In this day and age the technology is faster than ever. And you want to achieve even more things quickly.
Quick being the underlined word. From the people who want to bring out a change to learn something new or get loads of money. Everyone is trapped under the illusion of quickness.
But reality is quite the contrary. Everything that is worth it takes a lot of time, effort and discipline. So it is true that you can be lucky and do something in the one shot. But truly learning something in the one go isn’t possible.
The Near Death Experience
My small brother rode motorcycle quite well. And I thought that maybe I can learn from him how to ride. So one day, I asked him to ride me around, give some basics and let me drive it.
I was thrilled. Riding a beast on your own is the best feeling ever. But I was little scared too. What if I couldn’t learn and look like a loser. Or how would I look like learning when people younger my age rode bikes well. Did I miss something by not learning it young enough…
Well time had come and I will get most of my answers.
So my brother took me and taught me the basics. The accelerator on the right hand side, gear on the left foot side, break on the right foot side. I nodded. He told me the idea that the balance is the most important thing.
Hmm…I was feeling it. The wind suddenly felt against my skin. And I was going to crush it.
The first time around the block, he rode the motorbike and I was seated behind. He nodded and told me try it with minimum speed.
I gave the accelerator and there went the motorbike with the a high speed for first time rider. It felt magical. I could drove the bike with no problem. He told me to go home so we can practice next day and keep that pace.
But I hesitated. Why should I wait? I already drove the bike to a good distance.
So I dared to drove a little more to prove my point. My brother advised against it. I rode it like a boss. And then came the halt. I applied the break but the bike went faster. I went in panic and boom. The accident happened. The bike hit the stationary car. No one got hurt bad. But it was enough to put a break to my next attempt.
I almost died that day. If a moving car would have hit me then I would have not be here. The fate could be otherwise.
2 things to learn
- You can’t learn something of complexity in a day
- Pushing yourself to do it is a foolish thing
First Day At Swimming
After turning 25, I remember my first day at swimming. I was one of the older guys and I could see kids swim and do crazier things.
And here I was trying to do something for the first time ever.
It was terrifying. But I ended up mimicking a fellow swimmer. She was practicing to be float on water. For the life of me, I couldn’t do it. But I was trying everything to use the time.
There was no death risk because I was in a 3 feet water. Apparently, if you don’t know swimming that’s the pool you have to go. So I was there with this only girl who was way ahead than me. And I used to look at the bigger pool – dreaming of the time when I will swim along with them.
I was excited as hell to be in there. So I stayed there for 2 batches. And I was enjoying my time.
Later I learnt that it isn’t the time you put, it is the discipline of coming daily. So yeah, my first day was nothing of great learning except it is okay to be childish. It is okay to be fearful. But do get excited.
Do something that will put you in the mood to come again the next day. Because I can tell you one thing – it is going to be a long journey. And we need a great start from you.
I am counting on you. Let’s do this.
Now that you have made up your mind to go swimming and do it on almost everyday basis – there are some basic things you need to take care of. From the clothing, routine, time and exercises you need to do – everything is covered. Let’s dive in.
Swimming clothes are important because the way it makes you feel translates into happiness you get from getting down in water. For a time period I bought the cheap swim clothes and while it did their job, I realized the importance of a good swim shorts when I bought it from the Speedo company.
It is ultralight, fits amazingly and looks good. The best feature perhaps is that once you are in water, you feel as if you aren’t wearing anything. Wow, that feeling though.
So go and shop around best swim clothes because you need to wear them daily. If you want you may add stylish element to the clothes. But I went for the basics because I didn’t want attention. So I can practice in peace. And buy the length as per your comfort zone. Don’t try to fit in or stand out just for the sake of it. If you feel comfortable in jammers (knee length shorts) then go for it. If you feel good in super short shorts then opt for them. As long as you are comfortable it’s alright.
You don’t want to spend your time adjusting your clothes most of the times. Rather wear what suits you and focus all your attention on the swimming lessons.
Oh my freaking God. I can’t emphasize enough on the googles part. Yes, as my clothing story – I bought a cheap google and I was able to swim and protect my eyes.
I thought other people are crazy who buy the expensive googles. There is no way I am spending my money on the googles which doesn practically the same. And there was no problem with my cheap googles. The water won’t come inside the googles when I was wearing it. Hence, naturally I stick with it for a long time.
Until it wore out. And I needed a replacement. I went around hoping to buy another cheap googles. But something kicked in – the buyers mind. Since, I was buying clothes too at that time, in the moment I picked up the expensive googles.
Later at home, I was wondering what I had done. Probably wasted my money on the fancy product.
And I am glad that I was wrong. The googles fit with less hassles and the view from the googles were as if I wasn’t wearing the goggles at all. I could see with no limitations and the water suddenly felt more real, close and awesome. Now, I can’t imagine swimming with these googles. So I recommend go and buy some googles on the higher price points. The brand I choose was a local one – Nabazi. So go with something with many reviews and recommendation.
I was lucky to be in a swimming pool where the lifeguards were on all the sides. And they would advise on how to be safe depending upon level of your swimming capability.
So, don’t make a fool out of yourself and jump into deep water before learning to cycle. Don’t go and swim along the length of swimming pool before doing the breadth. Gradually level up from shallow water to deep water.
