Oprah’s conversation with marathon swimming champion and female warrior Diana Nyad continues. Diana captivated the world when, on her fifth and final attempt, she became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida, without a shark cage. Diana explains why it was important for her to dream big, achieve the impossible and find joy in the face of skepticism. While experts, friends and family said it couldn’t be done, Diana's iron-will would not be swayed. When faced with unending obstacles and excruciating pain, her spirit would not be defeated. More than just a mantra for Diana, "find a way" is a prescription for fulfilling dreams and uplifting the spirit. Find out why Diana says the near-impossible swim elevated her sense of presence and mindfulness.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I'm over Winfrey welcome to supersede conversations the podcast. I believe that one of the most valuable gives you can give yourself is time taking time to be more fully present. Your journey to become more inspired and connected to the deeper world around us starts right now. Welcome to part two of our com, station last time we talk diamond. I described how she defied all odds when she made that fifty three hour landmark swim from Cuba to Florida for more than three decades, that span of water lingered in her imagination, the possibility of conquering it remaining an unfinished dream: Dianas historic Journey was chronicle in the documentary. The other shore. Instead of breaking her will the optical she faced on. Each attempt were met with a personal mantra.
Carried her long even ass. She continued to fall short of her goal. The mantra find away by her side throughout the journey was a dedicated team led by Dianas business partner and best friend, Bonnie stole that almost as soon as you finish, swim from Cuba. I could not believe this in you walking up on the shore that moment in that moment. Is that just surreal cause? You can't even believe it's happening. I have today the truth in all the swimming practices you have to go, the words are until no more sea water lies beyond so we're dogma. Even if see waters up to your ankles you're not done yet. You got right. So that's why the team was saying, keep back. He back so tell me this when you now step back years, we're is where we started this. You were saying very proud of yourself. Are you amazed me because when the rest of the world looks at you, I call you warrior woman, but it does seem like an impossible thing for a human being to do. Are you kind of amazed at yourself
A more proud of myself, because you know when the question comes- continues to need quite believe it can you. Can you really grasp pondered? You have to see the rat your brain, a review after brain around. That's the best way. To put it, I have open, because I I always believe I always saw that day of walking up on that sure, just as a motivation to get through a twelve hour swim, I imagined what would the uses this ego thing? I imagine what would happen when I reach- or I would just give this and yet speech would be about you know. My friends said to me will be a tragedy if your throat swells up and you can't breathe anymore, not because you can't read, because you won't be able to talk, my parents know me, but the truth is I always imagined? Even
I was other attempts when I didn't make it. What will I say when I get to shore? Will this time there wasn't? Any of that I was so in the moment. I never had that were Hearst. There wasn't any pr moment whatsoever that was absolutely often to what I was dealing with those people giving me their eyes. I you know what those people just haven't some phone like all this cool thing just happened, There were looking me like. We just witnessed what we need to believe for our eyes that you truly didn't give up that you found. A way after all these years and all these obstacles to get to this beach, and I need to feel that from my life, that's what those people are building have. They were
so I was in a moment- and I didn't workers any that, but but making it didn't surprised me at all, because I believed it and never let go of it now. One of the things that body had said you're your best friend in business partner in Cochin. Yes, here she was called in the New York Times a thing. I think the Dinah thinks that it will change for life and I think Dinah will be too pointed that it doesn't change. Did this change your life? You know, of course not. You know when I was done. You know going over to be with my dog and being what my friends and- and having the satisfaction of knowing who I am in this life and not having any regrets about it and really sticking with something you know, no matter how impossible seen. That's as important to me. Not you know a superficial things in my life s eye what makes one half maybe not change, but I would say: did it in hand shoe elevated just confirmed it confirmed. You know I I knew I was, and this just walking out on the beach I was like for the
for years, no matter how deep the valleys work of disappointments and uphill climbs to get it organise again, the training is, ruling yeah you just people don't emit, know what this sport, as I would you say, they TED Talk, which is funny cause. I remember when I was training for the marathon years ago, with Bob Green Dear and, and I need say, we're gonna go run ten miles there twelve also day, and if I came with in you, know, one tenth of I was short. I did I I gotta run back to finish it and you you were the same way with swimming yeah, yeah, the fifteen eighteen, twenty twenty two twenty four hours limbs all them which would be marathons unto themselves, just hundreds and hundreds of them. So to do this, I thought we're going to do in two thousand ten, but there was whether and then do those eleven there was jellyfish than two thousand
