Nick Pelios Freediver, Creator
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Dive into the world of mental balance for freediving with Zoe Springer as she shares valuable insights on passion, ego, and compassion. Discover how embracing diverse interests and hobbies can enhance your practice. Learn to replace comparisons with compassion, appreciate the journey, and build a consistent toolbox for sustainable progress.

Passion Fuels Passion

One of the most important things to remember is that passion fuels passion. What I mean by that is, consider your other interests or hobbies—those activities that satisfy you, whether it's rock climbing or simply emptying a dishwasher. Immerse yourself in these sensations for a while, gathering experiences that you can later apply to your primary pursuits.

This principle extends to various aspects of your life, from establishing a morning routine and preparing for sessions or dives to engaging in visualizations and coping with uncomfortable sensations. Personally, I find that my ability to pick myself back up when things don't go as planned is often influenced by my experiences training animals on the side. The patience and understanding required to introduce a little puppy to the world parallel how I acclimatize my mind to greater depths.

The key takeaway is that wisdom can be derived from diverse sources. Embrace the creativity in exploring these different facets of life, as it serves as an invaluable cheat sheet for enhancing your practice. Becoming a student of life is the pathway to balancing perspectives and enriching your overall approach.

Avoid placing all your eggs in one basket; instead, refrain from putting too much pressure on a single aspect. Observe how these elements interact, leaving room for mistakes, play, and surprises. This approach ensures a more holistic and resilient journey towards your goals.

Let Go Of Your Ego

Another crucial aspect is releasing the hold of letting go. The term "ego" is often tossed around, but what does it truly mean? To me, it's that persistent and insatiable voice constantly insisting that I can't rest until I am deemed good enough. The catch, however, is that we're never going to achieve a state of being "good enough" — that's the paradox. While we all grapple with our egos, acknowledging its presence is a significant hurdle in freediving. It's an inherent part of the human experience that we must embrace.

There are times when the ego lingers in the background, and that's acceptable. There are also moments when the ego aggressively demands attention, banging on the door of the mind, and that's acceptable too. Establish a friendship with it, recognize it, and then establish boundaries. Refuse to let it coerce you into a negative cycle of self-talk. In our discussions about letting go in the sport, we often turn it into a competitive endeavor of its own, which is counterproductive. The essence lies in embracing our perfectly imperfect selves. The more we adopt a spirituality of imperfection, the more holistic our practice becomes. This shift enables us to perceive obstacles as opportunities for growth and progression.

Don't allow your ego to frighten you into pushing yourself too far and too fast. Resist its influence, especially when it comes to fixating on numbers displayed on a dive computer. Patience may seem like a lengthy journey, but in reality, it is the shortcut to sustainable progress. Show respect for where your body and mind are at any given moment, treating them as unique entities each time you enter the water. What feels good one day may not on the next, and vice versa. This mindfulness and adaptability are integral components of a well-rounded and evolving practice.

Compassion & Comparisons

In a sport where plateaus can persist, and progression may be infrequent, it's almost inevitable that, at some point, we'll find ourselves comparing our journey to others and their achievements. However, consider replacing those comparisons with compassion. Cultivate compassion for the challenges others have faced and the sacrifices made to reach their current position. Appreciate that differences in time, distance, and depth underscore the realization that goals are attainable and act as stepping stones to even greater dreams.

Maintain humility and openness. Don't hesitate to inquire about optimal training spots, EQ, breathing techniques, and more. If you find yourself caught in the trap of comparison, see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Harness that desire to improve.

When confronted with jealousy, criticism, or judgment from others, have compassion for the reasons behind such behaviors. Crucially, extend that compassion to yourself. Grant yourself grace and forgiveness for mistakes, red cards, early turns, or blackouts. Focus on acknowledging what is, instead of dwelling on what isn't, infusing each session with humility and curiosity. Reflecting on your strengths after each dive builds a more constructive perspective than fixating on perceived shortcomings.

Building a consistent toolbox involves embracing a sense of playfulness. Remember, life is a game, and so is freediving. Navigate the cards you're dealt in each moment. A challenging dive doesn't equate to a poor session, and a difficult session doesn't mean a wasted day, week, or month. Refrain from labeling anxious sensations or aborted missions as strictly negative or positive. Instead, view them as situations in which you have the power to choose your response. Take a step back, shift your perspective, and find delight in your progress. Zoom out and appreciate how far you've come.

Avoid getting bogged down in daily frustrations. By giving yourself space and gaining a broader view, you can savor the journey. Reflect on the fact that just two years ago, you may not have known what freediving was. Laugh at yourself, relish every moment, and recognize the uniqueness of your experience in this practice, this sport, and this passion. Approach it with the wonderment of a child. Remember the enchantment that initially drew you to this sport, and carry that memory with you in every personal best run and training stretch. Nothing will match the sweetness of that first dive, so be present with that feeling and honor it, as it has been the catalyst for your current achievements. If you manage to master all of this, feel free to reach out!

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