Sports Analogy: Reduce Your Drag Like A Swimmer

For big swim meets when were were little, my teammates and I would shave our arms and legs and debate whether or not to cut our fingernails. Are we getting extra water pull or is the tiny fingertip drag slowing us down? The hundredths of a second we hoped we could save really counted.

(It probably would have helped improve our times if we didn’t have a breakfast of red licorice and donuts, but we were 10 years old and most concerned about feeling slippery and fast in the water.)

There are people and tasks in life that slow us down. They drain our energy or are monotonous and unappreciated. Some of them are just part of life, and it works well to try to adopt a gritty attitude about them. For others it’s time to reduce their drag on our lives.

When you opt out of an argument, you liberate yourself. When you don’t correct your child at every opportunity, you save yourself some energy. When you choose a method that works for you best, even if it goes against convention, you can feel yourself glide. Like the resistance of water, the day’s obstacles will always be present but you are reducing your resistance to them.

Do a brief scan of some of your regular habits. If you are unsure about doing something differently, tell yourself it’s an experiment just for the day. You could find yourself with extra time, extra energy, or both.

Some ideas:

  • Read and reply to email only twice a day
  • Listen to your instincts when you are doing something “for the good of the kids” (maybe it’s not the right day for the zoo!)
  • Read only books you love and not ones you think you “should” read
  • Notice which encounters don’t leave you feeling free and happy and avoid them (Facebook? A coworker? A shirt you think should look good but doesn’t? Get rid of it!)