Mindful Swimming And Inner Conflict In The Open Water

Mindful Swimming And Inner Conflict In The Open Water

Seth Gordin makes an excellent point about conflict. The prolific author and renowned marketer writes, “Everything we do that’s important is the result of conflict. Not a conflict between us and the world–a conflict between us and ourselves. It’s brain chemistry. We don’t have one mind, we have competing interests, all duking it out.”

While humans make daily decisions about whether or not to work another hour or eat another snack, open water swimmers face similar conflicts in the inner recesses of their minds.

Mindful swimming is natural in the sport of open water swimming where swimmers face limited visual and auditory clues as on land. The inner conflict is a given in a sport that has been described as being between 70-90% mental and the rest physical.

Should I push the pace or can I justify working out at this speed?

Do I get out (or get in) because the water is so cold?

What that a shark or merely a shadow?

Should I sleep in or get up early for another morning workout?

Do I work on my core and stretching – or do I just slouch down on the couch and watch TV?


As Seth explains, “This conflict…is at the heart of being human. One side sells the other. Like all kinds of marketing, it’s far more effective if you know your audience.”

It is also helpful if you enjoy the company of a friend and teammates who can support and encourage you on a daily basis. Those friends can be co-workers who ask you about your workouts at the office – or a teammate who shares a lane with you and asks you where you were when you miss practice. It can be a spouse who nudges you awake when you just want to sleep in and skip practice. Or it can be a boyfriend who promises to bring hot chocolate to the shoreline after your swim. Looking at the sport from this perspective, the camaraderie and collegiality of the open water swimming world also extends to non-swimmers and those in your inner social circles.

But, at the end of the day, the next stroke you take is all up to you.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source