Diana Nyad: Never Give Up

Diana Nyad, a 64-year-old endurance swimmer, became the first person to swim the 110 mile distance from Cuba to Key West Florida. Certainly, the environmental factors were in her favor as the sea life did not bother her,

Diana Nyad at TEDMED2011

Diana Nyad at TEDMED2011 (Photo credit: Klick Pharma)

the currents stayed friendly, and no storms approached. She swam for over fifty-two hours straight before reaching the coast of Florida.

After her long, treacherous journey across the ocean, her words of advice to others were “I have three messages. One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it takes a team.” Surely, just as a physical sport requires will-power and endurance not to “throw in the towel” or give up, life also requires this same type of endurance.

We are all running an endurance race of life in which we must preserver when trials arise. In order to succeed in this, we must never look back at past failures, but rather press forward to the reward. Just as people running a foot face are running with intense focus on the goal (to cross the finish line and win the metal), people with purpose are also running this race of life, in which they are looking forward to a reward beyond our human comprehension.

In addition, just as Diana Nyad said that one is never too old to chase his or her dreams, a person should never look at age as a determinant of wisdom or faith in life. This is undoubtedly true in regards to children and their innocent, child-like faith that is unpolluted by experience and unspotted by the knowledge of the evilness that exists all around us in this world.

On the other hand, the older people should not possess a mind-set that limits their ability to stay active in life. As soon as a person determines in his or her head or listens to outside voices telling him or her that he or she cannot do something because of advanced age, he or she has a tendency to live out these thoughts and these thoughts create feelings of defeat. Ultimately, people should keep a child-like faith with an optimistic, determined thought pattern in life. This will surely create better overall mental health and therefore more productivity.

Just as Diana Nyad pointed out that her endurance swim could not have been successfully accomplished without a team, people need positive fellowship in life. When a person is discouraged, having somebody to embrace him or her in a hug and simply offer words of encouragement can greatly leave a positive impact on the soul. When one person is strong in an area, the next person is possibly weak in that same area. We are all unique and have different strengths that we can bring to the community. If everybody shared their time and gifts with their neighbor, this life would be much simpler.

Unfortunately, many “sharks” exist amongst people that are looking for somebody to gnash with their teeth, torture, and devour. It is often said that a shark can “smell fear” and thus responds in a negative matter to fear. Diana Nyad did not focus on the sharks, therefore did not display fear nor was she approached by any dangerous predators. Instead, she focused on the shore, not looking to her right or left. In life, if we do not pay the “sharks” any attention, they will most likely not notice or approach us.

We can learn much from Diana Nyad’s example of her “Never Give Up” endurance swim.

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