When things are tough and things are hard sometimes it’s just better to give up – right?
It could be anything from deciding to stop cooking because you burnt three things last week, to quitting your job because things aren’t going your way. You might decide golf isn’t for you because even though you really enjoy it – you can’t manage to get the ball in the hole. Or, maybe you decide to throw in all your healthy eating plans and just survive on takeaways and fizzy drink for the rest of your life because one day you fell off the bandwagon and ate three pieces of cake.
I mean who cares anyway, right? Why not just take your bat and ball and go home? It’s the easiest option, really.
Just last week, I was faced with a pivotal decision. I’m a bit scared of water, but love the pool I go to because it is divided by a big barrier, with the deep end being one part – and the shallow end a completely different department. I stayed down in my shallow end, swimming one lap, walking the next, and I was happy and in my comfort zone. There was no need to confront the scary deep water. I was safe, happy and feeling great!
Well, that was until last week.
Some Einstein decided to take the barrier away, and just make it one great huge pool.
I walked in, towel under my arm, goggles in my hand and did a double take. What happened to my pool! I scrambled to my bag and put my glasses back on. Seeing clearly now, I realised that the barrier had gone and competitive swimmers were hurtling up and down the lanes.
I was in shock.
Suddenly I had to confront my fears and literally, throw myself in the deep end.
I wasn’t keen. I thought seriously about just hopping in the spa and having a good soak and taking some time to figure out how I was going to tackle my fear. But, as I began to turn away from the big, bad pool – I realised quickly that if I went and had a think about it – I would chicken out all together.
So, I got in the pool and began to walk cautiously towards the centre . As I walked, it got deeper and deeper. My heart was beginning to pump and by the time it was becoming difficult to stand, I could feel the blood coursing through my veins.
I grabbed the side of the pool. Put my goggles over my head and secured them to my eyes. I had to take the plunge, otherwise I never would.
Yes, I can swim – but the thought of looking under the water and seeing the ground look so far away – it made me frightened just to think of it.
No, I told myself. This is not scary. You are fine – there are lifeguards – and – you can swim!
I pushed away from the wall and tried to start swimming – but my fear was getting in the way. I was uncoordinated with my arms, I forgot to close my mouth and breathed in some water. I choked a little, but with sheer determination – I made myself swim.
I swam faster than I ever have before – the adrenalin pushing me along. I just kept telling myself to keep going and to look ahead, rather than down.
At the end of the day I chose the positive option because that is what I have always been taught to do. I come from a family of hard-working, determined and inspiring people. They wouldn’t go down without a good hard fight – and that’s what they have taught me. Mum and dad always told me that as long as I did the best I could, that’s all they would expect of me. I didn’t have to get top marks, be the fastest athlete or be the most popular girl in school. But, their expectation is that I would try and try hard. That I would fight.
That doesn’t mean that life doesn’t get us down sometimes. For some people, times really are tough. But for others, they almost get brainwashed into the negativity. Sometimes it’s the news. All we hear about is sad events, life is getting more expensive and people are losing jobs. None of these things are good – but what we do have to realise is that there is so much good stuff happening too. Why don’t we take a moment to focus on the good for a change, rather than letting the bad take us down with it?
When I chose to swim that day, instead of sit on the sidelines – I made the decision not to subscribe to the negativity. It didn’t mean that I didn’t have doubts, it didn’t mean that my risk to get in and swim may have failed and I may have even drowned. Unlikely, but, stranger things have happened.
It also doesn’t mean that I am some great big hero for facing my fear and going forward, far from it.
But, I grew up with the mantra of believing in the power of thinking positively. It doesn’t mean I have always done it successfully – it doesn’t mean I have never been depressed – but I think you have to give life a red-hot go. After all, you only get one shot!
Have you had a pivotal moment where you had to choose one path or the other? What factors did you think about and what made you come to the decision you did?
At the end of the day we have to move forward with a positive spirit – or we might as well just pack up and head home – too paralysed by the unknown to find out what the future really holds.
If we do that we never put ourselves on the line, ask for help we need, never taking risks and that is not a recipe for achieving our dreams.
Personally, I think sitting on the sidelines, paraliysed by fear, is the biggest risk you can take. What do you think? Do you want to sink – or grit your teeth, look ahead and SWIM!!
I hope this song brightens your day XO