Also when you transition to deep water, make sure you tell the lifeguards that you are new and trying on the sides. Once you get confident try the new things within limits. Safety is a big thing in water because it looks like a harmless thing but it can gulp a swimmer down too. If you get fatigues then stop and come to the side of the pool. Cramps are natural when swimming continuously. Also shower before the swimming so you don’t get water shock by suddenly changing temperature.
In short, always be on the top for your own safety and follow the rules. They exists for a reason.
I hope you got some of the basics of swimming. So pad on and off to swim. I believe in you..
What About Coaching?
When I was growing up, I started to develop a great interest in dancing. And everybody I knew who had a passion for dance flocked to the dancing class to level up their skills.
I couldn’t afford it. So I browsed YouTube and tried to learn from it. Suffice to say, I become a dancer. But there is a long way to go.
In reality shows, often the people who learned it all by themselves are appreciated more. Because when there is no coach to help you, it gets difficult to have a forward momentum. Also, it becomes easy to quit because there is no one to push you otherwise.
So now comes the questions – should you learn swimming all by yourself or you should hire a coach. Before I share my thoughts – let me tell you in either cases one thing is most important. And that is your enrollment. Not just in some muster or register. But within yourself, you should be emotionally, physically and spiritually charged to learn the new skill.
The Importance of Coach
If you are on the fence if you should hire a coach then just go for it. I personally didn’t hired the coach, my friend hired one. I assumed that I could just watch them do their stuff and I would do the same.
Or I could just ask my friend and learn it. And although my friend shared the tricks and tactics, I missed the hand holding by the coach.
When you are in water, it is a great comfort that someone says I am here. The coach used to help him with a stick to catch. And here I was on my own, trying to do things – overcome my fear.
If I were to learn a new skill and I could afford it then I will hire a coach who is reputed and reviewed highly. Being with a coach accelerates your success by a magnitude. And many times, stories and life lessons are learnt by their personal anecdotes. So a coach is the backbone and engine of your success. Let him accelerate you fast than you can ever on your own.
On Your Own
I learnt swimming on my own. Yes, I eavesdropped on the coaches of others, watched tonnes of YouTube videos and had to motivate myself because there was no to push.
But I did got the skill of swimming in approximately 1 year, my friend learnt it in around 7 months. Although everyone’s pace is different – I could have cut at least 2 months and lots of stress if I had hired a coach.
So in nutshell, it is possible to learn any skill – swimming too on your own. But you are your own coach. So you need to do a lot of research and keep track of your performance. If you don’t mind the time and the work it needs then go ahead and learn swimming on your own. But always in safe situations i.e, in presence of lifeguards and in shallow water first.
For rest of you, it would be wise to invest in a coach. Regardless, I believe in you. So give your best. The feeling of being able to swim is beyond heaven.
When I first decided to swim, I was 20 years old. But the fees of the swimming was high and I need to travel to go to the swimming pool. Hence, it was on my list but I avoided it for the longest time.
And then when I turned 25, I joined a company where there was a complimentary swimming pool access which was just 15 minutes away. So all my excuses went down the drain. And there was nothing that would stop me from learning.
But still I was avoiding the temptation to go – because often times it is the start which creates anxiety. So you have to somehow push beyond that.
Luckily for me, 2 of my colleagues (friends) also wanted to join the swimming pool. So it became easy for me. I went along with them to do the paperwork required and buy the clothes for swimming. Once they enrolled themselves – I went with the flow. And there I was for the first day of my swimming. There were 2 types of pool – one was shallow and other was deep.
Being a beginner, I went into the shallow water and stood there. Because I was in awe of the other swimmers…
People Of All Ages
I saw a kids of age 2 and above with their parents learning to swim. I guess they are the lucky ones because they would know to swim in young age. Also I saw the teenagers who were swimming hard to improve their timing and number of laps they can do. Among them also were the people above 50 – some swimming and some learning.
I was in awe. For a moment, I felt the embarrassment because I was learning something at 25 years of age. But it went out of the window once I saw the people so old open to learn new things.
I guess as they say – there is no age for learning. Your learning stops only if you decide it that way.
So did you see what happened… people as young as 2 and old as 60 are learning swimming. Also in that age group are people – who are good at swimming. It doesn’t matter because you aren’t here for a race to win with them.
You are playing a different type of game – one where you need to level up your skills against your past self. And it only gets better with time. So you got nothing to lose.
If all your excuse is an arbitrary number as 40, 35 or 50 – grow up your mind. Just dive in and compare yourself with your past. Because you are here to learn something which helps you – not to win a competition, not to show off but to be proud of ability to swim and do a bit of exercise in the process.
Will they laugh at you, criticize you and make you a joke? Probably. But let them do whatever they want. Because the world is brutal – they laugh at you when you try something different. They don’t want you to succeed because either they failed. Or they don’t want you to match their status.
Either way, you are more powerful than them – it is okay if people have bad things to say to you. Simply ignore. If someone is giving critique genuinely then fine take it. But for the rest others, shun them down.
They don’t have anything better to do. But you have this enormous task of doing little by little everyday to show up and learn.
Fail often with your tries. But not with the words of others. As Ramit Sethi said – the world wants you to be vanilla. Don’t stoop down to their level.
Rise above, focus on now – and improving at this very moment. I believe in you. Be the awesome version of yourself.