Personal Development

5 Life Lessons I learnt while trying to learn Swimming

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I have returned just a few days ago from a refreshingly beautiful trip to one of the finest beaches near my hometown, and it has been special for me for more than the memories it has given me. Due to my laziness or my headstrong behaviour, I never learnt swimming though my mother wanted me to. Hence, I have never been able to feel safe in waters, though I find the waters enchanting, beautiful and mystical all at the same time.

Even as my friends merrily swam in the waters and also floated on the sea like leaves, relaxing every inch of their body and soul, I used to stand near the shore wishfully wishing to have learnt swimming when I was advised to. And then, they dragged me into the waters, saying they would teach me how to swim just in two days, which was the duration of our trip. Well, I did not learn swimming in two days (which is quite obvious, I guess!), but I did learn some very invaluable life lessons when I tried to swim and float in the saline sea water.

swimming_lessons1. In order to fight your demons, learn to trust them completely and let yourself go.

For a person who has never been in waters even waist deep, going into a sea neck deep can be the worst nightmare. It's no less frightening than fighting against demons from a dreary distant land. Even as I futilely battled against the waters which were pushing my body from everywhere, and even as I kept losing control over myself, my friends tried to teach how to stay afloat.

There came a moment when I HAD to lie on the water knowing very well that I cannot stay afloat unless I swim, and swimming I knew not how to do! It was at this moment, when I realised that we cannot really fight our enemies/demons/problems without first fully trusting in their capability in helping us move forward, without trusting that they can be our greatest friends, if only we let them to be. I thus realised that in order to fight our demons, we have to let our guards down and embrace them in their entirety, which is when we become truly liberated from their fear.

2. Manipulate your demons such that they help you move forward.

When the waters of life are not yet our friends, and we are still learning how to swim across the sea, we got to learn to manipulate the demons/waters, by learning the exact techniques in such a way that they themselves will push us forward, and we would reach our destination without even having to fight against their power over us! This is the classic example of synergy between Yin and Yang, which is all pervading in all aspects of our lives; it's an example of leveraging the power of the bad for the good because well, good and bad are only relative.

3. Use your demons to know what you are and what you are not, and what you like and what you don't

When I was soaking my body and soul in the waters, I had moments when I realised the interconnectedness of it all. I realised how meaningless my fear of water was, when in fact we are all made of the five elements of nature "“ earth, water, fire, air and ether. I noticed how at peace and at home my body and mind felt when I was underwater, and realised that this was due to the fact that I am a part of the bigger picture, and I cannot isolate myself from it, even after I die!

So even in life, we got to use our inner demons to understand ourselves and our place in the bigger picture in a better way, so that our enhanced self-awareness leads to a better comprehension of our life and its ways, which will help us realise the futility of fear and insecurity over things which are not in our direct control.

4. Once you befriend your demons, use them as tools to reach your goal

When demons become friends, when a person finally learns how to swim, the tumultuous waters become just a useful tool which would help us get to our destination. Recognise this fact that positivity and negativity are just relative, and things in our lives change as our perspective towards them changes. Learn to get to know the unknown and allow it to benefit you.

5. Do not be afraid to jump into the water just because you do not know how to swim

Because, as the saying goes, you cannot learn to swim without actually jumping into the water when you do not know how to swim! Similarly, do not be afraid to face your problems head on, just because you feel overwhelmed because you never faced such problems before in your life! Be brave and take the plunge, use the problem and manipulate it, you will be surprised to find the solution hidden just inside it, and that it only needed a bit of shaking and splashing!

So there you go, happy swimming! And for those of us who are still learning how to swim across this sea of life, let's be brave and hopeful and let's trust ourselves and also the waters that will take us to our destination!

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About the author

Pranusha Kulkarni

Pranusha is a post-graduate law student at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India. She is a trained Indian Classical vocalist, loves writing, reading, and public speaking, and wishes to spread love, peace and positive energy in the world. She blogs at and can be reached at