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16 April 2024

Beating life's challenges

By Sneha May Francis

Lewis William Gordon Pugh, OIG is an ocean advocate, a maritime lawyer and a pioneer swimmer.

He has been described as the ‘Sir Edmund Hillary of Swimming’.

Lewis taught valuable lessons on beating life’s challenges by referring to three of his stories about swimming in extreme situations – one at the North Pole, another at the Mount Everest and a third in Maldives.

He holds himself the record of being the first person to complete a long-distance swim in every ocean of the world, and he frequently swims in vulnerable ecosystems to draw attention to their plight.

While selecting his team, he talks about the kind of personalities they look for. “There are broadly three categories - pessimists, realists and optimistic, and day-dreamers.

“For an ideal team we look at realists because they would say ‘the water is crucially cold but we need to get past it’.”

Having grown up in South Africa, he moved to London to pursue a career in law, but he admitted being unhappy.

“I wasn’t passionate about it. I would wake up wanting to go to the mountains… wanting to go to the Himalayas.”

Life lessons

“It is so important that you follow your own dreams or you will end up following someone else’s dream.”

“Visualisation - It closes the gap between where you are now and where you need to be”.

“Never prepare for defeat and victory. You are confusing your subconscious. You have to believe in yourself.

“There’s nothing more powerful than a made-up mind.”

“The world is divided between pioneers and followers.”

“Change is important. First, just because something has worked in the past it doesn’t have to work in the future.

“For real effective change to take place. You need to change your mindset.”

“Never limit beliefs.”

“Imagine that every single person wants to help you.”