Open water swimming during a triathlon is one of the most daunting events in endurance sports. Picture this, the gun goes off and a bunch of people rush into a dark lake. Once you are in the water you realize that you can’t see a thing and there are human limbs flailing all around you. Naturally, you are getting kicked in the face, your feet are being grabbed, and every time you gasp for air you get a mouth full of nice clean lake water…oh wait. So as you can imagine, a lot of beginner triathletes experience panic attacks and have to drop out at the beginning of a race.
Training hard all year-round only to struggle through a swim is not exactly on most people’s agenda. So after my first triathlon, I asked my mentor at the time how he got through this stage of the race. His response was simple, but it had a huge impact on my race performance and my life. He told me that every time you get kicked in head or breathe in a mouth full of water, brush it off, focus on your form, and count your strokes. Focus only on what you can control.
So great, now you know how to survive an open water swim. But how does this apply outside of triathlon? From my experience, this mantra has been the key to surviving law school. If anyone reading this has been a first year,“ the year they scare you to death,” you know that pointless worries are the biggest distraction from actually learning the law. For example, when I started law school, I spent way too much mental energy worrying about getting intellectually slaughtered by a professor in front of my classmates. When I let these thoughts take over, the learning environment was tainted and my class performance became sub-par. I had to focus on what was in my control – learning the law.
But if just some dude trying to survive law school isn’t compelling enough, keep reading. Have you ever noticed that Steve Jobs wore the same shirt and pair of Levis? Take a look at Mark Zuckerberg, he does the same thing. Why? In a Business Insider interview Zuckerberg said:
“I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community.” Read more: Eugene Kim http://www.businessinsider.com/mark-zuckerberg-same-t-shirt-2014-11#ixzz3eNZ4UuIc
Yeah, I get it, most of us are not going to wear the same shirt and pair of Levi’s everyday. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying that switching your shirt style isn’t a huge daily distraction.
But one thing I can say for sure, is that eliminating worries that are out of your control and converting them into ideas on how you can manage them, will seriously impact your focus and productivity for the better.
Remember when someone kicks you in the face, focus on your form and count your strokes.