Lewis Pugh On Mental Toughness, Belief and the Impossible
Swimming the North Pole and Other Impossible Things
In this TED talk Lewis Pugh talks about an insane expedition to swim at the North Pole as a means of raising awareness of melting ice caps. There are some obvious reasons that jump to mind as to why that’s a crazy and dangerous notion (the swimming, not the motivations behind it) but those reasons are all exacerbated by his regaling of what happened when he took a test dip in the water for about 5 minutes the day before his swim.
My brother is a Ph.D in Sport Psychology and I’ve had some personal difficulty embracing the terminology employed by practitioners (“self-talk” and “mental toughness” sound so much like the stuff of new-age self-help to my ears), but the more I’ve actually put energy into putting the methods into practice – regardless of how they are called – I’ve discovered the power and importance practicing and strengthening the mental aspect of sport. There is no greater example in mind than Mr. Pugh’s story of the test swim and consecutive “game day” event of swimming the North Pole. The mind is an incredible thing, as limiting or expansive as our consciousness will allow. (How’s that for “new age” talk?) I encourage everyone to watch this talk, complete with footage of his impossible endeavor. The video is a little under 19 minutes long but if it effects you the way it did me, I reckon it’s about 3 minutes that will change your mind, which will change your world.