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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 January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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