post written by: Marc Chernoff

How To Walk On Water

How To Walk On Water

This past Sunday I was relaxing at the water’s edge of a local beach when a young boy ran full speed right by me and into the shallow surf.  He continuously hopped up and down as he was running forward, kicking his little legs in the air and across the surface of the water before inevitably falling face-first into the waves.  He got back up and repeated this act several times, each time with more determination than the previous attempt.  It became obvious that he was trying to run across the surface of the water.  I couldn’t help but to laugh.  His combined levels of determination and exertion were priceless.

After several attempts, he noticed my laughter and walked over to me.  “What’s so funny?” he asked.

“You remind me of me, and it makes me smile.” I said.

“Do you know how to walk on water?” he asked. “Like a superhero?”

“Well, I think I can help you out.” I said. “Let me give you a few pointers.”

Curious, the boy sat down on the sand next to me.  His mother scurried over, worried… but I reassured her that her son wasn’t bothering me.  Relieved, perhaps, to have her son sitting safely on the sand instead of flying face-first through the air, she went back to her beach chair 20 feet away and continued a conversation with another lady.

“So, you want to walk on water, eh?” I asked.  He nodded his head anxiously.

A Rough Summary of What I Told Him

  1. Make sure you were born to walk on water. – You must follow your heart, and be who you were born to be.  Some of us were born to be musicians… to communicate intricate thoughts and rousing feelings with the strings of a guitar.  Some of us were born to be poets… to touch people’s hearts with exquisite prose.  Some of us were born to be entrepreneurs… to create growth and opportunity where others saw rubbish.  And still, some of us were born to walk on water… to invent the capability of doing so.  If you’re going to walk on water, you better feel it in every fiber of your being.  You better be born to do it!
  2. Decide that nothing can stop you. – Being born to walk on water isn’t enough by itself.  We must each decide to accept our calling.  Unfortunately, most of us make excuses instead.  “But I might drown trying,” we say.  Or, “But I have a family to think about first.”  Walking on water, or doing anything that hasn’t been done before, requires absolute, unconditional dedication.  The only person who can control your level of dedication is you.  If you’re serious about walking on water, you must decide that nothing… not gravity, not a group of naysayers, NOTHING… can stop you!
  3. Work on it for real. – While many of us decide at some point during the course of our lives that we want to answer our calling… to accomplish our own version of walking on water, only an astute few of us actually work on it.  By “working on it”, I mean truly devoting oneself to the end result.  The rest of us never act on our decision.  Or, at best, we pretend to act on it by putting forth an uninspired, half-ass effort.  But to truly walk on water, you’ll have to study physics, rheology, hydrophobic substances, etc… and then you’ll have to define and redefine next-generation theories and complex hypotheses, which must be tested relentlessly.  When the tests fail, you must be ready to edit your theories and test them again.  This kind of work, the real kind, is precisely what enables us to make the impossible possible.
  4. Let the whole world know what you’re up to. – When you’re trying to walk on water, or do anything that nobody else has done before, life can get lonely pretty quickly.  To keep your motivation thriving, it’s important to let others know that you’re attempting to defeat the formerly impossible.  Don’t be shy!  Let the whole world know that you’re trying to walk on water.  No doubt, it’ll place a bit of extra pressure on your back, and you’ll almost certainly hear some laughter in the crowd.  But this kind of pressure fuels motivation, which is exactly what you’ll need to accomplish such a colossal undertaking.  And when you finally do succeed, the last bit of laughter heard will be your own.
  5. Value the people who value your ambitions. – When most people hear about your “mission impossible” aspirations, their natural reaction may be to roll their eyes, call you crazy, and tell you to quit being foolish.  But fortunately, the world is also inhabited by pioneers and believers who see the value in your dreams.  These people understand that achieving the formerly impossible is one of the greatest gifts human beings possess.  They’ll likely give you tips, bits of assistance, and the extra push you need to succeed.  These are extraordinary people, and you’ll want to surround yourself with them, because they will ultimately assist you over the hurdles and across the surface of the water.  Think of them as an influential, personal support team.  Without them, walking on water will be a far more difficult feat, if not completely impossible.
  6. Ignore the negative naysayers. – No matter how much progress you make, there will always be the people who insist that walking on water is impossible, simply because it hasn’t been done before.  Or they may incessantly suggest that the idea as a whole is utterly ridiculous because nobody really cares about walking on water anyways.  When you come across these people, don’t try to reason with them.  Instead, forget that they exist.  They will only waste your time and energy.
  7. Prepare yourself for the pain. – Even though you’re no longer mindlessly running face-first into the oncoming ocean surf, but instead forming complex theories based on the studies of rheology and fluid viscosity, it doesn’t mean you won’t experience your fair share of pain.  You’re in the business of walking on water, of doing something that has never been done before.  You’ll likely get a waterlogged, lungful of water on a regular basis.  But the pain will seem like a small price to pay when you become the first person to jog across the rapids of the Mississippi.
  8. Enjoy the pain of your greatest challenge. -  Superheroes aren’t real.  In real life nobody has ever walked on water.  But lots of people have achieved formerly impossible feats, and continue to enjoy the possibilities of new challenges.  These people will all tell you there’s nothing more gratifying than the thrill of your greatest challenge.  The inherent pains along the way are simply mile markers on your trip to the finish line.  When you finally do finish, you may actually find yourself missing the daily grind.  Ultimately, you’ll realize that pleasure and pain can be one and the same.
  9. Never give up!  Never quit! – The reason nobody has walked on water isn’t because people haven’t tried.  Remember, you just tried several times in a row, and I’m sure many others have too.  The reason nobody has succeeded is, simply, that within the scope of modern science and physics, it’s currently impossible.  But this doesn’t mean that with your help it won’t become possible in the future.  If you were born to do it and truly dedicate yourself to the end result, anything, including walking on water, is entirely possible!

