Keep your elbow up. Reach and glide. No, keep the arm straight out, don’t let it fall down. Fingers in the water first. Keep your hand cupped like a spoon–not a fork, not a knife, a spoon. Rotate your hips. Keep the body stiff. Your whole body should tilt to the side. Rotate your hips. Don’t separate your legs. Keep them straight. Breathe every third stoke. Keep your elbow up. Reach and glide. Rotate your hips. Rotate your hips. Rotate your hips!
I thought I knew how to swim.
I mean, I love the water. I always have. I took swimming lessons when I was a kid and spent summers at the pool. I took the “tread water ’til you feel like you’re gonna die” test and passed with flying colors. For a time I even thought I was going to be a marine biologist and swim with the whales for a living.
In fact, it was partly my love of swimming that made me choose to train for a triathlon in the first place.
You see, I was taking a life achievement home study course, and one of the exercises was to write a list of 101 things you want to do before you die. As I thought about what would really give me a sense of accomplishment, a marathon popped in my head. Boy, if I could finish a marathon, that would really be something. Trouble is, I don’t like to run!
At the time, I had a friend who was training for a triathlon. I love to swim, I thought, and I do like to bike, too, so I wrote down a triathlon instead.
On my first day of swim training, I confidently got in the water. I set out to do my first front crawl across the lane and…I promptly injured my shoulder.
What? That never happened when I was a kid! What had I done wrong?
My investigation into my shoulder injury quickly led me to the conclusion that I did not, in fact, know how to swim.
Countless articles and YouTube videos revealed that in order to avoid injury, you must swim in a certain way. You must keep the elbow up. Your fingers must go back in the water first. You must draw your arm in front of your body, not to the side.
So I humbly began the process of “re-learning” how to swim.
And boy was it was frustrating. So many things to think about all at once! I could hardly keep it all straight. After awhile I was able to do it correctly when I went slowly, but when I sped up, I fell back on my old habits and just flailed in the pool.
I constantly had to remind myself that if I wanted to be successful, I must learn the principles of success–in this case, the principles of hydrodynamics. It would do no good to continue my old habits in the swimming pool. If I did, I would continue to get injured, I wouldn’t be able to go as far, and by not being as efficient, I would lose steam quickly, and I would not be able to complete the race.
Just like in the pool, the principles of success are part of the fabric of the Universe. It does no good to continue in our own way–we will only get injured or work harder than necessary to attain our goal, if we attain it at all.
No, the best course of action is to understand the Universal laws that govern what we are trying to do and work with them to our best advantage.
If I understand hydrodynamics–if I understand how to position and move my body in the most streamlined fashion–the law will work with me, rather than against me. The law will actually push me on toward my goal, instead of holding me back.
The laws of success are the same. In fact, Wallace D. Wattles, in his classic book, “The Science of Getting Rich”, wrote:
“There is a Science of getting rich, and it is an exact science, like algebra or arithmetic. There are certain laws which govern the process of acquiring riches; once these laws are learned and obeyed by any man, he will get rich with mathematical certainty.
“The ownership of money and property comes as a result of doing things in a certain way; those who do things in this Certain Way, whether on purpose or accidentally, get rich; while those who do not do things in this Certain Way, no matter how hard they work or how able they are, remain poor.”
The other day I was reading one of my triathlon training books and the author mentioned a technique that I had never heard of before. In fact, it seemed completely counterintuitive to me. It was not what I had been taught–not what I had seen other people doing. It did not make any sense.
Skeptical, I decided to try it for just one lap and see what happened. To my amazement, I was able to shave off FOUR strokes from one 25 yard length. Reducing my stoke count was something that I had been working on, but no matter how hard I tried–no matter how fast I tried to go–I had not been able to reduce it by even one stroke.
My success in the pool that day was the direct result of putting aside what I personally believed and learning to work with the laws of hydrodynamics, and still today I am amazed at how far I can go and how effortless it seems when I apply the correct technique and “go with the flow.”
You really can have what you want. But whether you are learning to swim, working on becoming rich, or even figuring out how to bake a cake, you must stop fighting for “your” way of doing things and look instead for the Universal principles that will float you to your goal the easy way.
Are you frustrated with the results you are getting in some area of your life? Take action!
Today’s action step: Find someone who is successful at doing what you are trying to do.
Too often our tendency is to stick with people who are in the same struggle we are. If we’re trying to lose weight, we often hang out with others who are also trying to lose weight. If we’re trying to make ends meet, we hang out with people who are doing the same. But in both these cases, it is the blind leading the blind. It may make us feel more comfortable, but it rarely helps either party reach their goals.
Instead, decide today to get in contact with someone who has already lost the weight or who has already made the money or who has already done what you are wanting to do. Odds are good that they will be willing to help you–or they will be willing to find someone else who can.