DNOWS Header

Image Map

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Being Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Lewis Pugh talking about his swim in the North Pole.

Lewis Pugh talking about his swim on Mount Everest.

Lewis Pugh talking about his swim in the Maldives.

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

After headlining the WOWSA Awards and cheering on his ice swimming colleagues at the Big Chill Swim and International Winter Swimming Association World Cup in Windermere, England, Lewis Pugh took off to Dubai where he delivered a similar inspirational speech to many of the world's political leaders and luminaries from around the world.

Pugh spoke about his pioneering swims in the North Pole, the Maldives and Mount Everest along with his underlying messages of speaking out on injustices and a core belief that achievement of the impossible is possible for everyone.

With American President Barack Obama in attendance at the World Government Summit, Pugh delivered right on cue.

Listening to his speech in Windermere and observing the ice swimmers at the International Winter Swimming Association World Cup, it was easy and apparent to see how these ice swimmers are comfortable being uncomfortable.

They know precisely how uncomfortably painful the cold water and icy conditions will be. Yet, they enter the water - not only in competition amid fanfare, but also in training in the privacy of their local venues - willingly. They regularly subject themselves to levels of discomfort that few people in the world willingly do.

In modern society where escalators and elevators, microwave ovens and convenience stores, heated car seats and mobile apps are used to make life easier, the value of pushing oneself out of your comfort zone both physically and mentally is becoming more and more important and valued by physicians, researchers and scientists.

As Pugh explains, "Our ancestors walked, climbed mountains, cut down trees, hunted, lifted heavy objects to build shelters, and ate healthy foods."

But modern society offers fast food and all kinds of means and equipment to make physical living easier. "The irony is that comfort and safety appear to reduce longevity," observes Pugh. "It seems that the drive to seek comfort and safety become very strong when you hit your 40’s. It is wired into our DNA."

But clearly unlike the ice swimmers who are striving to push personal boundaries to extreme levels, many people in today's world appear to have lost the motivation and the self discipline to seek new goals and push boundaries...at least to the extent of an increasing number of ice swimmers.

But anyone and everyone can develop a drive to push their own boundaries, either on dryland or in the water. That drive is defined by many ways, but one that is seen often in Okinawa, Japan is the Japanese concept of ikigai (生き甲斐).

Okinawa is the well-known, well-researched location on Earth where its residents live the longest on the planet. Their love of the ocean and passion for what they do in life is profoundly impressive. Whatever they do, they do with an heartfelt fervor and genuine eagerness. It is a love of life that is also clearly expressed by the actions of the ice swimmers from Tyumen and Tallin, Memphremagog to Murmansk.

Among the ice swimmers around the world, there is a strong concept of not only being comfortable being uncomfortable, but also an inherent presence of ikigai - where a sense of purpose and a healthful longevity is two clear long-term benefits.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA

WOWSA is celebrating the
1-Year Anniversary of the monthly Open Water Swimming Magazine
by giving you a free copy of the anniversary issue.

Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
File Size: 13MB


Download the file to your computer, and then right-click to extract the magazine which is inside the zip folder. The magazine is in PDF format.

CLICK HERE to download your free copy now.

Open Water Swimming Magazine

Open Water Swimming Magazine

The Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.

WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...

The Other Shore

The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.

2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac

An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

An almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.

This, for example, was the purpose of the traditional farmers almanacs. It enabled farmers to determine as accurately as possible which crops to plant for the greatest harvests in a given year.

But the farmers almanac was just one example among many.
There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.

In fact, there is even one for open water swimming...

Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:

The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.


Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program