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Swimming through life



Maybe its because I learnt Swimming much later in life that I somehow go back to the swimming analogy time and again. Coz I so strikingly remember everything about the process of learning through it.

I started swimming when I was about 24 as that's when I really got to spend time after work hours. It was beautiful to see people swimming but the thought of swimming intimidated me crazy. Over the course of a month, I went on from pretty much not being able to float in water without support, to breast stroking across the pool diagonally (and doing a reasonable freestyle and dive). And I also discovered that I had just learnt to Learn, anew.

So whenever I approach learning I have a swimming analogy going on in my head. It translates as follows.

  1. Like swimming, its important to get knee-deep into your topic of choice. Things will always look intimidating if you’re standing at the edge of a pool.

  2. Once in it recognize that, whenever learning something new, our brain fights with the new idea left, right, center. Its a good thing, it tries to cope up hard until it finds the thing that works perfectly for the challenge.

  3. Expect to be really tired during the initial days of Learning. You can and will be extremely tired either physically and / or mentally depending on the task at hand. In swimming there have been instances where I’ve had to swim with cramps in my legs from the middle of the pool only using the hands as the body over-engaged in the wrong muscles.

  4. Once a new thing is learnt one can perform it with minimal exhaustion as the body + mind duo optimize their settings. Even swimming diagonally in the pool about 35-40 laps didn’t feel much like a workout. Expect the same ease to be at work once through this phase.

  5. Last but not the least. Swimming can become boring after a while, don’t leave it yet. Your mind needs to be stimulated with the next achievable challenge to keep it busy. Keep learning incrementally, new advances, refining your existing process, new styles, etc.

Well, I had to leave swimming shortly after a year as I went further for studies, but I keep swimming through the large unpredictable pool of life, reminding myself of the lessons I learnt when I learnt swimming.

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