Every day I walk from the gym to the other side of the complex to the pool. I change into my swimming shorts, lock my bag, keys, phone and wallet into the locker and then I stand on the edge of the pool staring at the water.
In front on me are 30 long and lonely laps and my mind races with reasons to turn around and go home. Simple reasons, dumb reasons but reasons none the less. I may have done extra sets with the weights or I might be waiting for a phone call. Maybe, I rationalise, I don't have the time to do a full 30 laps because I have to work through my call backs. Any reason sounds like a valid one with my toes at the edge of the water.
So I stand, I stare and I wonder if today will be the day I turn around and go home. I never do and I always get in the water because swimming those laps every day has taught me something very valuable.
You see when you start on the first 100 metres the end of the line is so very far away and incredibly hard to reach. It messes with your mind so I learnt to break it down to chunks. If I just focused on the end point it would simply seem too hard so I swim 5 laps at a time. The first 5 are always the toughest because the end is so far away.
The amazing thing is that with the passing of each lap the goal gets closer. It gets more attainable and more realistic with every single turn at the end of the pool. With my head down and concentrating on the small basics like a smooth stroke and breathing the laps begin to just peel away.
Sometimes I look up and realize that I have just counted off 25 laps and I am in the home stretch. I swim those last five laps more easily and faster than the previous ones because I am eager to reach my goal. When I touch the end of the pool on that last and final lap I feel great. I know it's not the end because tomorrow will bring the same thing but that's alright with me because rather than physical exercise what I am really doing is training my mind.
Day to day life is not much different at all. Simply jump in, swim hard, focus on the basics and never give up until you have reached your goal.
17th May, 2014