Just a Chance

When we were done talking, the young boy got up and ran back over to his mother.  He pointed over to me and I smiled and waved back.  Then he said to her, “Mommy, mommy!  That guy just taught me how to walk on water!”

A few moments later she walked over to scold me for supposedly giving out reckless advice.  She told me I was giving her son a false sense of hope.  I told her all I was giving him was a chance.

Photo by: Murilo

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  • Hi Marc,

    I just wanted to say I love this story. After all, flying is harder than walking on water (I think) and we’ve already achieved that. Thanks for doing this firstly, and sharing it.

  • The kid’s mom is a fool. Well done to you for quoting the truth.

  • This is a very fine set of instructions for success, refreshingly low-on B.S, over-complication and fluff. Anybody could just read and follow these guidelines, never read any other “how to” literature again and do very well for themselves - I am sure of it.

  • I think you taught that little guy much more than “just how to walk on water.” And, I hope he proves his Mother wrong!

    This is a beautiful post and I’m going to share it with a friend who has just decided to start a new (and scary) business venture.

  • Hi Marc,
    This is a wonderful reminder to all of us that we can all “walk on water”, we just have to find that water that is uniquely meant for us. Getting there is a journey, and one that is so worth being on…

  • Thanks for the kind words all. I love reading your comments! ;-)

  • great post Marc! =) i do hope one day the little boy will turn his dream into reality!

  • I always look forward to your blog posts. As always, this one is beautifully written and gave me something to think about.

  • In the words of one of my favorite musicians and greatest mentors:

    If I was just gonna say one thing to y’all tonight…
    I’d say, set the artist free.
    I’m talking about this artist in here, set it free.
    I’m saying, quit your day job.
    Now, I know a lot of you people here, you’re saying,
    “I can’t quit my day job. I’ve got kids to feed, Jack.”
    Quit your day job.
    Focus on your craft, one time, before it’s all over,
    you’ve died, you’ve squandered it.
    Ya f****n’ Robots!

    –Jack Black, Tenacious D (Cosmic Shame)

  • “Work on it for real” - I like this pointer there! :)

  • Rock solid post and the storytelling is excellent. The confidence and dedication to making our dreams a reality is what separates the dreamers from the doers.

  • I have a good feeling what you told that boy, he’ll remember for a very long time.

  • Probably the only blog post I have actually enjoyed in ages. Well written! A nice mix of (fictional? semi-fictional? non-fictional?) parable with the simple facts of what it really takes to succeed.

  • Not only a parable of walking on water, but also of parenting. The parent should be giving the child this outlook on life, not the stranger by the shore. Great article.

  • and it ALSO makes me smile…brings back in mind, my early years.

    thank u

  • […] How To Walk On Water […]

  • I love this story and the photo that goes with it. Your advice is well taken!

  • Great story about persuing your passion and achieving what may appear to be impossible.

  • Hi Marc! I’m Celestine and I chanced by your blog from a link elsewhere. This is a great blog you have here and I just bookmarked it! I have to say I was really surprised and amazed when I saw this post because I have been meaning to write a post of the exact same topic (how to be a waterwalker) myself! I’ll be back again! :)

  • I’m posting this comment while walking on water. :)

  • […] How To Walk On Water, Marc lays out a very specific set of steps for maintaining and pursuing our life motivation.  […]

  • Great story! But, how old is it? If it was something just recent, I think the mother has no common sense, leaving her son with a stranger (I know you meant well, but still, one day someone may want something completely different). And she is a hypocrite, telling you that your giving him a false sense of hope. She is the major figure that gives a false sense in his life, and besides wouldn’t a normal person praise an other for giving their kid hope? Well, that ends my rant for the mother. I look forward to some of your other stories soon!

  • I can just imagine that boys face while you were teaching him!

    I can also imagine mad mom’s face!

    Loved this post.

  • Absolutely fantastic article! I’ve always wanted to do something like that. I wonder how that little talk will impact this kid’s life? I hope it does.


  • Wish I had met you when i was a kid! well better late than never!

  • retweeted the story forgot to make comment. Love to read wisdom anywhere!

  • Wow, Great story… …

  • How sad that no one provided the same sage advice to the mother when she was a child. I imagine the son spreading the knowledge his mother in his own way.

  • Hi Marc, thank you for sharing a very valuable story. What a beautiful thing to do…..

  • I was born to walk on water :)

    Thanks for the great post!

