Some time ago, mainly because my then-girlfriend bought me 3 Hacky Sacks (or ‘juggling balls‘, as they seem to be known these days), I took it upon myself to learn how to juggle.
An image of three juggling balls

The learning process is actually quite simple.  This is the method I have used:

  1. With two in one hand (e.g. left) and one in the other, throw up one (of the two) first and simply catch it with the other hand.
  2. Then, repeat but throw back from the right to the left.

    Completing just this first step is the key to learning how to juggle. 

    Continue to practice this method, tossing the sack from one to the other hand.  When you can always catch it, try the next step:

  3. When the ball is up in the air, throw the opposite ball up too.  The best time to throw it is just before the first ball reaches the parabolic peak (the top of the arc of travel).   Now that your second hand is free, catch the first ball.
  4. If you can, try to catch the second ball as well, using your first hand – just as you have already practised.

    Once you have got this far, you are well on the way to becoming an expert! 😉

  5. It goes without saying that, to improve, you need to throw the third ball into the air before catching either the first, or the second.

The paradox

This is the secret to success.  In order to successfully catch, time after time, you must successfully throw.  In other words, to hold on, you have to let go.

Perhaps it can be best summarised with a quote from Star Wars.  When Princess Leia is speaking to Governer Tarkin, shortly before he destroys the planet of Dantooine, she says (paraphrased), “the more you tighten your grip, the more will slip through your fingers”.

Been swimming a fair amount in recent months. The original intention was to build up some endurance for when I go surfing, but the swimming has since become an enjoyable thing in itself.

A friend and I go, 2-3 times per week, to a 50m Olympic-sized pool. 32 lengths = 1600 metres, or 1 mile. We normally manage the 32 lengths each time we go, but we are now looking to push it a bit further.

Normally we warm up with 10 lengths, split into 5 sets of 2. Then we do sets of 4 lengths for the bulk of the distance, before warming down with a closing 2-4 lengths. It’s great fun, and every time we go I feel we progress that bit further.

It’s a good reminder that achievements can take some time to accomplish, but they are then with you for life.