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The Wellness Cricket

Navigating Unchartered Water: Making it to the end of the difficult paddle

by Kate Lundquist, guest writer, the Wellness Cricket

Two of the world’s best kayakers spoke to our sports psychology class this past Friday to talk about grit and resilience. Chris, the main speaker and former Warren Wilson student, showed videos of kayaking the world’s most difficult chartered waters, including the Inga river that has never been successfully kayaked in the African congo. It looked insane. I watched the videos and saw the turmoil and challenge in every moment for these men to stay alive and make it through the river. In even my most difficult moments of competition, of which some were nationwide competitions, I could not imagine a more extreme moment of fear and anxiety.

I reflected: what is this in comparison to my fear and anxiety of finals? What is all this pressure and exhaustion while someone else is navigating the most difficult waters in the world? Suddenly my challenges seemed a lot more manageable. I could visualize myself finishing papers, writing finals, and at some point finishing school. I could see the end in sight and it was nothing compared to what these guys did on the water. Here is where I felt the shift in my anxiety. If they could make it to the end of the river without dying, I could make it through finals week of college.

This shift of perspective is, in my opinion, the way to making it through these next few weeks until the end of the semester. My tip of the week is simple: watch this video, or some other video that is a feat of unimaginable strength. It will remind you that you have just as much capability of performing something as incredible as they.

So what is grit and resilience in your challenge at hand? For the kayakers, they had to stay focused on paddling and using their skills to make it to the end of the river. What do you have in your grit and resilience to make it through the end of the 2012? And can you enjoy the challenge along the way?

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