Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Y.O.L.O. Pandemic

The Y.O.L.O. Pandemic
By Hassaan Abdel Khalik

Today, the acronym YOLO, which stands for "You only live once," is seemingly at the tip of everyone's tongue. YOLO sends a powerful message. It encapsulates several virtues necessary for success in life. Unfortunately, YOLO is mostly used in a negative connotation to justify poor behaviour and/or irresponsible actions.

I have broken down YOLO into four lessons, one for each letter. These lessons stand independent of one another but yield the best results when applied in unison. Enjoy...

1. You

You are responsible for your actions. At all times, and in all situations, understand that you are ultimately in control of your own fate. Rather than deferring responsibility to someone or something else, remember what Winston Churchill once said, "The price of greatness is responsibility."

2. Only

Only is a word often associated with "very little".

Every person has very little time. Actually, everyone is losing the very little time they have to begin with.


With every second that passes by, our hypothetical bank account of time is worth one (dollar) second less. Think of time like this:  Every morning you wake up with a bank account of ($)86,000 seconds. Your decisions dictate how that time is spent. For example, that 5 minute snooze is ($)300 seconds spent on nothing. A two hour swim practice can be either ($)7,200 seconds well invested or ($)7,200 seconds wasted, and this depends on how you utilize your time. At the end of the day, all that your are left with are the investments you have made for the future and as Ben Franklin once said, "Lost time is never found again."

3. Live

The word live is the verb for life.

Life, as defined by Oxford Dictionary, is "the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth..."

Every task to be completed, no matter how big or small, is an opportunity for personal growth. The personal growth may not directly come from the task itself. Instead, it may come in the form of a virtue learned.

For example, a simple task that may seem useless directly in earning millions of dollars or swimming best times is doing one's laundry. Yet, doing one's laundry teaches an individual the value of self sustenance.

Another example, this time related to swimming, is whether or not to swim a 50 or 1500 Freestyle at the end of a swim meet where there seems to be no direct benefits of doing it (depending on your event specialty, focus on the event that seems less beneficial for you). On the surface, a 25 (+/-) second or 16 minute race may seem too short or too long for you to receive any direct benefits from it. Other than learning the virtue of seeing everything through till the end, there are numerous technical lessons that can also be derived from either of these races. A 50 Freestyle is a great opportunity to learn to execute under the pressure of close quarters racing. Such a skill set may come in handy for a 1500 swimmer who finds themselves in a tight race over the last 50 meters of a mile. On the other hand, a 50 Freestyler can work on their flip turn technique over and over again in a 1500 so when it comes down to a short course 50, they know how to execute a perfect flip turn under the fatigue of a mile, let alone a 12 second 25.

So remember:

"Don't go through life, grow through life." -Eric Butterworth

4. Once


If you were surrounded with fairy tales as a child you'd continue with:

…upon a time.

We all create our own unique story. If we try really hard, we can also create our own fairy tale. One where we achieve all our dreams and ambitions. In order to make our desires come true we must make good decisions. Remember, although decisions can be made in split-seconds, their impact can be infinite.

The only way to make sure that one's decisions are made for the best is to have such a strong conviction and sense of direction in life that everything is engrained deep in the mind.

So when you are faced with a race-time decision of whether or not to push through an immense amount of pain through the last stretch of a race it is expected that you will. When you are faced with the decision of whether or not to stay up late you won't. When you are faced with the decision of whether or not to help the student who just dropped all their book you will help them.

You might not realize it, but "Conviction is the conscience of the mind." (Nicolas Chamfort)

I'd like to close off just by reminding everyone, myself included, to never lose sight of their goals and to use every little opportunity as a stepping stone towards achieving them.