Those who enjoy swimming as a form of exercise will be familiar with the
black line running along the length of the bottom of the pool as well as the
horizontal line crossing it about a meter away from the wall. The purpose of
this "T" is to indicate to the swimmers their distance from the wall so as to
assist in the timing of the tumble turn.
During my swimming career I often however noticed how a lot of swimmers
will turn short of the walls in training, thus cheating, ever so slightly. I
referred to this as turning on the "T". If you’re not a swimmer you may be
wondering what relevance turning on the "T" has to your sport or even life in
general. Allow me to explain.
At swim meets during warm-ups as well as workouts, I noticed that
several swimmers would stop on that line and then quickly look over their
shoulders to see if coach is watching. If no one is looking they’ll turn around
a meter short of the wall and continue swimming back. They may only be skipping
a few meters during a single workout which may seem insignificant when compared
to the vast distances swum overall, but the problem is that when you add up
those meters over a season, or over a year, it really makes a big difference.
In the beginning it may not amount to much, but when the day of
reckoning comes, the day when you get up on those starting blocks, ready to
swim your big race, you can’t honestly look yourself in the heart and say that
you are ready and able to give your best…. because every little bit counts.
In life it’s the same. We so often turn on the "T". Whether it would be
in our relationships, in our businesses, our studies, our sport or most sadly, perhaps
even in our spiritual walk – our relationship with God, our Creator.
You see, turning on the "T" is not just for swimmers. Turning on the "T"
is that time, when you decide that you’re just going to tell that small white
lie, because ‘it’s not going to hurt
anyone’. It’s those times, when you as a parent have promised your son that
you’re going to go watch his soccer match or perhaps your daughters dancing
rehearsal and then at the last minute, when it’s not convenient for you to go
or you have alternative plans, you just quickly cancel.
we build up something like an emotional bank account where we have the power
and choice to either make deposits (positive reinforcement) or withdrawals
(negative outcomes) in each others lives.
I believe compromise is the area where we most often short change ourselves.
We convince ourselves that the white lies and the ‘cutting corners’ in areas
that we don’t perceive to be important won’t matter in the long run, but to the
contrary it is the seemingly innocent and small actions or choices that add up
to erode away the trust foundation of our relationships with each other. We
need to be committed in our pursuit of truth and excellence.
In order to fulfil all the potential that is in you and the goals that
God has for your life, the divine dream that He has for you, you have to
recognize that along with all the previous topics I have written about –
‘Taking Responsibility, ‘Swim your own race’ etc, the most important component
probably, is Discipline.
As an athlete, as a swimmer I couldn’t have expected to go to the
Olympics and compete for those gold medals or chase those World Records, if I
was going to sleep in on some mornings. If I was going to skip training on the
days when it was snowing too heavily outside. (Remember, I trained in the US and Canada for 8 years).
I had set goals for myself and I’d laid out a plan. Part of that plan
was to go to every single workout. Not only to show up for workout, but to have
in mind exactly what I was going to do and most importantly to know why I was
doing those sets. It’s important that we understand why we do the things we do.
Because then only can you put your heart fully into it… Then only can you be
truly passionate and then the commitment comes easier. But the discipline is up
to you; no-one can force you.
Last months article focussed on responsibility and this ties in. You
have to take responsibility, and decide to be disciplined.
Discipline is something you can’t compromise on and sadly in this world
today it’s the one thing that’s lacking. It’s the one reason why people don’t
achieve their goals because somewhere along the line when they get
disappointed, they loose direction and quickly compromise their standards and
My challenge to you is to really be honest with yourself. How
disciplined are you? Where do you cut corners; where do you turn on the "T"?
Next time you feel like just telling the white lie or you think that you’re
going to cut down on your study time just a little or perhaps this Friday
you’re going out when you weren’t intending to, ask yourself, ‘Are you turning
on the T’? This was a challenge for me in my swimming career.
All around me, people were cheating, people were cutting corners and had
excuses and justifications that made sense to them, but at the end of the day,
if you’re going to live your life like that, you’re only harming one person and
Choose to be a person of excellence, living life without compromise and
success will soon find you!
Got something positive to contribute? ***
2008’s Clinique Feature Articles
Confidence by Lunga Ntuli
*** Want to see your SA
Girl’s Sporting Focus on gsport? Tell
gsport HERE! ***