Out of the many things my dad has taught me, the life lessons that go along with learning how to fish have been some of the most memorable. Ever since my first catch in Colorado at 3 years old wearing green dinosaur pajamas, I guess you can say that I’ve been hooked.

For years, we have stood on the rocks of rivers together reading water, getting a feel for where fish were, celebrating when a “big one” was on the line, occasionally falling into the river and camping out under the stars amongst the trees. Here’s some of the little nuggets of wisdom he’s passed down to me.⁣

Be patient. All good things come in time. You may not catch something for hours on end, but if you’re patient and you put in the work, things will begin to happen. He always echoes that famous saying, “Luck is what happens when preparation and opportunity meet.” But the only way you can get lucky is if you are willing to wait for your moment…and be prepared to seize it when it arrives. Don’t miss a strike. Always be ready. So above all, be patient.⁣

Focus and be present. It’s not enough to be full of big dreams. You also have to have a plan. Even more, you have to be able to focus on what you’re doing. When you’re fishing, you’re fishing. When you’re setting up your gear, you’re setting up your gear. When you’re reading water, you’re feeling into it. If you focus on what’s in front of you, you will minimize mistakes.⁣

Always get your line back in the water. This is my favorite one. No matter how many times you may hook up on the rocks, lose a fish, or lose your gear, make sure you get your line back in the water. How else are you supposed to catch something?

You may fail in life, but you have to get back out onto the field. That’s the only way you can reclaim what you know to be yours. Get back up, do what you need to do to get ready again, and cast away. The next “big one” is always right around the corner.⁣

Be patient. Focus. Always get your line back in the water. Maybe these little lessons will resonate with you as well. I know they are etched in mine.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project