Pushing the limits

It has been quite joyful to learn from my 7 yr old the past couple of days. As with autistic children, he outsmarts us in learning complex things but basic things can be quite challenging for him. Such is the case with swimming. He loves water but its been a challenge to get a trainer to teach him. So, I always accompany him in the water and hold him. He is very careful (more careful than me!) but every time he is in the water, he uses me for his support. I find it difficult to let him alone too.

The past couple of days, I tried something different. I let him on his own in the pool and watched him (obviously I am standing outside the pool ready to jump in if required).

What I learned from the experience is quite amazing.

Initially he’d cling to the pool fence all the time. After few minutes, he started to take a dip and come back up and hold the fence. He did that for some time and slowly he started to venture a bit more. He’d let go of the fence, take a dip, come back up and find himself a feet away in the water and started kicking his legs to get to the fence. As I watched, I saw him learn to swim effortlessly on his own. After 30 minutes, he started learning to control his breathing to stay more time in the water. He kept pushing his limits on his own. No one was teaching him.

What can we learn from this?

– If we enjoy doing something, we push our limits voluntarily. Its feels like fun.
– Incrementally pushing limits step by step is a great way to explore and learn quickly. Before you realize, you’d have made a giant leap!
– Being on our own and exploring at our own pace has its own joy instead of some one trying to push you all the time. I have seen trainers pushing kids when teaching them to swim. Sometimes it works out but other times kids go back terrified. And here is Tanav, kicking and paddling on his own and having great fun!

So is life.

We think that we push our limits only under pressure. But to the contrary we push our limits more when we enjoy doing something.

What do you think?



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  1. Dash..... says:

    Bala, this is truly Inspiring – at least for me . I am so happy for Tanav.
    Coming to your thought,personally, I hate being pushed, but when I push myself, it is always for somethign I enjoy doing and you are right – the results are great !!

    – Dash

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree 100% – Shailendra Sharma

  3. Nani says:

    Couldn't agree more. When you are truly passionate about something, thoughts flow easily and you are constantly deriving new ideas from everything around you. There is no sense of fatigue when you are having fun!

    Great write-up, Bala.

    Cheers,
    Nani

  4. Bala Girisaballa says:

    Dash, Shail, Nani,
    Thanks for the comments. Everytime I get comments, I get inspired to write more – but just plain lazy to keep it consistent!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    True Bala. If a person likes something a LOT or believes strongly about something, he automatically moves forward without having to make an effort to push himself.

    I often think about'Pushing the limit' when I deal with my children. Should we just leave them to realize their likes/dislikes/potential or help them by pushing them a bit ? Won't pushing actually mean encouraging them to realize their potential?

    Personally for me, I am a laid back person…I constantly need an external push by a person or a situation for me to move forward.

  6. Jaya says:

    The 'Anonymous'in the previous comment is me.

    I goofed up a bit earlier…:(

  7. Bala Girisaballa says:

    I am pretty lazy too. But I see that when I care about something so bad, I push myself. Its no longer someone telling you what to do but internal motivation. Now, you may want to use that with kids. They ask why all the time but how often do we help them motivate themselves?

  8. Uma Panchavati says:

    Bala, very touching and inspiring. True, pressure from self gives better result than pressure from others. Learned quite late in life. Manier times, i felt that i'm pushing myself beyond my capacity/limits when it wears me out physically but the joy of the result is worth making the efforts.

    I'm happy for Tranav.



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