The Power of Human Effort

Jan 05, 2011
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The power that lies beneath human effort is astounding. For years I have known this, but never truly lived up to a standard to really understand it all until just recently.

Over thirteen years ago, I was involved in a car accident that should have killed me, twice probably. But somehow, sitting here now, wheelchair and all, I am more confident than ever that the accident was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I was a high school junior, with high ambition and spirit for the world. I was a varsity swimmer and knew nothing better. Once the crash happened, I never really stopped to realize that my swimming career should have ended there. Call it stupidity, call it naivety, call it whatever you like; but whatever the case, I jumped back in the pool reluctantly, but with great vigor.

About two years after my accident, I began competing again in swimming and even traveled to the 2000 Disability Championship Meet & Paralympic Trials. Although I had trained the way I thought I should, it simply wasn’t enough and I wasn’t wise enough to recognize it at the time. My muscles were in prime condition, but my brain was stagnant.

Not realizing it at the time, or even years later, I had been mentally and emotionally stuck in the idea that it didn’t really matter how much I tried, or how much effort I put into this sport; I was never to swim the way that I once had. These barriers were silently haunting.

Only after ten more years of experiences, both elating and destroying, did I realize something so crucial for my heart and brain to fuel on: the power lies in the effort.

So here I sit, ready to try it all again. Ready to prove to myself that true success lies in the journey and the amount in which one tries, and with that, the outcome will always be rewarding.

I’ve hopped back in the pool after spending nearly eight months on bed rest for numerous health issues. Today, I feel better than ever. I am constantly coaching myself into the mindset that I never knew existed in the past, the mindset of a true athlete, a true hero. My heart is singing songs of hope and excitement. My muscles are singing songs of torture and grace. My mind is at ease for the first time in my life.

This journey, this path in which I have taken, is one that has begun with swimming, but I am sure it will end with so much more. For there is nothing in this world more rewarding that the effort and ability of one’s mind, body, and soul in complete unison for the betterment of everything within reach.

No matter the vehicle, it’s important to acknowledge your own human effort in any method you possibly can. Life isn’t worth living if no effort is supplied to your own heart’s desires. Find yours!

To learn more about my journey, please visit:

Author: Ryan Rae McLean