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What Competitive Swimming Taught Me About Life

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5. It’s a process.

Somewhere along the way swimming will teach you a profoundly important lesson. And that is that wanting something is not the same thing as accomplishing something.

In order to be successful, in order to crush that personal best time you have to do more than just dream endlessly about it. More than writing it out. And more than telling people about it.

You need to adopt the daily routines and habits that will get you there. You must, in other words, learn to love the process of becoming the swimmer you want to be.

Swimming shows you first-hand that when you master the process you master the goal.

 

6. You learn to discipline yourself.

As you progress through your swimming career you will learn to become more reliant on your own devices to stay on top of your training.

For some the moment they turn 16 and get a driver’s license is a breaking point—gone is the forced wake-up call in the morning from the parents. (Or the cold glass of water over-the-head my old man got me with a couple times.)

 

This is when discipline really rises to the surface, the moment where it’s just you and that alarm clock. Where the tug of the warmth of the sheets conflicts with the goals and commitment you have made for yourself. Where you look across the room at your swim goggles and debate whether or not you should release yourself from your warm bed.

Conquering that alarm clock is tough, and once you do it, everything else that comes your way will seem easy in comparison.

 


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