In 1978, 29-year old Diana Nyad entered the ocean off the coast of Cuba in an attempt to swim the 112-mile stretch of ocean separating her from the Florida coast. She used a shark cage to protect herself from sharks and a double bodysuit to shield her from jellyfish stings. She abandoned the attempt after just 32 miles—80 miles short of her goal.
Over the years, she tried 3 more times, all resulting in defeat. During these previous tries she was thwarted by many challenges, including asthma attacks and extremely painful jellyfish stings.
In 2013, Nyad, by now 64, made her fifth attempt, this time without the aid of the shark cage. As she entered the ocean off Cuba she said “If I, three days from now, am still somehow bringing the arms up and I see the shore, I am going to have a feeling that no one yet on this planet has ever had.” Fifty-three hours and 177 km (110 miles) later she reached the Florida coast at Key West.
In that joyous moment of triumph she offered three thoughts, which seem relevant for us all throughout our lives. She said,
I have three messages. One is, we should never ever give up. Two is, you are never too old to chase your dreams. And three is, it looks like a solitary sport but it takes a team.
Reflect on these three ideas for a moment— they might even be the subject of a powerful meditation. All of us, at some point in our lives, have forgotten these essential rules.
What dream have you given up? What dream have you abandoned because you think you’re too old? Who on your team do you need to acknowledge or invite to support you?
Rekindle your lost dreams, give them new energy— it’s never too late.