Perspective. Yesterday, I had a student diver that was debating on completing the open water course. He simply said “I can do the exercises. That’s not the problem. The problem is that I don’t like being under water. I don’t think I like scuba diving.” Hmm. I tred to sway him and tell him what a great job he did on day 1 of the pool session.
But then I thought, does he want to be convinced? Or should i lay off an just let him quit? I tried to tell him that I would do all the review skills privately and he could swim around the bottom of the pool and enjoy scuba diving without pressure. He was resistant. The more I try to be nice, the more he resisted.
The worst part was that I forgot his name. I asked him again, and he gave me a half laugh / half frustated remark. He was done. At this instance, I realized that I can’t force someone to finish a program. That’s something he needs to figure out. Maybe one day he will wake up with regret, and call the shop and finish the program. Maybe he will decide he loves to snorkel instead. Who knows.
I felt like I had failed as a divemaster.
What makes a person decide to quit something? How much time should you commit to something before deciding it sucks and it’s not worth your time? I think there are three important questions each person should ask themselves before quitting something.
- Is this something that is worth my time and effort?
- Do I have the mental strength to keep working at this to complete?
- Will I feel better accomplishing this task?
If you answer NO to all three questions, then quit. But if you answer at least one yes, I think its worth attempting to complete it.
Scuba diving isn’t for everyone, but if you already spent the money and have dedicated some time in your life to do it, what’s the harm in completing the task? I think mentally you will be a stronger person if you push yourself to finish something. For example, let’s say you sign up for scuba diving and can’t swim and are afraid of water, would you be able to pass the course? Probably not, but could you? Yes. I think you could learn to swim and slowly practice getting in the water and learning to calm your fear. Would it take longer than the usual week long course? YES. Would you feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment? Yes.
Helping this guy complete the open water course wasn’t my job. My job was to assist each student, help them learn each skill while ensuring their safety. While it was definitely worth my time and effort to help him, I couldn’t force him to do something he didn’t want to do.
So what tips can I give if you feel like quitting an open water course?
- If you are feeling panicked and stress, STOP. Don’t force yourself. There will always be another opportunity to complete a skill or retake the course. The most important thing to do is to take a break away from the water and reset your mind. Don’t force anything.
- If you don’t like being underwater. Start to think about the benefits of scuba diving. Is there any time in the rest of your life you think you might want to go under water? Will this be a bonus in your life? Do you have something better to do? Would you mind losing the money invested?
- You failed a skill. Now what? Ask if you can change to a private course and learn at your own pace. This might cost you an extra $100, but its worth taking a different course where you aren’t rush. You can ask questions, you can practice anything else. Don’t give up.
- You just don’t want to do it. Put the course on hold. Wait until you go on vacation and do a discover scuba diving (DSD). No certificate required. See if you like being underwater when there is no pressure.
And finally, this might be overkill, but Steve Harvey has a great motivational speech about how to be successful: