TEDWomen 2013 Top Ten Inspirations

8. “Find a way” – Diana Nyad

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At age 64, Diana Nyad took a long, hard look at the unpredictable body of water that flowed before her.  She knew it well.  The familiar, and yet elusive, Florida Straits had lured distance swimmers for decades, but only one had completed the journey, and that one was aided by the use of a shark cage.  This past September, Nyad was 42 years older than that swimmer and would make the journey in those shark-infested waters unprotected, with only her team of experts in a nearby boat.  This would be her fifth and final attempt.  She was not as physically fit as she was in her younger years; however, she was more mentally capable than the first time she entered those waters when she was 28 years old.

During those 60 hours and 103 miles, Nyad spent much of it in total blackness, because sharks and jellyfish are attracted to light. Instead she embraced the hypnotic rhythm of each stroke, unable to see her own hands in front of her, from Cuba all the way to Florida.  Nyad was entertained by her hallucinations of various world treasures, like the Taj Mahal, while John Lennon’s Imagine played on repeat.  Along this arduous journey, her mantra “find a way,” began to take shape.

Today, as a motivational speaker, Diana encourages us to “live life in a bold way.” She says that life is filled with “dreams and obstacles, heartache and turmoil,” but if you believe and have faith, regardless of whether you get there, you will build character and spirit.  It’s about the journey, not the destination, and “everyday of our lives is epic,” so “never give up,” because “you can chase your dream at any age,” and we believe her!

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