Diana Nyad – How to achieve impossible goals like swimming from Cuba to Florida


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Diana’s Wild Idea: To swim around islands and across oceans. To chase after any goal with no regard for what others say someone her age or ability can or cannot do.

In 2013 at the age of 64, Diana Nyad became the first person to swim 110 miles from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage. It took her about 53 hours. After years of training, four failed attempts, being stung by multiple box jellyfish, dealing with dehydration, hypothermia, naysayers and more, she did it.

A long-distance swimmer since she was a kid, she’d made other huge swims, including one around the island of Manhattan in 1975. But she took a break from swimming for years working as a commentator, writer, and journalist at the top level, and when she returned she set a huge goal. There’s nothing Diana sets her mind to that she can’t do and she’s not only a hoot, but she’s incredibly inspiring to be around. She’s also whip smart, an amazing storyteller, and she does an amount of burpees every week that will blow your mind (you’ll hear exactly how many in the interview).

Diana and I talked about what it feels like to get stung by box jellyfish, her elixir for injury prevention, how she dealt with adversity as a child, what she sings while swimming for hours on end, and how you can go after your dreams and live more wildly no matter what.

Listen to this Episode if

  • You have a wild idea and goal and want inspiration to pursue it.
  • You are a swimmer or love the ocean.
  • You want advice on confronting failure.
  • You’ve had to deal with moments of adversity.
  • You love extreme endurance athletes and activities.
  • You want to hear what it feels like to be stung by a box jellyfish.
  • You want to hear how many burpees this badass does a week.

Key Takeaways

  • 4:10 – Diana’s public speaking career.
  • 5:45 – How Diana confronts failure.
  • 8:00 – What a box jellyfish sting feels like.
  • 11:15 – How to deal with moments of adversity.
  • 16:25 – What songs Diana sings to herself when she swims.
  • 18:50 – What food she eats on her swims.
  • 23:50 – Being an endurance athlete in your sixties.
  • 26:00 – What Diana’s fitness routine and diet are like now.
  • 29:00 – The impact of the sexual abuse that Diana endured.
  • 31:25 – How to get through hard times.
  • 37:40 – Diana’s writing process.
  • 39:30 – How to pursue your wild idea.
  • 41:20 – What EverWalk is.
  • 43:50 – How Diana stays injury free.
  • 45:45 – Where Diana’s favorite place to swim is.

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