by Mark Lim

I never learned how to swim as a child, even though my father was an able swimmer and my elder brother was one by age six.

Learning to swim is no Everest for most people, but it was a big deal to me.

Because not being able to swim was something I hated about myself for most of my life. It took me more than two decades and a lot of courage to finally learn how to swim at age 26. But even then, I never thought that one day I would be able to swim 10 km in the open sea. One day, I did.

On August 3 this year, I joined 37 other volunteers in a marathon swim from Bedok Jetty to Merlion Park in the city, to raise funds for charity.

The two preceding weeks were filled with anxiety and self-doubt. The over-whelming support from my friends through their generous pledges became a psychological burden for me because of my fear of letting them down. In addition, I lacked the experience and confidence as a swimmer, having learned to swim barely three years ago and never swum in the open sea.

Fortunately for me, my friends from Mind Transformation’s NLP course came to my rescue.

Using the tools of NLP, they found the causes of my anxiety and fears, and reconciled them with my want for self-affirmation and accomplishment. They made me see that while my fears and self-doubt were debilitating, their intentions were to protect me from disappointment. But once these positive intentions were acknowledged, I felt free to let them go in pursuit of my goal. It was a deeply personal experience (and struggle) coming to that reconciliation, but afterwards came a peace and sense of equilibrium that I rarely feel.

I have always been aware of the mind-body connection, and that the body can do amazing things if the mind knows how to communicate effectively with it.

This made the two weeks I spent on Batam in June for the NLP course especially illuminating because I learnt the ways to do just that. I have always gotten “gut feelings” that I can do a certain thing, however daunting it may seem to me at the same time. Now I recognize that it is my mind’s way of telling me that I have the resources and strengths to do it, and that it is something important that I want to do. Through NLP, I can identify what those resources are and why it is important that I should do it. This makes the experience of doing it all the more gratifying and rewarding.

Even though at parts of the swim I felt like giving up due to fatigue, I completed the swim, never doubting that I had the physical ability to do it. I felt fantastic after the swim – I have given myself a unique experience to cherish and be proud of for the rest of my life. I thank my NLP practitioner friends Irene, Loke Yeow, Raj and especially Anna Marie. They should share my proud moment because I could not have done any of this without them.

NLP has done much to improve the way I work and play, feel and act, live and learn. I feel that it is time that I use NLP to help others improve the way they go about their lives. In some small way, I hope, I have taken the first step in doing that through this sharing.


An engineer by training, Mark Lim currently teaches Physics at Nanyang Junior College, because he wants to personally affect lives in a positive way. He joined the NLP Practitioner course in June 2003.

Reconciling fears and developing the will to succeed are among the things we work on in NLP course. NLP is all about raising your level and maximising your untapped potential.

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