Just Stay Clear of the Jellyfish

Written by: Christopher Sell

Primary Source: The Wednesday Wake Up


(Picture courtesy of www.npr.com)

Avoid the jellyfish at all costs.

That’s probably what Diana Nyad was thinking when she jumped into the ocean. This past Saturday, the 64-year-old woman leaped from the seawall of the Hemingway Marina into the salty waters of Havana, Cuba. But unlike the rest of us slackers, her plan wasn’t to dabble in some casual recreational swimming. No — that’d be too easy. She wanted nothing to do with casual and routine.

Her quest? To become the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.


Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. But if you think that’s crazy, let me feed you a few more crazy pills and explain that this endeavor — seemingly a nautical nightmare in my book — has been an ongoing effort of Diana’s for more than four decades. In fact, it’s her fourth attempt to swim the entire length of the Florida Strait in the last three years. She first tried to out swim the sharks and jelly fish between Castro’s Cuba and Disney’s homeland in 1978.

Talk about persistence.

Why, you might ask, would someone want to do that?

For Diana, it’s simple.

To test the human limits. To prove to others, and perhaps more importantly herself, that it’s possible. That she could do it.

Life is about exploring ourselves and the world around us. Examining our own interests, desires, strengths, gifts, wants, and needs, in relation to those of others around us. It’s about seeing what’s possible. Stretching farther, a little bit more today than yesterday, in the unattainable quest for perfection.

When Diana had finished her 53-hour journey, barely able to stand on the shores of Key West, her body swollen and sun burnt, a large crowd had gathered to pay homage to the ultimate example of persistence. In a muffled and labored tone, she told onlookers she had three messages:

We should never, ever give up.

You’re never too old to chase your dream.

And it looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team.

Sounds like a pretty good mantra to me. Diana’s accomplishment serves as an example of inspiration to anyone struggling to hold onto the idea that our dreams can indeed become reality. No matter how many times we’ve been defeated.

So next time you think your gas tank is empty, and you don’t have anything left to give to your dream, your goal, your lifelong pursuit of something…think of Diana. And remember that it can be done.

Just stay clear of the jellyfish.

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My name is Christopher Sell and I'm an educator in higher education. At my core, I'm passionate about creating synergy and connecting people to opportunity. I place tremendous focus on collaboration, strategic planning, forward-thinking, and teamwork in any professional environment. As an alumnus of Western Michigan University (WMU) and Michigan State University (MSU), I'm equally committed to leveraging relationships with industry and students/graduates to retain & attract talent in the state of Michigan and contribute to the economic revitalization of the "Mitten State" that I love so much. Needless to say, I'm a big fan of the Pure Michigan campaign.

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