Kaizen Happiness
by Terry Laughlin

Posted on April 26th, 2011
I received this email the other day from TI Coach Rosita.
Hi Terry,
What a wonderful swimming day this has been.  I spent three hours with a friend who routinely runs half-marathons but is just now getting into triathlons. I watched her swim, then had her practice, guided by Focal Points. After that I had her swim with a Tempo Trainer (she instantly loved it!). Finally I video taped her swimming and we watched it on TV.
Afterward, she said, “I had the most fun swimming today I have ever had in my life”.

That last sentence has a power that few of us realize. How much transformation might we all experience in our swimming — and possibly in life — if our goal for each practice was to enjoy swimming more than you ever have.

I’ve often written that my goal in nearly every practice is to swim better than I ever have.  Setting the bar that high leads to a sense of Purpose and Focus that’s rare.

It also prods you to define ‘better than ever’ in flexible and insight-producing ways. Most swimmers have difficulty seeing beyond the time on the pace clock as a measure of how well they’re swimming.  But the most important – most lasting – quality of swimming should be whether it makes you feel better in body and mind.

I’ve also learned that swimming with mindfulness and purpose consistently puts me in a Flow State, which is just another way of saying Bliss. It’s Flow that makes swimming addictive, that draws me eagerly to the pool.  Rosita’s anecdote made me realize that my true swimming goal is to have the same experience as her friend — to have more fun than I’ve ever had .

That prompts me to ask: Why not pursue Kaizen Happiness as well as Kaizen Skills — to gain the ability to access ever more profound states of sheer joy, and steadily increase your ability to access those states at will.

So here’s a suggestion for practice planning. Make it your explicit goal to practice in ways that:

Make you feel better — even amazing — physically.

Make you feel better about yourself.

Make you ever more passionate about swimming.

For the next month, try using those as your standards and goals, instead of the usual objective measures of endurance, speed or even skill, and see how much the objective stuff improves when you focus on increasing joy instead.

4 Responses to “Kaizen Happiness”

  1. I think it is definitely important to enjoy your exercise of choice because you may get tired of it if you practice in ways that make you not enjoy it.

  2. Swimsuits says:

    Swimming is a sport in which almost all the body’s muscle groups are involved, making it one of the best and most complete activities that everyone can do, particularly older adults like me who find that running as a form of exercise has too much impact on the body. Its very enjoyable, refreshing and a good way to start the day. ☺


  3. Chris Thanks for your comment. Check my latest blog, on my next book “Swimming That Changes Lives” to see how I relate that swimming practice can benefit your Being as much as your Body.

  4. Mike says:

    The total immersion way seems to be the most effective way out there for reserving energy and enjoying your swims. How many classes are there across the UK?

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