Ron White memory expert reveals why he would go swimming in 33 degree weather to train for the USA Memory Championship:
After my win in the 2009 USA Memory Championship the story of me training by memorizing cards under water spread like wild fire. I would train under water because the theory was I would have to deal with the distractions of floating in the water, breathing through a snorkel tube and the cold water. For me it worked and I was able to learn to focus with distractions and actually set a record for the fastest to memorize a deck of cards that year.
However, what wasn’t as well known was that I also used water as a consequence for not doing what I said I would do. One of the biggest obstacles for me in my training was being up early every morning. So I had set a goal for myself to be training by 8:30am 5 days a week. One day in January, I slept until 8:45am and it happened to be the day I had a call with my personal coach former US Navy SEAL TC Cummings. TC shared with me that doubt is my biggest enemy in the tournament.
He said Ronnie, we can’t have you on that stage thinking, ‘Wow…how do I expect to win this tournament if I can’t even be awake by 8:30am…’ Doubt would creep in and I would begin to wonder if I was worthy. So I needed to do something to ‘clean the slate’ – wipe it out of my mind and face a consequence and move on. TC allowed me to select the consequence and it was clear for me what I was going to do. It was 33 degrees outside and I had a swimming pool. I would walk outside and leap in the pool and swim to the other side in a cleansing experience.
I must confess I knew the water was going to be cold but I HAD NO IDEA in reality how cold….wow!!
I thought that once I hit the water my body would adjust and it wouldn’t be so bad….that may be true when it is 85 degrees outside, but when it is 33 degrees the pool is like a glass of ice tea! I had NEVER felt a cold shock like that before in my life. Here is the video, check it out:
When I got out of that pool do you think I was still beating myself up over sleeping late? HECK NO!! I had just told myself, ‘WOW! You are serious about this tournament! You own your actions and the consequences! YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE! You clean the slate and move on!’
I completed this drill again in 2010 with cold water and went for another swim in the pool in January of 2011 training for the 2011 tournament! Each time I arose for the pool I had proved to myself how much I own my consequences and it created a level of mental toughness that has served me well.
Do I recommend you swim when it is 33 degrees outside? Not really this drill worked for me and you need to do what suits you in your life. However, I do encourage you to face a consequence when you don’t do what you say you are going to do or doubt will creep in your mind and doubt is your worst enemy. Now I am going to go for a swim!