Much has been said and written about the amazing feat of Ms. Nyad, age 64, and her successful 100-plus mile swim from Cuba to Florida. Her physical exertions are mind-boggling to contemplate, but it’s her mental exertions and preparation that I want to discuss here.
On her fifth attempt at this Herculean task, she succeeded. Her previous attempts had all been newsworthy, and much discussion after each failed attempt focused on the factors that may have contributed to the failure.
Few of us have failed so publicly, on four televised consecutive “tries” which were then dissected and discussed at length, as Ms Nyad has. How did she discover the strength and courage to try again? How did she find the passion and energy that led to an unswerving belief in her own abilities? She summed it up with these words: ‘”We should never, ever give up . . . You never are too old to chase your dreams.”
How do we respond to our own failures? How easily do we throw in the towel? These are questions that are well worth our time to answer. But Diana Nyad’s example leads me to think that failures, rather than being reasons to shut down and withdraw, are the building blocks of success.