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Life Lessons from a Shark

Jul 06, 2024

You've probably learned that your thinking creates your experience. I believe it.

Looking back, I realize the countless times my thoughts not only crafted my life experience but affected everything around me.

Many years ago, I learned to scuba dive in the Bahamas. On the second day with my instructor, I was still awestruck by the beauty at the bottom of the ocean. The coral, the spectacular array of sea creatures, and the vastness of the sea - it was just incredible. And I could see it all because I was breathing underwater! It was unbelievable.

We were diving near a large coral reef when a brightly colored school of fish silently glided by, followed by a trio of six-to-eight-foot reef sharks. I watched with amazement and noted the group was only about ten feet away from me.

Whaaat? The sharks were only ten feet away from ME!

In a flash, the theme from JAWS started playing in my head as did each brutal, bloody scene from every shark movie I've ever seen. And I've seen a lot.

The tempo of the music increased and as I became completely terrified, one shark broke away from the group and began circling me. I could see the shark's dead eyes staring through me and became even more horrified. Captain Quint's famous line in JAWS flooded back to me, "You know the thing about a shark, he's got... lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eye." It's true.

As the shark got closer, I was forced to drop down on my belly between two coral shelves where I was trapped. I was breathing hard and using up oxygen fast when I realized there was at least 50 feet of ocean between me and the boat. The more scared I was, the faster my heart beat, and the more aggressive the shark became. I remembered sharks could sense fear and were drawn to any creature that gave off "victim" vibes.

Even in full panic, I heard a small voice inside me say, "Calm down, you're safe."

I forced myself to breathe deeply and slowly. I began to repeat "I am safe, I am safe, I am safe" over and over in my mind. As I felt my body start to relax and my heartbeat returned to normal, the shark began to lose interest. As I completely relaxed and became calm, it suddenly turned and swam away.

What a gift I received that day!

I witnessed, in real-time, how my thoughts immediately influenced my experience. This is when I realized how dramatically our external world reflects our internal chatter. When I was thinking victim thoughts, I was actively stalked by a real shark. When I consciously changed my thoughts to "I am safe," the shark left.

The best part of this story? You don't need to be stalked by a shark to get the message. Your thoughts create your reality.

Thanks for the life lesson, Mr. Shark.

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