If you want to learn to swim, you must change your orientation. You cannot swim while the body is vertical. To swim, you must be level with the water. You must raise your ass, so it is the same level as your head. When your body is horizontal, you can begin the first rudimentary steps to begin swimming. This will seem scary. You will feel certain of drowning. You will feel like your world is going to collapse, along with your lungs. Terror will hold you firmly in its calloused grasp. You must conquer this to begin. Most people fail to learn to swim because they cannot change their orientation. If they try, fear prevents success.
Once you have convinced yourself you will not die, you can begin to paddle your way across the pool. It will be slow going, you will often let your legs sink and start to dog-paddle. Then you will move even more slowly. Fear will set in again. Once you conquer your fear, not the water, success is inevitable. You will swim. Then water will not frighten you any longer. Once you learn to swim, you will never forget. This is because you trained your mind to understand the truth. You will not die if you keep moving. Being horizontal will not cause you to drown. In fact, the opposite is true. Being vertical is a sure way to tire more quickly. Changing your orientation gives you the ability to choose one of several strokes, to begin to move forward, toward your goal. Movement is possible.
If you want to learn to rappel, you must change your orientation. You cannot rappel while vertical. You must change your position. If you try to rappel while vertical, you will find it impossible to get over the edge of the cliff. If you are somehow capable of reaching the vertical face of the wall, you will not move. Moving will certainly slam you into the rock wall face, and you will surely understand pain. If you want to rappel, you must swing your head down, so you are horizontal. Your head and your ass are on the same level. You are now standing against the wall. You are horizontal, the wall is vertical. In geometric terms, you must be in the same orientation with the wall as you are when standing on the earth. You must be positioned at a ninety-degree angle to the wall face. You will feel like you will fall. You will feel like you have no control. You will apply a death grip to the rope and prevent any movement whatsoever. But to move, you must let go. To reach the earth, you must loosen your grip. As you begin to slide, you must remain horizontal. You must land against the wall with your feet. If you try to regain your normal vertical orientation, you will slam into the wall with your face. You will fail. You must jump away from the wall, release your grip on the line, keep your body in a horizontal orientation, slowly tighten your grip on the line to decrease your speed, and land against the wall with your feet. Then you will learn to move. Then you understand how to approach your goal, the ground.
If you want to learn to ride a bike, you must take your feet off the ground. When you do, you will begin to fall over to the side. You will crash before you have even begun. To begin to ride a bike, you must start by moving forward. Movement is the only way to prevent gravity from achieving its victory against your efforts. As you move, forces of gravity prevent you from falling over. You may then take your feet off the ground and put them on the pedals. Moving means not falling, which means not failing. You will initially feel like you will fall. You will feel wobbly, you will grip the brakes, jerking the bike to a halt and throwing you into the top frame bar. Then you will understand pain. In places you never wanted to experience pain. You must keep moving. When you are moving, you don’t feel like falling. Then you can move toward your goal.
I remember teaching my kids to swim. I had watched a scene from an old John Wayne movie. He was trying to teach a kid to fish, but the boy was on the wrong side of the bank and the fish could see his shadow. Wayne tried to convince the boy to swim to the other side of the creek. The nine-year-old explained he could not swim. Dismayed, Wayne snatched the youngster and deftly threw him into the creek. He let the boy thrash about for a few seconds. Then he gave him one simple command.
“Grab a handful of water and throw it behind you.”
Immediately, the boy was on the other side of the creek. His mother came screaming, desperate to save the lad. But John Wayne had it all under control. The boy could swim. He was not only self-sufficient, but he had conquered fear.
My kids were very young when we moved into a different house, one with a 24 foot above ground pool. They would sit at the edge of the deck and stare into the water. This happened the first two times we went swimming. Finally, I threw them into the water.
“Grab a handful of water and throw it behind you.”
Now they were swimming. They changed their orientation. They conquered their fears and became self-sufficient.
I had to learn to rappel the hard way. I bounced off the rock wall face a few times. Once you change your orientation, success is inevitable. The same when I learned to ride a bike. The same when I learned to swim. I went out on a friend’s tiny boat on a pond behind his house. I was 16. I told him I wasn’t a very strong swimmer. He pushed me into the water to discover I was indeed correct.
“Relax. The water only gets you when you panic. Push yourself along the top of the water.”
He was right. I stared swimming.
Ultimately, none of these skills can be learned any other way than by experience. Swimming, rappelling, and riding a bike cannot be learned from a book. Nowadays, we have YouTube and Google. You can learn almost anything by researching it. But you will never really grasp the concept that leads to success unless you change your orientation and just do it.
My daughter recently learned to crochet. She crochets plushies. She is absolutely amazing. The first time I saw her crocheting, I asked her how she learned to do it. She told me she read a few articles and then watched a ton of videos. She was running her second or third row. She told me it looked like a nightmare, but it was supposed to be a mess. She didn’t mind if it was a disaster, because it was her first time. She then informed me that the more often she does it, the better she’ll become. She is right. She just made a dinosaur for a coworker, and it is beautiful.
Thing is, we learn best by failing. We can read articles and watch videos. We can ask the experts and seasoned veterans. We can gather lessons from their mistakes and learn tricks to the trade. But ultimately, we must change our orientation, take our feet off the pedals, and fall a few times. Or hit the wall, or suck down some water.
It is the only way.
Learning something new is the best way to get out of a rut. It is a perfect way to learn to overcome, adapt, achieve, and succeed. So many of our modern-day problems are due to being in a rut. We accomplish nothing. Our life is a skipping record. We do nothing, so we feel like nothing. When we begin a project, we create a dopamine rush with no equal. Pride in a job well done is truly fulfilling. Most importantly, mucking it up a few times and discovering how not to do things is how we reveal the greatest version of ourselves. We become something. We achieve success, even if only for ourselves. So what if you’ll never play a musical instrument in front of a crowd. Who cares if the end table you made will only sit in your own home, never to be seen by anyone outside your immediate family. Big deal if your notebook full of poems is never published.
Not once did anyone ever demand that your success garner fame or fortune. Success is personal. My daughter will never sit on the couch on some late-night talk show because she makes plushies. She does what she does because it brings her happiness. That’s all the matters, really. That’s all that should matter to you.
Go do something. Try something. Fail at something. Fail big.
I would rather fail at greatness than succeed at mediocrity.
Being mediocre sucks. Life as a skipping record sucks. But to get away from what sucks, you have to suck at something new, often times by doing what sucks until you suck at it a little bit less. Do what sucks or be what sucks. There’s this huge world out there. Filled with so much immense beauty. So many things to do and to become.
Turn off the boob tube and do something.
Change your orientation.
Bounce off the wall, dogpaddle a little, fall off the bike. But with what little time you have left, do something.
Joe “Weeg” Weigant is a Holistic Health Practitioner, Metaphysician, and Empowerment Coach. He combines bodywork, energy work, and coaching to relieve anxiety and depression and balance the nervous system. Weeg coaches his clients to drop the white flag of victimhood and pick up the banner of empowerment, inspiring them to stop riding in life’s trunk and take the wheel of their lives.
Weeg sells herbal products by Nature’s Sunshine, Pure Herbs Ltd. and Juice Plus. He teaches Karate and Tai Chi, Reiki Certification, as well as seminars and workshops in metaphysical and spiritual matters. Weeg is available for sessions at Tri State Holistic Wellness by appointment only.
Contact by text 812.568.5356, or Facebook Messenger to set an appointment.