Balance is everything. So is preparation. The whitewater is the safe space where you learn to find your natural balance on the surfboard, and all of your initial shakiness gets whipped into submission.
It always pays to approach the big things in life with as much preparation as you can, and to keep yourself centered as you go.
There is always an aftermath. If you're lucky you'll coast smoothly into it, but just as often there will be wipeouts. All those waves - those moments of smooth, pure energy - have to decay into something.
In life and after a ride, there will be rolling. There will be tumbling. And finally there will be settling. It's what you do afterward that counts. Which leads us to...
When you find yourself in the mush, there are two options: call it a day and haul your tired self out of there; or turn around, give it all you've got and head back out to try again.
Nothing's more rewarding than finding yourself unsatisfied and exhausted in the whitewater, on the verge of giving up for the day, then deciding, "You know what, what the hell."
Paddling back out with your last bit of strength for more and catching another wave is the greatest injection of feel-good juice there is. Often, it can even power you back up, and what you thought was one last ride actually becomes the start of a whole new session. There's a life lesson in this.
Stay humble. The whitewater is where it all begins. All those first lessons count for nothing if we don't routinely come back to our roots for a healthy assessment. No matter how far out you go, or how big a wave you surf, the transition from session to shore always takes place in the mush. Respect it.