Here I am just before my son’s swimming lesson and we’re talking about what he wants to concentrate on today. He wants Bigger, Better, Faster, More!
I’m not a swimming teacher but I can see that all his enthusiasm and love of the water is actually having a negative impact on his swimming ability. What he wants is to swim as fast as he can and race his friend up and down the pool. Yet, the more he tries to swim quickly the less likely it is that he will actually swim fast. It’s frustrating him.
We talk about what’s getting in the way and how he could achieve his goal of swimming faster. Trying to go quicker ironically isn’t the solution and he knows it. He’s got an idea…
He gets in the pool and swims his first length slowly. I mean real slow. The kind of slow that feels agonising to watch.
Here’s the thing though. Having swum a length, he sees that he’s not really much slower than when he goes helter skelter. His swimming though is effortless and something clicks.
During the lesson he tries a little experiment – all his own invention. He tries swimming fast and swimming slow and he notices the feedback from his teacher. Sure enough, slow works pretty well and praise is forthcoming. Fast is when the teacher critiques.
In the car he’s tells me about his little experiment. His conclusion is easily made – “I need to stop trying to go so quickly and slow down. When I slow down, I can concentrate on my technique and that’s how I’ll build my speed.“
I could see it. His teacher could see it. Sheesh most of the pool could probably see it!
However, he needed to see it. He needed to find a different way of behaving to reach his goal. He needed to make the change himself.
What made it happen?
There was a caring conversation. There was a safe environment. There was an expert on hand to give feedback and even critique. He’d had a good day. He was enjoying learning. He was willing to experiment. The sun was shining. All these things surely helped.
Each and every one of is capable of doing similar.
Perhaps sometimes we all need to behave a little differently. Perhaps sometimes we all need to seize the moment and experiment. Perhaps sometimes we all need to let go of the Bigger, Better, Faster, More?