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Ross Edgley and The Great British Swim

I have been following Ross Edgley’s Great British Swim for the past 153 days. From observing his outstanding feat of physical and mental fortitude I have personally learnt many lessons about us human beings.

For those of you who don’t know Ross has become the first person to swim around Mainland Great Britain without ever touching land. What he first thought would take 100 days actually took 153 and he faced obstacles and challenges on a daily if not hourly basis. Clearly the physical challenge is immense but you must also consider the mental traps that your mind tries to implement along with of course mother nature herself.

Imagine when your shoulders are burning from the millions of strokes completed and your energy levels are starting to struggle, the waves and jellyfish smashing you in the face along with maintaining positivity, control and focus whilst your brain may be attempting to question ‘What is the point of all this?’ or ‘what am I doing?’ on top of all that a storm comes flying through and multiplies the danger of the whole scenario. Imagine the physical and mental fortitude to continue through.

Here are three lessons I personally have taken and would love to share with you from Ross and The Great British Swim;

  • ‘Be naive enough to start and stubborn enough to finish.’ Ross Edgley

If no one was ever naive or brave enough to start an outrageous challenge, adventure or business idea then no achievements would ever have been made, the human race wouldn’t test it’s boundaries and we would never reach our potential. Would we have ever made it to the Moon? Would there even be a technology company like Apple as we know it today? Would we even know that the world is round? (Flat earthers haha)

People may say ‘it is impossible’ ‘you can’t do that’ or ‘don’t be so naive’. But don’t listen to those people because they have already given up, they probably won’t accomplish much.

You naivety/bravery must be backed up by both stubborness to see things through and find a way to make things work, but also a willingness to learn as you go, develop and adapt to get there in the end. Block out the naysayers and those that question your capability and listen to those who help you push forward, learn and adapt.

  • ‘Hard work is so often the answer, the question is so often irrelevant’ - Ross Edgley

With any success comes hard work. If there were a recipe for success one of the key components would be hard work. Hard work would be like flour in a bread recipe. (Gluten free bread isn’t bread in my eyes).

In all seriousness, for those who I consider to be successful at what they do and have had the pleasure to sit and speak with not a single one says they haven’t worked hard to get where they are.

It is a simple as the quote says, it really doesn’t matter what you are aiming to achieve, if you don’t work hard you are severely reducing your chances of attaining success. Hard work is the minimum requirement. We all have the capacity and potential to work hard and be successful, but the hard work day in day out, year after year is so often the key ingredient missing.

  • Ross Edgley, Ant Middleton, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Roald Amundsen and Sir Edmund Hillary are all human beings. So are you.

I am not taking away anything from these great humans. What they have done is amazing for the human race and that is the amazing part. They are human just like you and I.

Look at the common theme between these people, they work hard, they dream big, they are naive to start and stubborn to finish, they act on their dreams they find a way to make things happen.

What they have achieved is clearly physically outstanding but it is their mind that got them through and helped them to fulfil their achievement. A Ross musing was ‘As an athlete it’s your body that determines your potential, but its your mind that determines if you use it.’ You body will have certain physical capabilities, strengths and limitations but it is your mind that will allow you to harness and utilise the strengths of your body, limit the effect of limitations and carry you through to the finish.

The men stated above may or may not be physical anomalies, I don’t know. Whether they are or not doesn’t really factor in to them completing their achievements. It may help, it may provide a distinct advantage in some cases but it will not be the determining factor for their success. That will undoubtedly come from their mind, their mental fortitude.

We all have a slightly different and unique physical make up specific to ourselves, their maybe physical demands and challenges that suit our capabilities and physical potential but it is the power of the mind that will unlock it and allow us to utilise it.

Physically we may be limited in certain ways and at an advantage in others but when it comes to mental fortitude and toughness we all have that capability inside us. Some of us may be able to discover it easier than others due to the lives we have lived and the behaviours we have learnt. These behaviours will either help or hinder us when trying to use our mental fortitude to maximes our physical potential. One thing I truly believe is that we all have the capability to do so. We all have the capability to work hard, learn as we go, be stubborn and achieve. We are all human just like the names above, we can all succeed.

Not just the names above but look at generations gone past. During the two World Wars we didn’t have much choice other than to be mentally tough and strong, it was either grit your teeth dig deep and get through or die. Maybe before going to war people may have questioned their mental toughness, I am certain afterwards it wasn’t even a question. Life is different today, we have way more comfort, less struggle and let’s face it, life is much easier than it would have been then. Still today I believe within us still stands that potential for mental strength and fortitude. We just have to find it.

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