I used to be afraid of failing… but not anymore

Everyone of you have gone through setbacks, whether it’s failing a paper you studied really hard for, to a competition which you did badly, even when you’ve did the best preparation for it.

Why must life be so unfair? Others have made the same preparations but they have done well, so why didn’t you?

You may even feel like Sometimes you just feel like the world is against you, or life is just pissing you off on purpose, don’t you?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I myself, and I’m sure many others, have gone through this tough phase and overcame it. I personally overcame my setbacks by constantly believing in the process, and believe in myself despite all the bad things that have happened in my life. But first, you have to accept the fact that the world is not against you, you just happen to be really unlucky this time around.

If you keep telling yourself that it is just one bad experience and it will get better in time, you’ll start to believe that you can get out of the slump and start achieving what you set yourself out for.

I’ll be teaching you a simple trick today which will help you in believing yourself more and staying motivated towards achieving your goals which you have in your life.

All you have to do is to look in the mirror, picture yourself as the person you want to be in 2-3 years time, and the achievements you want to have by then. Write them down in a piece of paper, or in your phone which you can set as your home screen, and start taking little steps to get to the person which you picture yourself to be. DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why is it important to write it down? To me personally, when I write something down in my phone and set it as my home screen, I am being held accountable to myself. Whenever I press the switch on my home screen, I would always be reminded of the goal which I want to achieve. For example, if your friend were to ask you out for a late night, but you’ve got morning training the next day, temptation will definitely strike you to just hang out for a bit. This is when the reminder that you’ve written in your phone will give you the extra motivation to to rest up and prepare for the tough training session for the next day.

Trust me, by writing it down, it gives you the opportunity to see the big picture, to constantly remind you of where you want to be at the end of the finish line.

Being accountable to myself has personally benefited me as well. I think many of you have read about my setback story which I almost gave up in life. (link here) But with the power of believe and being accountable to myself, I bounced back and achieved what I set myself out to achieve.

So this was me in 2011:


I felt really awful and depressed in 2011, and it was the period that I was in my worst shape in my life. I was at the lowest point in my swimming career, and it was really hard to climb back up from it.

I was so unfit to the point that a simple swim set which I used to complete easily would take me twice the amount of effort to complete, and man it was really really discouraging, especially when you’re swimming times that you’ve done a few years back. It kinda feels like the training that you’ve put in the past couple of years have gone down the drain.

However, that did not stop me from believing in the process. As I have mentioned above, I pictured where I wanted to be in 2013-2015 so I committed myself to working hard towards being the person I wanted myself to be.

I pictured myself as a much fitter, faster swimmer than I was there. And of course, I pictured myself winning a SEA Games medal after my dreadful 2011 experience. I told myself that never again I’m going to feel this devastated in my life.

To me, the only way that I could get out of this devastation was to win a medal at the next SEA Games. So I pictured myself in 2011 and thought about hanging the medal around my neck in 2013, alongside with amazing things that could happen in my swimming career if I were to be fitter and faster.


With that mentality, I started working a lot harder, and kept reminding myself of that medal I desired so much, but it has always been taken constantly away from me.

I was rarely tempted to stay up late during my training days as I know that it will be detrimental to my performances. There were some occasions that I couldn’t resist the temptation of a late night of playing computer games, but being accountable for my own actions really made me change those bad habits.

Competitions are brutal – everyone is fighting their hearts out in a race just to win, and there can only be one winner in a race. This is why in order to win, you’ll have to sacrifice, and learn to do things that are out of the norm.


So by the end of 2013, I was able to make that picture I had in 2011 to a reality, all through believing in the process, and being accountable to my actions. This goes to show that as long as you set your mind up to a goal, and stick to it no matter how hard it may be, you’ll be able to achieve them in time to come. 🙂


Building from that, 2013 gave me a lot more motivation to work even harder than before, as I know that anything’s possible as long if I set myself up well for it, and set goals which I am accountable for.

University got really stressful, and it wasn’t giving me enough rest time between sessions, so I took a leap of faith and took a break from school to focus on swimming. I had the courage to do that as I wanted to make sure that I was accountable to myself, and preparing myself to the best of my ability when the big day comes.

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And true enough, goals which I set myself out to achieve has been done again, because I’ve gave myself an opportunity to perform at the best of my ability, and I always held myself accountable to my own actions.

I started being more accountable to myself when I’ve failed to medal in both the 2009 and 2011 SEA Games. I used to think that it was a curse that I failed so badly back then, but come to think of it, failing has taught me many life lessons which I treasure today. In order to appreciate your success more, you’ll have to learn to fail first. Because you’ll only realize the sweetness of success when you’ve failed badly.


If I were to reflect back on the setbacks of my life, I’m proud to say that I’m glad those experiences happened. Because it shaped me to the person I am today – someone who is no longer afraid of failing, and someone who is constantly accountable for my own actions.

I’ve already made plans for the 2017 SEA Games moving on from my 2015 SEA Games experience, and I’m getting fitter and faster with each passing day. I’ll keep my targets a secret but just know that I’ve already pictured where I want to be by 2017. So I hope that you’ve made your plans too!

With that said, I hope that my post will motivate you to start making plans for yourself and hold yourself accountable to them! Remember to write them down, and I wish you all the best in achieving them. Let’s strive to get better together! 🙂


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Contact: swimpsj@gmail.com

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