Sunday, July 29, 2012

Swimming downward to reach the surface

When I was about seven years old, I went with my family to a lake in the mountains. There was a little rowboat floating in the shallow water near the shore, so I jumped in and started playing in it by myself. I don't remember how, but the boat capsized and I suddenly found myself underneath it, unable to breath. My brain went into panic mode and all rational thought was shut down. I needed oxygen- which lay just inches above my head- but there was an obstacle between us. I needed to remove that obstacle. Desperately, I began to try and lift the boat up out of the water so I could take a breath. I pushed until my arms ached, but it wouldn't budge.

Still hopelessly pushing, it suddenly occurred to me that I didn't need to lift the boat off of me to reach the surface. I wasn't trapped, I just needed to dive down a little bit and simply swim away.

Had I continued to push on that boat for much longer I would have passed out and probably drowned. Getting out of the situation alive required the following paradigm shift:

Instead of struggling to swim upward, I had to swim downward to reach the surface.

Perhaps on another post, I will elaborate on that last sentence. For now, I think it's worth leaving with you to ponder on your own.


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