• What A Near-Death Experience Taught Me

    in Personal Blog,Self-Improvement

    I jumped in.

    Ferociously paddling my arms and legs like I had observed the other children doing, I tried to get back above water but nothing happened. I just sank deeper and deeper.

    As I looked up, all I could see was dozens of legs kicking… and… blue water.

    Water gushed through my nose and mouth; my ears now flooded. I paddled incessantly for dear life. Surely someone could see me.

    10 seconds passed… 20 seconds… 30 seconds… 40 seconds… a minute.

    I was only 7 years old – but a mature one – and I knew what came next. I thought this was the end of my short little life.

    I started thinking about my mom, sister, grandma… my friends. I’d never see any of them again. Then I started blaming myself for following the other kids into the pool, knowing I had never swam a day in my life — outside of a blow-up pool — prior to this.

    And then it happened.

    I felt this body grab ahold of me, lifting me up to the top. This older girl had spotted me making motions in the deep water longer than expected and came to my rescue. She saved my life.

    After that, I just remember choking and gasping for air and a bunch of staff from the summer camp circling me.

    Apparently, no one had explained to me there was a very shallow 3 ft end and a very deep 12ft end. And having never really been to a huge public swimming pool like this, I honestly had no idea how it worked. All I saw was kids having fun and everybody moving freely so I went along.

    To what detail they explained the event to my mother, I don’t recall, but I do remember waking up in her arms that night.

    I would sleep walk a lot and usually act out anything that was bothering me. I could never hold a secret because it would come out sooner or later, unbeknownst to me, in my sleep. That particular night, my mom says I was swimming up the wall. I was literally acting like I was drowning and making arm motions against the wall beside my bed.

    Indeed a scary moment earlier on in my life but it taught me a few things.

    Til’ this day, I ask a lot of questions… especially when I’m new to something. I even ask a million questions while watching movies and my wife hates it. She’s learned to simply ignore me during movies but it doesn’t stop me from asking repeatedly.

    I’ve learned to never “jump” into situations without being prepared. Whether it’s on the keyboard or in the boardroom, all the same.

    In anything I do, I seek the right instruction and advice before doing it. For example, I’ve been learning golf for the last 6 months and the first thing I did was seek the professional lessons of a PGA instructor who teaches the REAL stuff I need to know. I didn’t want to just jump into the situation blindly just because I could.

    I am very cautious of following the “crowd.” In fact, I believe any “crowd” is usually wrong. Do the opposite of what most people do and you’ll probably be right.

    That’s why you may sense a contrarian edge to a lot of my teachings. I don’t care how they teach it in the big-whig conservatories… I’m going to teach you the most practical way to understand it, even if I’ve got to come up with silly memory aids and mnemonics like “Why Won’t He Wear White When Hot” to help you remember the “whole step / half step” formula for major scales! That’s how I roll!

    And it’s been that way for the longest. While other 12 year olds were playing their Gameboys, I was out selling stationery and Avon products (yup, Avon products!). In college, I was writing a 300pg workbook and recording dvds while others in my suite were partying with their respective fraternities every week.

    At a young age, I married and got a head start on raising a happy family… most of my high school and college buddies are still doing the “young” thing. I don’t know if following the kids into the deep end that one dreaded summer day prompted all this but there’s no question this is the way I am.

    On another note, do you take time to learn from your experiences? The good, bad, and ugly? Do you look for the lessons in your shortcomings? Teaching moments? The messages in your defeats? How and why you are the way you are?

    Well, that’s all I have for you today.

    Until next time.

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Hi, I'm Jermaine Griggs, founder of this site. We teach people how to express themselves through the language of music. Just as you talk and listen freely, music can be enjoyed and played in the same way... if you know the rules of the "language!" I started this site at 17 years old in August 2000 and more than a decade later, we've helped literally millions of musicians along the way. Enjoy!

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.



    { 75 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Devin

    Great post Jermaine. Many times I feel the same way about asking questions. I’ve seen what can happen when you ask the right questions. I’m going to take some time to reread the post and really let it soak in. I can relate on the whole “young” thing. I’m around your age and have been married for 6 years. This year I’m serious about taking my playing to another level on the keys and about moving my business in the right direction as well. Thanks for a wonderful way to kick off the week.


    2 wendy

    great stuff thanx 4 sharin this…
    thanx 2 our heavenly father 4 abundance of grace… he certainly has been pourin it out on you… & now it overflows 2 us… wot a blessin :)


    3 Jo

    Wow, Jermaine. What a frightening and moving story! I love how you connected it to your way of approaching life, learning, and teaching.


    4 sheh cara

    Hey Jermaine. Awesome post there. Really innspiring too. I do believe its important to learn from our experiences…and mostly the things that go wrong. Thanks so much for that story…it made interesting read. God bless you.


    5 keith

    Thanks for sharing this Jermaine. At times I’ve question myself for being different from the ‘crowd’. But this has encouraged me that it’s ok to be ‘me’ especially when i know i am doing the right thing and even when creating my own signature stuff! God bless


    6 ray

    there is nothing wrong not making a quick decision and making the right decision you have learnt from your mistake some people dont and keep on making bad decisions thanks for sharing this hopefully it will help some one


    7 Tope

    Experience is truly the best teacher.


