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What success really looks like
As I swam toward the wall to finish my race, I felt that it had been a fast one. My technique had been steady; I felt good in the water; and I didn’t feel the exhaustion that usually overwhelmed me at the end of a race. But when I looked up at the board for my time, I saw that it was slow—slower than a race I had swum the year before, and much slower than my personal best. The disappointment was overwhelming.
Going into my second year on my college’s swim team, I’d been excited to push myself, and to set new personal records in my favorite races. That semester, however, I had a lot on my plate: classes, work, and rehearsals, on top of swimming. It seemed as if my busy schedule was taking a toll on my performance in the pool. I became frustrated with myself at every swim meet because my times just weren’t getting any faster. Despite my best efforts to manage my time and balance all that I had to do, I still saw my racing times suffering.
After a particularly disheartening practice, I had a talk with my coach about the meaning of success. At the time, I was looking at success strictly from a material perspective—focusing on faster times and personal bests—and as a result, I was seeing only disappointment. After talking with the coach, I realized I needed to look at success from a spiritual basis. For example: Was I growing in my practice of Christian Science? Was I loving and supporting my teammates as they practiced alongside me? And most important: What were my motives for racing, and what qualities was I expressing as I swam each race?
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