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Push Past Impossible

This is an interesting book about open-water endurance swimming challenges. author Ryan Stamrood of South Africa started out at the age of 27 as a typical adult, not particularly fit. He then decided to get serious about swim training. His first goal was the Robben Island swim (7.5 km or 4.7 miles) from the coast near Capetown to the island where Nelson Mandela was a political prisoner for many years. Having accomplished this, he went on to swim more increasingly difficult open-water challenges, culminating in successfully crossing the English Channel.

Things really took a serious turn when he realized he and some friends had a talent for swimming in cold water, and together they formed the International Ice Swimming Association. He went on to complete some mind-boggling swims, including in a frigid lake in Siberia and swimming a mile in Antarctica.

He started out his career in advertising, working for his father, whose business he eventually took over and continued to grow successfully. But after these years of serious adventures, he pivoted to becoming a motivational speaker.

The book itself was very motivational. I got one strong takeaway from it. What you consider your “impossible” now can later become the starting point for building up to bigger things. For example, Ryan started out thinking the Robben Island swim was impossible, but now he has to do a double crossing to get in a good workout in training.

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