There was you know, storms and jellies incurred so for years of this training, not to mention that thirty, five years of the athenian training before I walked up on the beaches, filled with pride myself. That not once did the dream flounder once did I say: do I really want to do this? Is it just so darn hard or you know? No, where people are dropping out my team like flies, they just don't believe in a more I never ever lost. Believe there was going to happen. You know you have to dare you know you have to fail over and over again
some Renee Brown suggested dear greatly, if the dear grimly, I know it's a guess, raise their great lair getting anywhere in the ring getting in the arena, bloody, get dirty and fail. What did you feel like the next morning? Were you tired? Were you sword we able to get out of bed without a day? What happened? What the next morning I'm lying in bed- and you know I've been neurotic about the weather for four years. Will it happened where the east winds were the hurricanes? Will we ever get a chance to do? It's already have the conditions, so I'm lying in bed the next day. The mouth is awfully sore with that and I turn on the television the morning SAM champion from good morning. America comes out with the weather and he says: there's a hurricane brewing in the Atlantic, and I said I don't give a grasp of the birds diamond for he has done given wow. That's what
sailor next day, Ivorians over. I'm almost happier that it's over than I am that I didn't just the push was so hard, so relentless so difficult that just avid over I walk round my, how saying I'm not I'm not going Q. I'm not going. Hillary Clinton asked me to get Cuba's permissions. I'm I'm not planning the training for the winter, it's it's! it only done. This has been a long. It's really been thirty five years, not many athletes have a story like this. I love a story. You, and this is I'm living a drama. You know it's deeply satisfying. You know as I said before, is that this is not the superficial happiness like no. No, it's gonna he's gonna. Last me a long time not not to not do anything else, but but just that I've. Finally, stuck with it and finished it, you know like I deserved this and our team deserves.
No sooner than you had come to shore that people started questioning your integrity, yet that the haters came out and ongoing people. My lord will leave the woman along she just swam for fifty three hours. When that feel like, though having people say you know, was a fraud was afore. I now can you imagine unenforceable with forty four people out there, people of great scientific repeater, then I can be involved with something that was shady by any means. But there are two factions about one. Is people have a right? You know if somebody else did it, I would respectfully you know not. In some wash
the judgment statements to press, but I would go quietly to a swimmer in their team and say you know I'd like to look at the navigation logged, as all of us have tried this too hard, and it did seem impossible. So you know we need to have your observers logs and their data from the GPS machines. But I didn't mind, though people got on a three hour in twenty two minute call with the marathon swimmers, but all respectful and all the questions they should ask. How did you go about this? The navigator brilliant man, John Bartlett, went through The hours of this is where we were in our twenty seven. The curate was basing this way it was going at the speed. Diana speed was this. We were at a vector going like this and they sent oh what we get there. Why, then, someone just I'll explain happy when you're on call because they were challenging you they most. There were very reasonable and respectful, and they just said any any big record needs to be vetted. You know- and I agree with that- and I said I'm here for
one guy, I mean here things like. I know you couldn't have done it, because only smear seventeen hours after you finish the next morning you or at a press conference, even though you are a swollen, but you were laughing and origin, and telling stories impossible to do fifty three hours and get up, and I said that is patently absurd. We can go out, you know on the street and find people who were just genetically capable of staying up for days and I've been through your story. So what that's crazy? The other people were reasonable and just wanted to know how many people were there. Was the observers logs every minute, we're there somebody observing every minute. Wasn't it might
in that I wasn't wrapping onto the boat getting out on the boat using slippers and they are. I believe I got many apology and respectful notes from that group. Swimmers was over to say, please forgive us for doubting, but we needed asked these questions is over. Congratulations, its history wow. Yes, so we suffer through it, but I guess I do you had to, but there there's it did. You think we are in a culture where we put people on a pedestal. Athletes on the pet but also want to see them yet fall down. Oh yeah observe the mega. You are the hard they want. You to fall absolute yet so you ve said that marathon swimming, though, is a microcosm of life itself, lay a talk about their the microcosm others. I like that you go to obstacles, you feel good thing, you don't feel so good. How do you find a way to get through the valleys? How do you keep believing, and then you see the other shore? And you say you know
