The Beginner’s Attitude

My first collegiate swim season ended in tears, but this low gave me an opourtinuty to rebuild my foundation on which I would do things I never thought possible. My two mentors Frosty Hesson, whose guidance comes from personal conversations, and Dan Millman, whose personal philosophy is in the pages I read before bed, both teach an idea called the Beginner’s Attitude. This idea looks at weakness as a signal for potential growth in the Pillars of Self. The attitude requires constant engagement in its five step process: recognize a low, record data, process, reflect, and assimilate new information. Skipping any step will have you taking two steps back for every one forward each time you run into the same challenge. Instead, pause for the process, then step forward.

That season I swam about 60,000 laps to prepare for a 20 lap race, and ended up with a slower time than the year before. I did not want that to happen again. As instructed by Frosty, I journaled right after the race. Redundant activities, like habits or repetitious sport, can hide big weaknesses under a veil of unconscious conceptions of normality. Seeing my story on paper, though, drew out my weakness so I could write out a new strategy.  My low came from focusing my energy and thoughts on how my competitors would race. I needed to consciously redirect my focus onto my race, the only one I had any control over.

With this lesson in my strategy, I moved into the next season with a new sense of confidence.  This attitude eventually helped me move into the elite class of my sport, but also embedded itself into every facet of my life.

Passion is a light that coaxes us into the unknown and shadows the required sacrifice for the journey from our conciseness. I want to know the stories of people who do amazing things simply because they are called upon from within. This blog will share the stories and lessons that passion can teach us.

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