My new motto: if you can speak in front of 100 sixth-graders on a Friday afternoon, you can speak in front of just about anyone. Not that I fault the students – I would wager my own attention span is quite similar. Plus, they possess the enthusiasm and joy that are absent in some other audiences. I took them on a brief tour of my ocean swimming adventures. My favorites include: a ridiculous six-hour tour of the frigid San Francisco Bay in 2008 (including a close encounter with seals under the Golden Gate Bridge in the early morning, foggy hours), the English Channel (the Mt. Everest of open water) and the Catalina Channel. Naturally, they were most impressed with the parts of ocean swimming that are normally deleted from polite conversation (the vomiting I did in the English Channel; the logistics of “going to the bathroom” in the open sea) as well as the threat of lurking, aggressive marine life. I left them with 3 lessons from swimming in the ocean to consider:
1. In all your endeavors, focus on the destination, not the obstacles
2. Talent is overrated, hard work, discipline and mental strength are under appreciated
3. It’s a Wonderful Life (despite that fact that you are likely surrounding by pessimists) — so seize all the opportunities available to you and realize how extraordinary are the times in which we live.