as we do when we trek out for a Planet of the Apes downwinder. Find a secret place with no chop, no chatter, no distractions. Take everything you need to complete your task (but nothing more):
- Don’t bring your phone, or at a minimum turn it off and put it away. The messages and notifications will wait.
- If you need your computer or laptop, disconnect your internet / turn off the wifi. The emails and updates will wait.
- Headphones may help you focus and block out ambient distracting noise.
- Put your watch away if you don’t have critical appointments coming up.
- I find Starbucks to be non-optimal due to the incessant flow of chatter and visual distractions.
- A windowless room such as a quiet corner of a library can be ideal.
- A seat on an international flight can be very ideal.
Find an environment where you can just put your head down without distraction and “get it done”. If you get in the zone, I promise that you will lose track of time. Conversely, if you happen to randomly find yourself in such an environment, think through what big ideas you can work on to capitalize on the opportunity.
Once you realize the power of true glass, you will also realize the value in seeking it out. Find The Glass!!