I got through my marriage or I got through my cancer. Whatever is we're all going through every day? If you really want to get there, you can find it and that's what they were about, yeah yeah with sixty hard for you cause, I'm going away deterrent six was an hour You know. Only in this way, as you know, the old you get the clock starts to Turkey, Astor yeah, you know you're already and say I got all the time in the world, although that now be this now you sixty use counting the years because you know, are we gonna, be vibrant at ninety? Maybe they may not. Yet when you were Yours owe him, and in the fifth grade in your nineteen, seventy eight memoir wrote about an essay that you'd written ran a fifth grade teacher she's one of these wonderful teachers of my era. Yes, kids, who saved all their favorite kid. She had
big cabinet of all, so I was getting a little bit of notoriety in my twenty swimming around Manhattan and she wrote me- and she said I saved your essay in fifth grade about when we said the title is what I will do for the rest of my life, so most greater right, I'm gonna be a fireman. I'm gonna be a nurse, and so this is what I wrote. My mother says that her father lived to be seventy nine, her mother, still living and my father's parents are still living. It would probably be a good guess that I will live to eighty years, which means I have said, many years left to go. I want to see all the countries of the world and learn all the languages I want. Thousands of friends- and I want all my friends be different- I want to six instruments. I wanted to be the best in the world two things. I want to be a great athlete and I want to be a great surgeon. I need to practice very hard every day. I need to sleep as little as pass ignored, just to coin a phrase
I need to read at least one major book every week. I need to remember that my seventy years are gonna go by too quickly and that's the only really important phrase of this. I guess, but many ten year olds honestly sought to make myself special that she's my particular little eccentricity when you're ten you imagine being eleven now can't you're like ten and dream so where's my birthday. Yes, so I'm saying I know, you do remember that my seventy years are going by too quickly, and I must say I have felt that all my life, yes, we get older the car. To explore. This was so angry seeking this is what so interesting and as your reading this I hear it differently than when I read it, but that when you turn sixty, you started thinking about your mother dying at eighty two and said I've. Twenty two more years when you're Tellin, you say I got seventy more you
they have done? You know your mother's yeah, father, Diarrhoea, so you're a person whose always been consciously aware, yet I ended and they I'm passing, except that the difference between now, I guess the evolution for me now at this age- is that I used to spend a lot of time, beating myself up and regretting the past. I used to spend a lot of time and fantasizing that future due and worrying about the future things I can control what, if tat is what, if that happens, but I now more in the power of now and that's how to reckon with If there really are only eighteen years, If I'm gonna die at eighty two, then what more can I do about? It then be in this chair
looking your eyes and being in this moment, I'm just right here right now in this best. Second, do what more can I do, and I think that's the best all we can do is be in now and do and do everything in your potential to be that that the best of yourself in this moment yeah you reach that wonderful point in life in the Derek Walcott Point where he says there time will arrive when we greet yourself arriving at your own front door, give wine give bread to the person whom you ignored all these years and you will sit and feast on your life. I've never heard that. Oh, it's an amazing point, but that's what you have the opportunity to do now and I'm feeling that its wells up deep and.
It doesn't have anything to do with you know. Did you change your life overnight and the same person? I was, as I was before Labour day. We can. I want to offer a lot of people say to me now. Well, now we just when the Pacific Ocean, I mean what could be bigger than this. I say it's not about the oceans out about the swimming. I discovered at sixty that I wanted to get these values straight in my life, so that when the end gums, I can say I don't know about those early years I was gonna. Just rolling through was dancing as fast as I can like all this too, but you get to a point where it doesn't matter. What's happened to you doesn't matter what you been through, you can't blame anything anymore. You are your own person. And you take charge of your life and you decide who you want to be and how you want to live this one. What is Mary Oliver say: what are you doing with this one, wild and precious life? What are you doing with it and a one way street and we're not kid ourselves when you get to sixty and seventy and eighty you're about at the end of the road?
