The Wise Words of Dory: “Just Keep Swimming”

So often, our mindset weighs us down. It warps the way we perceive ourselves, often magnifying the smallest mistakes.

“When life [and your mindset] gets down on you, you know what you’ve gotta do?

Just keep swimming.

Just keep swimming.

Just keep swimming.”

Dory is the quirky fish that we all know and love from the pixar classic Finding Nemo. Although her short-term memory loss makes her unreliable at times, this advice that she gives is something we may all need to be reminded of at times, myself certainly included. 

  1. When you’re going through violent waves, keep swimming. 

I realize what I’m about to say is cliche, but you’ve gone through so much already and have made it out every single time, and you WILL do it again. No, that is not a typo. WILL. The waves will try to bring you under, but you WILL swim through the barriers. What does this translate to in real life? If your mental health is struggling, the voice inside your head and the fear of social stigma are irrelevant barriers. Don’t let them prevent you from accessing the professional support or support from friends that you deserve. If you received a bad grade, this grade does not define your worth and keep on trying. You will reach your destination. It’s okay to go under every once in a while, but don’t give up. Take a breath in, and just keep swimming. 

  1. When factors out of your control aren’t ideal. 

This applies especially to the craziness of this year. There are so many uncontrollable factors that sometimes impact us more than they should. When something that we can’t control doesn’t go our way, it’s perfectly okay to pause and be upset, but do not dwell on this issue and let it overwhelm you. 

In real life, when you’re stuck in a riptide, you are advised to not swim directly against the current, but rather, parallel to the shore in order to get out. If you swim against the waves, you’ll become tired and not make any progress. Similarly when outcomes in life aren’t ideal, it’s perfectly okay to pause and be upset, but don’t dwell for too long or let negative externalities overwhelm you. You’ve done what you’ve can, reality is determined, so just keep swimming- everything will eventually work out. 

  1. You are capable of so much more than you think. 

Achieving what we want in life comes from a mentality of continuous fight: fighting for what we want and what we need. I truly believe that no one is born significantly more talented or smart than someone else; the differences in achievement largely rise from differences in work ethic and mindset. The greatest barrier between the status quo and reaching your greatest potential is mindset. 

You don’t have to be Michael Phelps, butterflying through the water, but make sure that you’re at least swimming in the lazy river, moving consistently towards your goals. Pretty soon, you’ll be laps ahead, looking back at the progress you’ve made today with pride and achievement. 

When you’ve hit a rough patch of water, keep on swimming through the barriers and towards the help you deserve. When the world sends waves crashing onto the shore, don’t try to control the waves for too long. When you’re working towards your goals, it doesn’t matter how fast you’re moving through the viscous water, just keep on swimming.

So, “When life gets down on you, you know what you’ve gotta do?

Just keep swimming.

Just keep swimming.

Just keep swimming.”

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