Alternative title: What My Niece Learning to Swim Taught Me About Life.
I had scheduled this post to publish while I was on vacation, and, sadly, it did not. But I’m trying again – I think this needs to be said. 🙂
My niece is four. She’s sharp as a tack, headstrong, determined. Doesn’t miss a beat. Last summer (until the very end), she was afraid to get in the pool. But this year? You can’t keep her out of it. All summer she’s practiced swimming – with and without her puddle jumpers. And, finally, she swam unassisted a couple of weeks ago. My mom sent me a video of her swimming to the ladder, flashing a thumbs-up at the end. (God, thank you for this precious baby!).
That child never gives up. Ever. She doesn’t believe anything is insurmountable. She thinks she’s just as big as anyone. And I never want to make her feel otherwise. We bought her a wiffle ball set for Easter and she picked up hitting fairly quickly. As soon as she connected the ball and bat, she said, “I knew I’d get the hang of it!” A little trial-and-error didn’t get her down. She kept trying and accomplished her goal.
Why can’t we be more like this as adults? Where does the determination go? When does that “can-do” spirit die? While we might not have a 4-year-olds time to practice, we do often give up and give in without much of a fight. Sometimes there are circumstances beyond our control preventing us from achieving the career, relationship, body, home we want. Anxiety. Money. Sickness. Time. But I have often given up on dreams before I even started trying to achieve them because I was plagued with uncertainty and lacked the confidence to follow through.
We let fear take over. We tell ourselves we can’t and allow self-doubt to consume us. We listen to that little voice inside our heads that tells us we’ll never lose weight. Never get our business off the ground. Never pay off our debt. Never graduate. Never find a better job. Never buy a house. Never accomplish our goals.
We could all benefit from developing a 4-year-old’s mentality when it comes to trying. A child’s mentality of perseverance. A child’s confidence and fearlessness.
But you’ll never get to that ladder if you don’t have a little faith in yourself. Sometimes all it takes is an ounce. And, as my niece taught me, you must. keep. swimming. You’ll get the hang of it. 😉