Don’t Give Up, Find the Way!
As I approach an age where I inquire about a separate senior citizen menu at restaurants, I’m searching for heroes in my own age group. What’s the point of having audacious goals if they’re simply physically impossible? For instance, most PGA professionals on tour and the young whipper-snapper high school/college golfers are hitting the ball past 300 yards with swing speeds of 120+ mph. Meanwhile, mine is in the 90s, and I can only manage to drive 230 yards at most. My dream of hitting the ball past 300 yards is long gone. Poof! Gone. It’s never going to happen. It’s physically impossible.
Or is it?
If you’ve been following my series on “Inspiration,” do I have a story for you! In fact, I’ve shared this story many times, and I revisit this video every year. Also, the documentary just came out, and I’ve finished watching it. Something about it pumps me up and makes me say out loud, “I am going to find a way!”
Diana Nyad is an American long-distance swimmer. She gained international fame for her extraordinary achievements in open-water swimming. One of her most notable accomplishments came in 2013 when, at the age of 64 (yes, you heard that right), she became the first human to swim from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage. To this day, no one else has accomplished this feat.
Her journey to achieve this extraordinary feat was marked by determination and perseverance—no kidding. She attempted the swim multiple times throughout her career, facing challenges such as dangerous sea conditions, jellyfish stings, and extreme exhaustion.
Despite setbacks, she remained committed to her goal and finally succeeded by swimming approximately a 110-mile stretch in about 53 hours. Yes, you heard that right—53 straight hours of swimming in the open sea. Pure determination, pure will, and pure courage!
Her achievement at an age when many consider retiring and ordering from a discounted menu has made her an inspirational figure, showcasing the power of resilience and the human spirit. Diana Nyad’s life story is not only one of athletic triumph but also a testament to the idea that age should not be a barrier to pursuing one’s dreams.
She’s also an incredible communicator and speaker. She has now written a book and continues to inspire many through her words of wisdom. Here are some of my favorite quotes that she lives her life by:
“When you achieve your dreams, it’s not so much about what you get; it’s about who you’ve become in achieving them.” Diana emphasizes the value of the journey, independent of the ultimate outcome. The pursuit of a dream is meaningful in its own right, regardless of whether the final destination is reached. For her, it was extra sweet for reaching the ultimate outcome.
This quote particularly speaks to me: “You can chase your dreams at any age – you are never too old!” Amen to that.
And how about this last quote: “Never, ever give up. Find a way.” This resonates beyond the realm of sports and swimming. It’s a reminder that in the pursuit of anything, there will be hurdles. But the key is to remain resilient, resourceful, and persistent. We have to focus, be creative, and be determined until we find a way.
Let’s find a way.
Here’s a TED Talk she did after her incredible feat that I watch every year. I hope you take the time to watch, listen and be inspired.