I didn’t know Diana Nyad was attempting the Cuba/Key West, FL swim again. So when I returned from Labor Day shenanigans, I went a little happy-ballistic upon reading about her success. I tweeted, I FB’d, I emailed friends. I worried for her recovery when she was on the stretcher, but shortly rejoiced and wept and cheered watching the next day’s interviews and Key West parade. “Never, ever give up.” In one interview she said that with each stroke she pushed Cuba behind her and reached for Key West. She visualized and used a mantra. “Find a way.” She kept going. She didn’t let go of her dream.
A friend I wrote to about Diana Nyad responded with an email that startled me:
“When I was a child I always quit. I quit trying anything that was
tedious, boring or difficult over the long term.
I think this became habit due to not having a father. Also because most
of my free time outside of school I spent alone.
I never had competition in my life. And when I did engage in athletics
in school I did not have a ‘Dad’ to cheer me on or tell me that
winners never quit or just to say ‘atta boy! Because of this I never
learned a fundamental skill which has altered the course of my life
since childhood. I never learned to catch.
Because I never learned to catch. I also never learned to – not quit.
It took me about 45 years to learn to stop quitting. Especially since I
always enjoy attempting different things.
I thought that having multiple irons in the fire was the way to feel
like I was progressing until I realized it was just another form of
gradually quitting. So I took it upon myself to learn how to complete
anything that I start. And I realized that I could be successful on my
own, without working for a corporation or an established market leader.
But I could only believe in my success by measuring what I had completed.
So Nyad is of course a supreme example of never giving up. Perhaps what
humans need in life is not success, which can be bought or inherited,
but humans need completion or the challenge of a lack thereof.”
Time to keep going.