Is Positive Mental Attitude enough?

You’d imagine that successful EC swimmer’s would agree that there is some luck involved?

A bunch of us met in Cork at the weekend to welcome Ciaran home and had a great time.

There were Liam, Ciarán, Imelda, Finbarr, Lisa & Ned with soon to swim Gábor and signed-up aspirant Liz, with potential aspirant Craig once he submits to the pressure and signs up.

So different as we all are, I think we all agree there’s a luck aspect. Danny and Rob and my swim earlier have certainly demonstrated it for us.

But I was reading another swimmer’s blog who swam last week and read this:

“When does the human spirit give in to the limits of the human body and just close up shop? Or can we go as far as our spirit takes us?”
Using his story [referring to a book], he shows how strong the human spirit can be when it is not blinded or consumed by negativity ….
[] but it’s an interesting question or thought: “can we go as far as our spirit wants to take us?”
Four different forum buddies who failed to cross the channel over the past 6 weeks … what separates them from the several who succeeded?
Have you failed at something because you let negativity blind you/blind your spirit from seeing the finish?
I think everyone has.”

It seems straightforward but his implication that those who fail only do so because they are somehow mentally weak. It’s a typical Ayn Rand, bullshit superior libertarian attitude. And the flip side is that who succeed have somehow been more mentally fit.

In this worldview winners win because they are mentally stronger and the losers fall by the wayside, inferior to the winners.

While this can be the case, we all know swimmers who have failed because of insufficient preparation. As Sandycove swimmers who have trained with Eilís, we already have a reputation for exceptional preparation even though we mostly don’t realise this. (This became clear to me especially when I met Kevin Murphy on the slipway.)

Well, this guy seems to have let his success on a straightforward day blind him to the possibilities of Channel. PMA isn’t everything. You need luck. Maybe Rob and Lisa and Ned and the two Dannies and myself are more aware of this.

To swim the Channel you need PMA…AND tenacity, a willingness to disregard pain…and luck.


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