Why the Best Things in Life Are All Backwards

There’s a part of Navy SEAL training called “drown-proofing” where they bind your hands behind your back, tie your feet together, and dump you into a 9-foot-deep pool.

Your job is to survive for five minutes.

Like most of SEAL training, the vast majority of cadets who attempt drown-proofing fail. Upon being tossed into the water, many of them panic and scream to be lifted back out. Some struggle until they slip underwater where they proceed to lose consciousness and have to be fished out and resuscitated. Over the years, a number of trainees have even died during the exercise.

But some people make it. And they do so because they understand two counterintuitive lessons.

The first lesson of drown-proofing is paradoxical: the more you struggle to keep your head above water, the more likely you are to sink.

With your arms and legs bound, it’s impossible to maintain yourself at the surface for the full five minutes. Even worse, your limited attempts to keep your body afloat will only cause you to sink faster. The trick to drown-proofing is to actually let yourself sink to the bottom of the pool. From there, you lightly push yourself off the …