Yes, of course, I feel vital. I feel em in the prime of my life and maybe I'll sit here with you ten years from now and feel even more so at seventy four, maybe but we're we're indefinitely. We get an toward the end that road more I'm at the beginning, and I feel that whatever I set out to do, you know forget about the world records and the first time in history. That's all wonderful! I dont negate bad. I don't deny that it is that it feels like a real ego pleasure to do something. Even young people have never done before, but really what I walk around smiling about right now is that I can be proud of this person. I am, and I hope that you know people are going with me to find their way find a way in their own lives and they seem to be telling me that find a way and find a way
you told our producers that you're, not a God person that Europe person, whose deeply in awe yeah yeah- I'm not a god. Personally, do I argue against my friends who, were you know religious buddhist Jews? Christian you can see here said atheist, I'm an atheist and but you're in the raw yeah. But you know I don't understand why anybody would find you know a contradiction in the eye stand at up at the beaches edge with the most devout Christian Jew, Who does go on down the line and weep with the beauty, this universe and be moved by all of humanity. All the billions of people live before us who have loved and hurt and suffered. So to me, my definition of God is humanity
And is the love of humanity and, as we return to you, I don't call you an atheist than I think of you believe in the UK. The wonder: ok, mystery, ok, that that is what God is. Ok, is what God is what ideas you know you're the guy in the sky is not bearded, but I guess there is an inference with God that there is presence. There is a either a creator or an overseer I dont criticise anybody, because you know what the definition of life is. We will never know We'll will never know you know what that last breath. Yet Maybe it's in oh wow, one for you as I wanted Lila jobs all. Why should have been praying I'm going away, but but for now I dont criticise anybody. People tell me they see ghosts, they see goes. People tell me that they, they remember, pass lives back to the middle ages. They remember the people see guy
feel gotta, that's their faith, and I have nothing to say about it. Just for me, I'm an atheist in all an atheist in are so. Do you consider yourself a spiritual person? even as an atheist, I do, I don't think, there's any contradiction in those terms. I think you can be an atheist who doesn't believe in an overarching being who create all of this and sees over it, but their spirituality, because we human beings and we animals- and maybe even we plants, but certainly the ocean and the moon and stars. We all live with something that is cherished and we feel the treasure of it and I believe that fill that so deeply. It's why! Every time I enter my yard or Lee by say hello, tree yeah, yeah, yeah I just the older. I am. I walk around every day with you know,
flowers and buildings that people created and but certainly certainly beings. You know just as every pair of eyes I look into I I see the souls ok and how do you define that the sole a soldier is your spirit? It's it's here. It's your love of humanity! It's your belief that there is more than you there, people before us that you, you could weep too to look at the discovery of an ancient city and realise that those people live and they loved and they danced and they ate and they suffered and they you know they lived just as we are so there have been so many forty and sixty in eighty year lives billions of them and we all have souls, and I I feel their collective souls well, what do you think happens when we die?
I think that the sole lives on, because we have created so much energy and end when we, when we display courage and hope it lives on, but I do believe the body goes back to ash and it is never more. How do you define spirituality versus religion- is religion is a constructs. It's a man made construct which back when was very important to keep people behaving and an anti people. Believing so that they add a community that they could be together on something with em. And I can still respect that you know I've been in places of worship were I can. I can feel that community and understand that I just don't believe in the being. That's that's it! So
we're spirituality, has no construct at all. It's it's feeling in its faith and had some it's it's being in touch with this magical world we live in. What do you think is the purpose of the human experience? that's a big one. Part of it is to remain in mystery. I dont believe we will ever know why we're really here, but we just our here, so feel it do something about it. Leave it in some little better state Then you could have. There are some people, I know just touch their neighborhoods in my, neighbourhood, a man down the street, lost his wife last year? He's got for kids. One woman in our neighbourhood she's busy she works to jobs. She's raising through kids on our own, so why should she be the one to take this up? But you she went around the left, us all a schedule, Diana you ve got to get delivered.
