Contra Nando Incrementum: “There is growth by swimming against the stream


Even a Dead Fish Can Swim Downstream

In searching for my family line, I arrived in a small town in the heart of the United Kingdom; Peebles, Scotland. This unassuming town on the banks of the River Tweed has a population of around 8,000 people and doesn’t seem like much other than being a tourist destination known for its hydro hotels and historic buildings. While I’ve never been to Peebles--other than a quick visit through Google Maps if that counts—I am in love with one aspect of the town; its coat of arms.


The coat of arms for Peebles is three salmon on a red field. Two of the salmon are facing one direction while the other is facing the opposite direction. The inscription on the coat of arms states, Contra Nando Incrementum, Latin for “There is growth by swimming against the stream (Wikipedia).”


Contra Nando Incrementum

Years ago, I wrote a book called the Art of Accomplishment and I discussed Salmonic action. Here is a segment from that book:



Never heard of Salmonic Action? That’s because I made the

term up, but I’ll share where it came from.


Are you familiar with the salmon? Salmon are saltwater fish.

They are born in freshwater, migrate to the ocean, then return to

freshwater to reproduce. They overcome amazing barriers to reach

their goal. They face horrendous predators, devastating waterfalls,

body-destroying diseases, and unearthly strong currents. They are

relentless in their pursuit even in the face of so much danger. The

salmon will stop at nothing to reach its destination.


An amazing piece of information about these fish is that they

can lie motionless for any amount of time in the strongest current.

They will not so much as wiggle a fin, and they won’t move. If

alarmed, on the other hand, they dart at lightning speed upstream

against the current instead of allowing themselves to be carried

downstream by it, which would seem to be more natural.


What do salmon have to do with you? In the face of many

challenges when pursuing your goals, you have an opportunity to

charge headstrong into the adversity or float downstream. Someone

once said to me that even a dead fish can float downstream.


In difficult times, most people jump ship and swim or float like

a dead fish with the current. Those who stand firm will see the

possibilities that are available in the face of so much fear and

negativity because they will be ready to charge forward at lightning

speed to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise. Are you

one of those that charges forward at lightning speed?


In place of succumbing to the power of negative thoughts, you

could charge forward through the thoughts to the intended goal.


Like the salmon, when we are presented with a challenge we get

to charge into it. The key to progress in difficult times is committed

action: Action at lightning speed beyond the setback. What does it

take to move forward when fear strikes? It takes courage, clarity of

purpose, trust, and passion.


When the crowd or your mind is running in the opposite

direction, it is up to you to stand firm and, at the sight of

opportunity, charge forward into success. There will be times when

you don’t see the opportunities before you. Your forward action

will make those opportunities clear and bring about the rewards.


When I was selling real estate, I remember one bitterly cold

winter in particular. I hadn’t sold a home for what seemed like an

eternity, and things were getting extremely difficult. I had no clients

and no prospects. I had known for some time that when I take

committed, lightning-speed action, creation steps in and fills in the

gaps. I determined I would go out in the dead of that obscenely

cold winter and knock on doors. I had no idea if it would work or

be a complete waste of time.


While everyone was comfortably warm in their homes on that

frigid day, I was out trekking through the knee-high snow from

door to door. I must have looked more like an Eskimo than a real

estate agent, yet the people were kind enough to let me in. I

gathered a lot of names that day, and not one of those was ready to

work with me. When I got home that night I felt like an utter

failure. That same evening my phone rang. One of my past clients

asked me if I would like to represent their friend in the sale of their

home. I emphatically said, “Yes!”


I gained a client that day. It came because I was willing to step

blindly into the unknown regardless of the outcome. I think that

because of my action, that client called me.


We may not know what the results of our actions will be. It is

not up to us to know the mechanics or the how’s. It is up to us to

know, that by our committed action, the results we seek will come.


We get to take action. This key to your success will push you forward into the actualization of your goals as you originally

intended them.


Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will

delineate and define you. - Thomas Jefferson


Thank you, Charlie Orsburn for the prompt.

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