There is a Diana Nyad in All of Us: Find a Way!

“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.” – Dennis Waitley

Apathy is very dangerous for physical as well as mental health. Technically defined as “feeling or showing a lack of interest or concern; indifference,” apathetic people are generally described as lacking passion or emotion. Lethargy is defined as a “state of sluggishness, inactivity, and apathy”. The two words are frequently used interchangeably.

While apathy and lethargy are sometimes caused by illness, lifestyle or medication, they are often self inflicted and chronic. One may go as far as to say that someone has a lethargic or apathetic personality or approach to life.

Behavioral scientist, Steve Maraboli who specializes in motivational psychology, says “Apathy is a trap. There is no challenge… so there is no reward. Remember, there is always free cheese in a mousetrap.”

NY Times bestselling author of Resolved, Orin Woodward says, “Never complain about what you permit to be.”

Why People Choose Apathy

People who are apathetic, by choice, may be this way because of fear of failure or fear of challenge or risk. The problem with this is that apathy is a dangerous path and as the years pass, fear becomes more persistent. People choose apathy because it may be all that they know, and honestly, it is easier than taking a risk.

However, a life without even simple and calculated risks can feel innately deflated and is what many call “a waste.” Depression and obesity are common in people who are apathetic.

Don’t Use Age as An Excuse: ” Find a Way”

The antonym of apathy is passion, and for anyone seeking inspiration, Diana Nyad is an excellent place to start. A couple of weeks ago, long distance swimmer Diana Nyad, 64, whose personal mantra is “find a way”, emerged from the ocean after swimming from Cuba to Key West. The journey, which took 153 hours in shark and jellyfish infested waters, was Nyad’s 5th attempt at making the cross.

This swim was her lifelong dream and Nyad had no intention of letting age, fear or a large body of skeptics, get in the way of her passion and commitment to succeed. She became the first person to ever complete the 110 mile swim without a protective cage.

When she spoke to reporters, Nyad said that it is too easy to talk yourself out of things, especially when they rip you out of your comfort zone; she sang songs to herself, thought of people who had inspired her and relentlessly pushed herself towards her goal. Nyad tells all of us, ” You are never too old to chase your dreams.”

Regardless of whether or not your lifelong dream is to swim 110 miles straight, we can all learn a lesson from Nyad. Many times we bury our dreams deep within us, making excuses for not trying all along the way. We are twenty years old one day and we turn around and then fifty is on our heels, asking ourselves, where did the time go?

Here are a few more inspirations….

  • George Burns and Jessica Tandy were 80 when they each won an Academy Award.
  • Thomas Edison invented the telephone at age 84
  • Barbara McLintock was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine at the age of 81
  • Fauja Singh competed in his first ever marathon at the age of 89. Singh, now 101 ran his final competitive race in February 2013, but says he will still run for fun!
diana nyad
photo courtesy of

If you are ready to break out of your comfort zone, use the following tips to propel yourself along the way. The countless benefits will be well worth the effort:

  • Ask yourself what is missing in your life and be honest
  • Consider what you would like to do if you had only one year left to live
  • Dare to dream – allow repressed dreams to surface
  • Read about or make connections with people who inspire you
  • Commit to stepping outside of your comfort zone daily, even if it is little things
  • Set goals that you can measure
  • Make yourself a promise
  • Assess how your action or inaction has an impact on people around you
  • Move forward, one step at a time
  • Eat a balanced diet loaded with whole foods
  • Stop eating refined sugar

“Aim at the sun, and you may not reach it: but your arrow will fly far higher than if aimed at an object on level with yourself.” J. Howes

-The Alternative Daily

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