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10 Things About Swimming That You Can Apply to Your Life

10 Things About Swimming That You Can Apply to Your Life

Swimming. From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it. It took me 27 years of my life to decide to learn to swim. A blatant candid confession, it’s more than the fear of the water (yes it still persists), I couldn’t help ogling at those darned women and men with their perfectly sculpted bodies in beach wear, sand in the hair and long ,unending legs that lead to eternity. And as if all these were not enough to haunt me, there was more. Life brought me to Sweden where kids learn to swim before they actually talk, I mean fluently. All of a sudden, my education, city life began to seem small as I had not yet learned one of the basic lessons of life. So, I packed my newly acquired black swim suit and made a dash to learn one of the important lessons of my life, intensively for 10 lessons. I emerged from the waters, a tad wiser and a swimmer.

Swimming taught me:

1. To be at ease.

Clean blue water lures you, invites you and engulfs you. When I started taking lessons, I would step into the pool, trembling, shaking a bit wondering when will the ordeal end. Damn you, Michael Phelps of the world!  But then, I had two smiling angels, the trainers who were beside me, announce, “we will just feel it, feel the water through our head and body.” Quite a relief. We were asked to dip our heads in water for two seconds and speak out our names. Leg movements were shown and then we were done for the day.

Simple, Just the way life is. Anything initially seems gawky and odd, a job, a relationship or running but then after few weeks, you don’t remember why were you  awkward in the first place.

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2. To let it hurt.

I was having the time of my life. I was in the water, flapping my fins, spluttering like a fish, blue skies everywhere and blue water. Hastily I was woken up by the scorching sun on my face.Oh well; it was a “wet” dream!. Instead I woke up to a sore body, pain in the thighs and heaviness in the head. Later, when I entered the water, all my pains were washed away instantly. Then I learned, my muscles had never been stretched that way before

It’s the same about being acclimatized to things like in life. A heartbreak, passing of loved one, losing a job initially seems like the end of the world, but it’s going to be OK with time.

3. To hang on and float.

Don’t Swim. Just float. Lie down on the water. It is just water. Similarly, life is about keeping yourself afloat. Use your support systems. You won’t drown. Trust yourself and let it flow.

4. To take baby steps.

There is nobody as brave as a baby taking her first non-stop five steps alone from its parent’s hands. We all have been there, haven’t we? Practice till you get better and better but slowly. Of course, jitters happen, but you can’t learn or do everything in one go.

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It has been said a habit takes about three weeks to develop. So it is.The way you go slow in life takes you places.

5. To give yourself some air.

Always concentrate on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go. I was doing just OK, but I was not happy with how far I had come from the day I entered the pool. In this skewed perception of my accomplishments, I discounted my efforts and belittled myself! “Give yourself some credit,” my trainer exclaimed. Finally, I realized I had focused on what I had not done, instead of what I had achieved.

In life,  we often shave away our self-confidence by ruminating on our shortcomings, unable to trust in our own abilities. Similarly, recognizing what we’re doing right doesn’t mean we become complacent and stop striving for improvement.

6.To trust yourself but not to push it.

After the initial slips, scares, water in your nose, swallowing it up accidentally, floating and pushing the water with your legs, you can get exasperated. You get frustrated seeing others perform, over-perform and try to excel. Even after a fit of rage you still are who you are. Did the thoughts help? No, it made you feel worse.

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Remember those times that your friends got themselves new bike or a dress and you waited for your job. Sometimes you are going to do or get things at a different speed than other people. You can’t always be the first person to do or get something. Sometimes, somethings will take you longer. And that’s OK.

7.To swim like nobody is watching and to live life the same way.

Sometimes I felt the trainers eyes ogling me or other group members watching when I was not able to stretch my legs? Or I thought about drowning or my simple swimwear. After a while, I realized that I wasted 10 minutes out of the hour in the pool with useless thoughts.

Close your eyes take a deep breath, smile and swim, with all your flaws, awkwardness and beauty. What others think of you should not govern you or the way you lead your life, let alone swimming.

8. To learn it when you are on your own.

There’s an old adage: “The sensation of drowning reminds you of everything you ever knew about swimming.” The real test is the first time on your own. No support system, no trainer to watch you like a hawk – you are on your own.You may cough, take in too much water, freak out, panic, or even curse like a maniac initially.Then after your panic has died down, you just dive in and take the plunge .

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In life, you learn most things while you are struggling with day to day things outside of the comfort of your own home. Remember the time, you were finding a place and asked a passerby for directions and it didn’t help you much. Then, finally you opened up your own mind (or Google maps) and you found your way!

9. To let it go.

“I demolish my bridges behind me…then there is no choice but to move forward.” – Fridtjof Nansen

With each step that you stretch ahead in the water, leave one thing that you hate behind. Don’t drown yourself but drown your inner demons, pasts and the old monkey in your closet. Just let it go and move forward. There is so much more to be accomplished and to be seen.

10.To stretch beyond your limits.

Kick some ass! Research shows that you begin learning in the womb and go right on learning until the moment you pass on. Your brain has a capacity for learning that is virtually limitless, which makes every human a potential genius. With each lesson that ends, you learn something new and the next day you are hungry for more.You will never know how much you can stretch if you just don’t try. So shed your inhibitions, swim, and fly beyond your horizons.

This life is like a swimming pool. You dive into the water, but you can’t see how deep it is. It is remarkable how much analogy in life is related to swimming. The calm before the storm. Swim against the tide. Swimming upstream. Up a creek without a paddle. In and out of the swim of things. Sink or swim. Be in the swim of things.

Featured photo credit: Synchronized swimming via bhmpics.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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