Inspiration, Thinking, Wild Swimming

Overcoming the Voices of Doubt

I pull into the car park, shut down the engine, turn off the headlights and immediately the doubting voices kick in. What on earth are you thinking? The windchill out there is freezing, and the water won’t be much better, and it is dark. Why are you going to dip in freezing cold water in the dark? What’s the point? Why not leave it for today and then you can fit a dip in tomorrow during the day? Much more sensible…

I listen, I agree, I start up the engine and pull away. Then I stop, reverse back into the car park, turn off the ignition and climb into the back of the van and make my preparations for a cold swim. The voices are not getting their way, not this time. They try to justify the path of least resistance, but that is not always what is best. Sometimes the harder path is the most rewarding.

They were right about the wind though! It bites into the exposed skin not protected by my Dryrobe and makes me dread taking it off. But I do, and slowly I sink into the water and the voices stop, my tired legs complain no more and my achilles injury ceases to ache; the burning, tingling cold is all consuming…

The voices of self doubt will always be there, but each time we ignore them they lose some of their power…

I climb out of the water feeling better. The voices were wrong; there was a point. No matter how brief, for me a cold dip invigorates, resets the mind and body and the rewards are worth the discomforts. But our primal mind is mostly only interested in immediate pleasure, immediate reward and struggles to see past temporary discomforts to delayed gratification. We have to consciously persuade it to accept this deal, ignore its worrisome warnings and pleadings, and remind it we taking a difficult path but there will be a reward.

The voices of self doubt will always be there, but each time we ignore them they lose some of their power, and their loss is our gain…

Climbing out the water, cold but exhilarated..

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