My Thoughts: Diana Nyad, Mental Focus, & Goal Setting

This week I am thinking about goal setting, in relation to every kind of goal, whether related to art or not.  Creative problem solving is used by every part of society, everyday. Accountants, artists, politicians, parents, farmers, laborers, no one is exempt from finding creative solutions to completing tasks in the best ways possible.

Specifically I am thinking about… how can we tap into this by using the example of Diana Nyad’s swim from Cuba to Florida as a guide for creative problem solving? In an interview about her big swim, Diana advises to ‘find a way’ to achieve a goal. She also inspires a crown by saying, ‘never, never give up’, ‘you are never too old to chase your dreams’, and ‘it looks like a solitary sport but it’s a team’.

Diana made several attempts to swim from Cuba to Florida before her successful fifth attempt last weekend. She used physical and mental practices to achieve her goal. On the physical side, she had a team of 35 people to support her and used a jelly fish mask to protect her entire body against the jelly fish she encountered on her past attempts. She suffered physical pain and got through it. A mental tool she used was, when she extended her arm back, she visualized pushing Cuba back, and when she extended her arm forward she visualized reaching out for Florida. She describes singing to herself and just focusing on what she felt and experienced underneath the water rather than what was above the water. These things relate to the practical aspects of achieving her goals and also to the supreme mental focus she used to anchor her actions to her intention while in the process of executing her goal.

I am inspired by her example and tomorrow I will post a focusing exercise I use that can be used to explore this theme of ‘finding a way’ to the goal. Here are some suggestions to think about regarding goal setting and focusing if this is present in your life:

Get very clear on the simplicity of your goal. Can you sum up your goal in one sentence, a few words, a mantra? Use the process of elimination. What is not useful that you have been doing or thinking? What are the distractions? What are the necessities?

Picture your goal after you have already achieved it. What are the steps you took? What are the things you explored that brought you closer to your goal? What are the things that took you away from it? What golden thread weaves all of these tasks together? What are the bare essentials to ‘finding a way’?