Nick Pelios Freediver, Creator
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In the world of freediving, where the depths challenge and the ocean beckons, the allure of competition often whispers promises of glory and records broken. Freediving instructor & record woman Linda Paganelli shares a candid perspective on why your first competition might not be the dazzling success you imagine – and why that's perfectly okay.

The Myth of Instant Brilliance

Linda Paganelli cuts through the fantasy that surrounds the idea of instant success in your debut competition. She emphasizes that while some individuals may seem like prodigies, relying on luck or a supposed god-given gift is far from a reliable strategy.

Drawing parallels to historical figures like Newton and Phelps, Linda challenges the notion that greatness is achieved effortlessly. Success stories often omit the grueling work, dedication, and numerous setbacks that pave the road to achievement. Linda reminds us that embracing the journey, with all its challenges and failures, is an integral part of any success story.

Option 1: Facing the Nerves Head-On

Linda offers a bold first option for those gearing up for their initial competition. She suggests announcing a personal best (PB) or a close approximation, fully acknowledging the nerves and anticipating the possibility of failure. Surprisingly, she encourages competitors to view failure not as a setback but as a catalyst for growth.

This approach challenges individuals to confront their fears, embrace vulnerability, and use the experience to propel themselves forward. It's a call to resilience and a recognition that setbacks are stepping stones to success.

Option 2: The Conservative Approach

On the flip side, Linda proposes a more conservative approach for those who may be overwhelmed by the prospect of their first competition. By staying conservative in goal-setting, competitors can manage the inevitable nerves and ensure a more positive overall experience.

This option allows for a happier initial competition, providing a solid foundation for building enthusiasm and excitement for future endeavors. Linda emphasizes the importance of understanding oneself – recognizing whether you respond better to challenges with a "carrot" (rewards and achievements) or a "stick" (setbacks and failures).

Choosing Your Path

Ultimately, the decision between the two options boils down to personal goals and learning styles. Linda encourages freedivers to reflect on what they hope to achieve, not just in terms of performance but also in personal growth. Understanding one's motivators and response to failure is key to making an informed decision.

In Linda Paganelli's world, acknowledging that you might "suck" at your first competition is not a cause for discouragement but an opportunity for growth. Whether you choose to boldly face your fears or take a more measured approach, the key lies in recognizing that each step – no matter how shaky – is a step forward in your freediving journey.

Note: This blog post is based on the insights shared by freediver and instructor Linda Paganelli. Credit goes to her for the original thoughts and perspectives presented in this piece.

How To Prepare For Your First Competition

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