Becoming

Spent many a morning here

My rant about my swimming is fairly well known (along with my hill-o-phobia). Since my Dubai Half IM race in February, I have focused primarily on strength training and swimming. Last week, I did a 2km swim and was pleasantly surprised to find that I was 9 minutes faster than my previous 2km time of 1.03 hours! (yes, yes- still not fast enough).

Something had changed overnight! (and by now we all know that overnight success takes years! ;-))

When people at our age (“old people” as my kids call us!) start something new, we tend to give up quickly because we are pretty bad at most things when we first try them. As kids, we had to persist with anything and everything new for as long as our parents told us to, or as long as the curriculum demanded it. Today, we get a grand new idea or find a new passion, like learning music or swimming or sketching, and a few months down the road, just as we begin to settle down with it, we dejectedly declare that we will never be good at it. We expect the results to be as per our expectations, assuming that our passion just needs to be ‘found’. Once revealed, it will be in a fully formed state.

Do we truly find our passions, or develop them over time?

If we are not naturally good at something, it becomes really easy to give ourselves a label of, ‘I am just not good at whatever I am trying to do.’ Then we carry this mind-set of learned helplessness with us, and if we don’t succeed on our first or second try, we think it’s better to quit. As a result, we tend to internalize this intense fear of being terrible at something and failing, making it difficult to enjoy the hardships and struggle.

Our interests are developed over time and not necessarily innate to our personality.

Pursuing any new interest begins with a lot of enthusiasm, but that can easily hit a road block when things get challenging and tedious. Novelty alone cannot carry us through these times of difficulty, we need to keep our head down and persevere. We need to redefine this perceived failure as the catalyst to change and improvement, rather than as a final destination. Failure is a part of the process.

All of last year I did all my swim workouts as prescribed. I was super slow and terrible at it. Today, as I reflect, I realise that my improvement is only a result of time in water.

The desire to get better kept me going.
The belief that eventually things will change kept me going.
And then one day, when I wasn’t looking, magic happened!
I had to swim to attempt and complete a half ironman race. I did that.
Today, I am thrilled to say, I feel have become a swimmer!

Practice puts brains into your muscles.

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