“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Put simply, humans aren’t meant to swim.

Take a look at yourself. Most likely, you do not have webbed phalanges or fin-like protrusions. This is a good thing; it means you don’t get stared at and ridiculed anytime you go into public. It also means, though, that you’re more likely to drown than your average fish.

Keep this in mind when I say that competitive swim training is usually done for several hours a day amongst the elite. It involves some of the most physically and mentally draining sets known to man, often aimed well beyond your current capabilities, all to be done in an oxygen-deprived environment. Come to think of it, the primary objective after such sets is indeed to avoid drowning.

Which is not, one would think, the best thing to look forward to when training at 5:00 am on the winter solstice (which, in Australia, was five days ago).

In case you haven’t worked it out, I know all this from personal experience. You may wonder why I would even consider putting myself through this “torture”, all for the sake of improve a skill I’m already adequately adept at. My answer? It’s fun*.

Indeed, I like the challenge, I like the routine. I enjoy the whole experience. And if I didn’t, I wouldn’t do it.

That may seem blatantly obvious, yet many, possibly yourself, don’t acknowledge it. There is no point doing something you don’t enjoy.

Only when you pursue your interests for pleasure alone – when the ultimate reward comes from inside of you – will you have the drive and the patience to master a skill.

Yes, I admit many are tied down by prior and necessary commitments (myself included), but that doesn’t warrant a total apathy toward one’s endeavours. Any effort in a task you despise will amount to nothing, all the work futile.

Go and learn to play the guitar like you’ve always wanted, go do something fun. If you truly love it, something great will some of it. You create your own opportunities in the manner about which you live.

So I’ll continue to swim for as long as I enjoy it, be it till I’m nineteen or 99. But I know, no matter what, the experience will be irreplaceable, the lessons learned invaluable, for these great things already come of it.

*And in case I’ve provoked another question, no, I’m not some twisted aqua-sadist.