  • Marc,

    Wonderful story that, as a principal in a start up, just got sent around the office to inspire. Glad I found this site and the insight.. look forward to more.


  • Awesome! Thx so much for sharing! :)

  • Thanks for sharing this inspiring story. Just hope that kid remembered what you told him and uses your advice.

    I think it’s all about belief in yourself (strange that you didn’t mention it anywhere though no.2 comes close); knowing what your calling is, believing in it and going all out to make it your reality. I think that if you know what your calling is, the belief is there and you work hard to achieve your goals, the rest will simply fall into place. No one or nothing will stop you.

  • I hope you don’t mind but I loved this story so much that I had to put a link to this article on my blog.

    I’m hoping that all my friends will read it and get inspired.

    Thanks so much!

  • This is an amazing story, I’m so glad i found it! Thank you, Marc, for your wisdom.

  • Excellent article. Inspiring and insightful. ;-)

  • My favorite part about this post besides the obviously gold info in it, is the fact that you merely took the time to have a conversation with a child. This is a rare thing to see now-a-days when you can just hand them a PSP or something. Great post.


  • Here is something that I decided to share after reading this story.

    As I keep hearing from one of my AFJROTC instructor’s that has taught American History to us in High School is. “Throughout history people have always ignored the past and repeated the same mistakes, and people still do that all the time today.” “People think that history is pointless, but time and time again history has proved that people are looked down upon for trying something new, said to be impossible, and even unheard of.” “The ignorance of people is mind boggling!” “If people would look into history many of the past events never would have happened!” “This is why humanity is destined to repeat its mistakes!” “We think we can’t learn anything from the past and that we can only learn from moving forward, but we cannot learn by moving forward if people do not choose to learn from the past.”

    Then he thinks none of us is listening, but I think that most of us listen, understand, and agree with him.

    “Anything is possible if you set your mind to it.”
    - I don’t remember who this quote was by.

  • I have walked on water…
    It was probably one the greatest act of faith i ever tried in a dream.
    Here are the rules.

    1.You must believe that nothing is impossible.
    2.There must not be an iota of doubt in your mind.
    3.Any doubts or fears… you start to sink.

  • Hi Marc, you were saying about following your heart. Which one you think better, follow our heart, or lead our heart?
    Appreciate if you can nudge me when you have a chance to answer.


  • Jarrod Foreman
    July 8th, 2009 at 5:47 am

    Well, this was an interesting read. I LIKED IT REALLY A LOT.

    I didn’t totally understand how you taught the boy how to walk on water though.

  • Thanks for the motivation.

  • Hello, I was inspired by what you have written here. Mind you I don’t agree with everything you have said, but you are sure right about persistence. And actually it is quite possible to walk on water, you don’t really have to study science too much. All you have to do is get a water walking ball invented apparently by the Asians. Haven’t you heard of the water walking ball? It’s a really wonderful type of device.

  • I agree on everything except 1).
    I don’t think people are born to do things. your fate isn’t decided once you’re born.

  • Just as usual, totally unusual! :)

  • i just wanna say


  • Very cool story! No fair…..I wish I was taught that lesson as a youngin.

    Thanks and Best Wishes!

  • Great, mind changing mentoring. It’s usually common to have great abilities, but extremely challenging discovering and developing them. It’s vitally significant to be inspired by a mentor. Record has it that the correlation between discovering and development is apparent.

  • Hi Marc.
    It may seem insignificantly short and simple after your BEAUTIFULLY told gem but…
    Thank you!!!

  • This is a wonderful story. I am also a child. 11 years old. I wish to walk on water. I will never give up now!

  • I understand your point, but you may have derailed his totally legitimate attempt to run across the surface of water:

    These guys do it:

  • This is very inspiring for anyone who is chasing after their dreams. Great story, I hope it really is based on reality. Thank you!

  • Nice piece….

    I am a kid no more, but I keep on wondering really how I can walk on the water.

    I have recurring dreams about it, and it gives me a feeling of euphoria just after waking up and recalling my dream.

  • AwEsOmE :D

    thanks for sharing this touching story……now,gotta go to the beach :D

  • I tried to walk on water - my version of walking on water… and I did it! ;-)

  • Wow. I was just reduced to tears by this. Maybe I learned to walk on water before, but someone came and told me I couldn’t and I made the mistake of believing in their words instead of in myself. I don’t want to be the mom telling everyone else they can’t do it either. I want to be the little boy, and begin again learning to be a water walker. Thanks, your words really touched me today.

  • This story is so inspiring, and i have learned some tips about my own version of “walking on water” in my life. Thank you.

  • man that was awesome, reminds me of Naruto… anime character and the protagonist too…………thanks for the story……….i am enlightened alright and now i can really do something………and before reading this i went and tried to walk on water…….if not the nature supports me….science will…….thanks again

  • This is just great. I was researching anti-gravity, and decided “okay, this isn’t possible, I’ll settle for walking on water instead.” but now i think I’ll go back to anti-gravity and prove Einstein and Newton wrong! I loved the part where you said to ignore the people who don’t believe in you, pretend they don’t exist.

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