On September 2, 2013, at the age of sixty-four, Diana Nyad completed a heroic feat of both endurance and human willpower, when she emerged upon the sands of Key West after swimming 111 miles in fifty-three hours, from Cuba to Florida. Nyad carried three messages with her on that dangerous journey through shark-infested waters, which she relayed to the awaiting crowd upon her arrival:
- Never, ever give up.
- You’re never too old to chase your dreams.
- It looks like a solitary sport, but it takes a team.
People around the world cheered her on, inspired by her irrefutable determination to be the first person to conquer the historic crossing without the aid of a shark cage. Her amazing triumph was especially meaningful because it culminated a thirty-five-year journey—inspired by four crushing failures on previous attempts through those same dangerous waters, only to be foiled by injuries and inclement weather conditions. At one point during the journey, she began vomiting because she had so much salt water in her system and was shivering incessantly from the cold. She even sang lullabies to help her relax as she kept repeating her mantra Find a Way which became the title of the book she wrote to recount the experience. Within the depths of her darkest moments, she clung to the thought: “You don’t like it. It’s not going well. Find a way.”
Endurance is essential for anyone who sets their mind to be successful—whether it is to win a race, start a business, build a great relationship, or achieve any big courageous dream or goal. It reflects both your mental and physical fortitude to withstand something highly challenging and to do something difficult for a long period of time. When you have endurance, you are confident that you can handle the consequences of life decisions and are willing to “find a way” to stick it out. One of the biggest reasons people fail in any great endeavor is because they don’t have the endurance to keep pushing through after they fail. And most of us fail…and fail…and fail again. Success is always to be found on the other side of failure.
You develop endurance every time you withstand the temptation to give up. It is not when you’re at the top of your game that you discover your best self—it is when you’re pressing your way through the darkest moments that your true strength emerges. How do you build endurance? Purposely push yourself each day beyond your comfort zone, both physically and mentally. Start developing qualities now that will train you to succeed when difficult times arise. With endurance, you’ll be able to find a way to survive anything that is asked of you.