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It’s Perfectly Fine to Be a Late Bloomer

It’s Perfectly Fine to Be a Late Bloomer
    Photo credit: Lindley Ashline (CC BY-NC 2.0)

    I remember that there were some little kids in my outdoor pool this past summer while I was doing my swim workout. They must have been from about five to eight years old and unlike other kids who usually just play around in the shallow end, these kids were diving all over the deep end like they were mini-torpedoes. I was actually quite impressed with their swimming abilities especially given their young ages.

    I like the idea of doing great cardiovascular exercise without sweating like a hog, which is why I take as much advantage of the outdoor pool season as possible when it is in full swing. So during the summer, I’m swimming at least three times per week all season long.

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    As I was watching these kids through my swim goggles while doing my laps, I was also thinking about how my own swimming skills were like when I was their age — or to be more accurate, the lack of swimming skills. When I was their age, all I could do was the starfish float, in shallow water.

    I had not really learned how to swim yet. Oh, I would try but I would just end up doing some feeble flapping of my arms, which did not propel me anywhere in the pool. I then proceeded to sink like a battleship that took a direct hit.

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    The Turning Point for a Late Bloomer

    In fact, this was the extent of my swimming ability even up to my high school years. During my first year of high school, I was lucky enough (or unlucky as I saw it back then) to get the swim team coach as my gym teacher. It was not surprising that we were going to get double the amount of swim days compared to other students at the school. And for some reason, most students hated swimming.

    I knew that I was in for a major embarrassment each time we had those swim days because of my poor swimming abilities. But this teacher, who we nicknamed ‘Duckie’ because of his obsession with water, forced us to keep doing laps in the pool.

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    Somehow through those forced laps, I actually started to be able to swim the entire length of the high school pool, even though I would usually drag behind most other students. By the end of my high school years, I became a proficient swimmer. During university, I even occasionally went to the campus Olympic size pool to do laps.

    Another World Opens Up

    Years later while on vacation, I took a ride in a tourist submarine in the Virgin Islands. I saw just how beautiful the Caribbean coral reefs were and I wanted to experience this magical underwater world as a scuba diver. When I got home, I soon decided to take a certification course in scuba diving and at age 38, I become a fully certified scuba diver.

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    Being a certified scuba diver opened up a whole new world for me as over the years, I have dived in Costa Rica, the Red Sea and all over the Caribbean. I have had close encounters with all sorts of marine life including stingrays, dolphins and sharks. Some of my dives were even caught on video which I have used to entertain my website visitors, especially the ‘landlubbers’.

    Being able to experience the underwater world and its wonderful marine life has enabled me to really appreciate our planet better. This has also boosted my own personal growth in a way that was not possible before.

    Never Too Late to Learn New Skills

    This is why I totally believe that it is never too late to learn new skills. I was a late bloomer as a swimmer unlike those little kids at my outdoor pool this summer. By finally learning how to swim, I was able to become a certified scuba diver even if I did these later in life. But that is okay because I am now enjoying experiences and personal growth that I would never have imagined when I was young.

    If you have always wanted to do something like swimming or other sports or perhaps learning other new skills such as a new language, it is NEVER too late. Just do some research to find qualified instruction and go for it. Learning new skills is part of personal development. You will not regret learning even as a late bloomer.

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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