Ambivalence of the environment

Alexander Lyadov
2 min readSep 23, 2022


Phil Roberts

People with different professions, aspirations and achievements, as well as from different social strata, come to the pool. As they take off their clothes, they erase it all from themselves like a pencil eraser. Wearing a swimming cap, swim trunks and goggles, they look like creatures of another species whose function, at least temporarily, is to exist in an aquatic environment.

Here very specific skills are of value, and all other “assets” — money, acquaintances, status or knowledge from other spheres — become superfluous or even drag them to the bottom. The person finds himself alone with an environment that is alien to him, and therefore hostile. As soon as one makes a mistake, breathes liquid instead of air, the body is filled with panic: “I’m drowning! SOS!”. Of course, there are swimmers on nearby lanes, and somewhere above is a coach. So everyone gets rescued in time. But the amygdala doesn’t care about that, it senses the real danger correctly. Everyone must learn to survive in this strange environment by himself. Otherwise, water will kill a man — either instantly, when he falls overboard once, or gradually, due to fear, which pushes him to avoid lakes and rivers.

But when the problem of survival is solved, then the hitherto hostile environment opens its other, benevolent side. It turns out that water gives a unique in its uniformity load on the whole body, is a kind of meditation, and, according to the senses, a person comes out of it renewed. For a good swimmer, the phrase “like a fish in water” may not use the word “like,” for it is true. It no longer matters whether he succeeds on land, whether he graduated from Stanford, or whether he limps when he walks. Water accepts man as he is, but on one condition — he is willing to interact with his environment in a humble, efficient and harmonious way.

Replace the water in the text with the market and the swimmer with the entrepreneur. The comparison illustrates why one gets choked by the first wave, while the other turns all change to good.

Sincerely yours,


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Alexander Lyadov

As a business therapist, I help tech founders increase the value of their business by unlocking the potential of their personality.