That guy every other Wednesday night. If you can't do it get somebody else to do it, you ve got, we ve got to help and cheap. You know she took it upon himself to leave our streets. In a more soulful spiritual. While than it had been so one for you know for believing that you aging, you make the whole world a better place just by within your household living, the values, you believe, so that your brothers and sisters, due to and then maybe goes down the street, and maybe that goes to the neighbourhood and for someone like you, that goes out to a whole big bunch of our humanity on this planet today. So your swim, as we were discussing, has been called a triumph of the human spirit. How do you define that the human spirit, the human spirit, is filled with courage and hope, and I dont think you ever consciously decide to leave those things
now. You just are those things. You are courageous person if your personal filled with hope it beams out of your eyes when actions required you all of a sudden jumped to it, and I personally feel after being lucky in travelling this whole wide world that almost all of us, that in us and are dying to live it out? Were you able to accomplish what you set out to do as a fifth greater? I know you're, not a surgeon, but do you have friends from all different backgrounds? Do you have have you seen most of the world? Were you able to fulfil that ten you're old dream I have. I would say that you know it its people, its people. You know I've I've hung out Messiah tribesmen I've been with them. You know, Presidents and though the greatest athletes alive and all the people and to me every
individual on this planet has a story. If I can tap just just a few of those, that's my mission in life just not even a mission is just maybe what I was meant to do. Even I don't usually use phrases. What is the best piece of advice you ever given. This, be yourself, you know, I think, when you're younger you ve got that outside. You know vision of yourself looking in I am I looking good my sounding good. I know when I used to work on television That is really being that moment. Looking that lends and say you know, I see someone sitting on their living room couch right now and I'm just with with her talking to her. Would you are so good at? I used to look in and out of this last over feeling I'd say you know. Am I looking good. You know, my jaw line looking how thou you know it myself. Intelligent and someone
to me young one time, just you're, a magnificent being as we all are just be yourself. Just beer, authentic self, and I think I have become largely and more and more Europe Diana antics, so that's the best advice any family. They asked me about doing anything. I say find a way to be yours, Algeria, and if you can't be yourself, then don't do yeah yeah finish this sentence.
Leave. I believe in love, like the beetle said, loves all. There is never give up on your dream, because, because you'll get there, if you find a way, I feel inspired by my my fellow human beings, all of them. My greatest joy is body, soul and heart coming together. My definition of a champion is a champion. Does right a champion? Has ethics and morals and is not just about winning their so many people in sport who have won and we can't remember their names but Billy Jean King,
It doesn't matter how many titles she won. It is that human being, who led, who refused to let human rights, be second to and women's rights, be second to the money, and the Wimbledon trophies held above a champion is Mohammed Ali who thought beyond just as immediate winnings and the belt. He was gonna, where it's it's someone who who embraces humanity and carries humanity with their spirit. Do you see yourself as a chance? I do I do I I you know. I don't want to sound like a bird hyperbole. I don't wanna, be some huge ego, but I feel a champion. Where do you feel most at home or at peace when my friends will ensure, when your word, whereas someone who's when I'm with the people who you go a lifetime with you now- and I know you know this and then there's nothing like it there there there's the love of you, know, mates and there's the love of
animals and there's a love of children, and we would like you to have as much love as we can get it. But for me the love of friendship adjust its is above all. What do you know for sure? I know for sure that it goes by like lightning, and you can't you can't give barely screech and grab onto it. I feel like that character grabbing under the hands of the Columbia slow down, but I ve learned for sure that all there is now there's no pass and there's no future. Really all there is now. That's all you ve got. It was great ain't. You Oprah! Thank you so much that we're not a privilege for me. I move ruined free and you ve been listening to supersede conversations the pond cast. You can follow superficial on Instagram, twitter and Facebook. If you haven't yet good apple pie,
and subscribe weight and review this plant gas join me next week for another supersede conversation. Thank you for listening for the women who brought you sugar, Emmi working, visionary filmmaker overnight and executive producer. Oprah winfried constantly went already drama series. Yours today exploring the strong relationship of one young couple: storing social, Lock, Olano Miller, Michael and a legendary Sicily Thyssen every second, every minute, every hour cherish the day, don't mr to make any real evidence on the upper Winfrey network,
Transcript generated on 2020-02-01.