“A lot of athletes have this sort of invincibility: [The jellyfish] should worry about me. I don’t worry about them. I’ll just swim right through them.” Diana Nyad
In the pitch-black night, stung by jellyfish, choking on salt water, singing to herself, hallucinating … Diana Nyad just kept on swimming. And that’s how she finally achieved her lifetime goal as an athlete: an extreme 100-mile swim from Cuba to Florida — at age 64. Hear her story.
For ten years (1969-1979), Diana Nyad was known as the greatest long-distance swimmer in the world. In 1979, she stroked the then-longest swim in history, making the 102.5-mile journey from the island of Bimini (Bahamas) to Florida. She also broke numerous world records, including what had been a 50-year mark for circling Manhattan Island, setting the new time of 7 hrs 57 min. She is a member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
At age 60, having not swum a stroke in decades, she began planning for her white whale of distance swims: the 110-mile ocean crossing between Cuba and Florida. She’d tried it once, in her 20s, and severe jellyfish attacks had defeated her then. But now, with a strong team and a new commitment to her vision, she stepped back into the salt. She spoke about this second attempt at TEDMED 2011. And at TEDWomen 2013, in December, she talks about how it feels to have finally done it.
Having watched this video, we can unequivocally state that there is nothing that is impossible. You just need to change your perspective and your belief. Diana Nyad tells us three things to consider: (1) Never, ever give up quoting Socrates “to be is to do” (2) you can chase your dreams at any age, you are never too old; (3) quoting Henry David Thoreau, American author and poet of the 1800’s- “what you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
With the new year upon us, we are going through some level of introspection, maybe finding aspects of our lives that we are seeking to change and goals we want to achieve. Charles Dickens wrote in his novel David Copperfield in 1850 that “the most important thing in life is to stop saying ‘I wish’ and start saying ‘I will.’ Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities.” When you write down that list, putting your dreams on paper, believe, persevere and FIND A WAY!