    8 Max

    I made the same mistake on my 1st pool visit, and I was with 4 adults. But I managed to scramble to the edge and climb out before anyone noticed. The lesson I learned was that God is good. Thanks for your lessons.


    9 Bernadette

    I had a similar experience, so I really feel you on this one. I actually knew the dangers but decided to hold on to the side of the pool. After a couple minutes, someone came by and stepped on my hands. I was rescued by a lifeguard. It changes how you look at things and I never thought about why I am the way I am until you explained this. I am cautious about a lot of things. I have been told by potential employers they like the fact I don’t always do what the crowd does to feel good or make an extra buck. It doesn’t take away from the zest of life for me or those who I encounter.

    Thanks for sharing and giving me some insight.


    10 Alvarez

    Jermaine, your stories are so interesting ! So, I encourage you to write a book about your life or something like that,because not only you have a talent for music, but also you have a knack for writing and talking…
    I believe that other people, apart from musicians , can benefit from your stories and good advices…
    Thanks a lot ! Keep up the good work !


    11 Jermaine Griggs

    Thank you Alvarez! I appreciate it. I’ve been wanting to write a book for years and I have many ideas. In fact, I have one concept I’m working on now. My other buddies, Ephren Taylor, Ben Casnocha, Cameron Johnson, have all written books. I haven’t. :-(. So, it’s overdue. Thanks for encouragement.


    12 Lynn Phimsoutham

    Amazing insight. So simple a lesson that could have been overlooked. I’m twice your age, and your post and wisdom was just what I needed to read at this time. May God continue to Bless you.


    13 Irvine

    Its amazing how those early experiences in our lives molds the person we become.
    I had a similar experience as a ten year old, but never really made the connection
    that that is the reason why I am always cautious about jumping into situation.
    Great story, I like how you used the story to get your message across.
    “How and why we are the way we are}


    14 ruth

    thank you for this meaningful and insightful post.


    15 Margaret

    Very interesting story Jermaine; It also reminds me of a certain conviction when I hear/read stories like these – “that when God is not ready to take someone home, the worse could happen and the most that person could say, is that they were close to death”. But the lessons you have learnt are very good ones even for those of us who have read the story to put into practice. Enjoy your life, and keep up the good work/s that God has created you for on this earth.


    16 Joe

    i had a similar experience. Cool stuff for enlightment hope ;-) Stay blessed


    17 Andre'

    Brother I had the exact same experience once at a water park some years ago, I am in my older age and I can still see this incident as if it was yesterday, life and death is surely an experience. I caught myself following others because it liked fun. Much earlier then that incident it happen to me at a pool party and I almost died than. God Bless


    18 Tamara

    Wow Jermaine, I don’t have many friends for the same reason… The people that are around my age that I used to hang out with in high school are still “hanging out” I too almost drowned… I was a little older though… 9. My parents took me and my sisters to this pool where there was a water slide. After I slid down the slide, I dropped in the pool rather quickly and had a hard time getting back up, but as the life guard was coming to get me, I found my way up. I thank God for you sharing your experiences with us, I assure you, it’s NOT a waste of time.


    19 Neal

    Dear Germaine:

    Inspirational, as ever! Though not the point of your parable, I hope you went on to learn how to swim and you are teaching your children this fun and vital skill. It is surprising the number of big-city kids and adults who cannot swim well enough to even reach the edge of a pool or body of water.



    20 bishop

    thanks Jermaine very good u really are a cool guy again thanks very interesting story


    21 Jim Brohman

    Thank you Jermaine for sharing your stories.


    22 Reginald Donel

    Thanks for this very enlightening post and thank God for You still being among us after all of that….

    Being in the Know – before you go – is extremely important!!! Boy Scout’s Motto “Be Prepared”


    23 Coetta

    This was a great testimony , it really help me. Jermaine you are a great motivater. I am glad God brought you into my life. Thank you, for all you do.


    24 Morris

    Thank God you survived Jermaine. It was a great decision for God to keep you around for GMTC and our sakes. Be blessed.


    25 Linda

    Thank you for your inspirational message!!!

    And, I also think you should write a book(s).



    26 Clement Williams

    the same thing happen to me I remember so well being lifted out of that situation the rescue moment helpless but rescued – My question is what about the girl who saved you?


    27 Eresmas

    I identify with situation too. I was once drowning and somehow, I just grappled at a pal and got saved in that way. We were swimming in a river and a there would be crocodiles as the river progressed, but I thank god for the salvation. This, however, has not stopped me from learning to swim, it has just made me more cautious in everything I do. I thank God for many other seemingly unpleasant experiences that shaped my way of thinking and doing things. May God bless you all.


    28 BJ

    It is so awesome how bad experiences help mold us to what God intended for us all along. I am so glad that it taught you to always ask questions. I’ve heard that brillance is in the questions that we ask. Jesus ask Peter the question “who do you say that I am”? And the response is the bedrock of Christianity today. KEEP ASKING, KEEP SEEKING, KEEP KNOCKING……the door will be open unto you!


    29 kate

    loved your very relevant comment BJ. a few years ago i was out in the lake with my good friend (??) and i began drowning 1 1/2 feet away from her. just as i was going down for the third time ( I could see a group of people on the shore staring at us in horror) i got one last little burst of energy and reached the air mattress. Whoa! my friend never did answer why she didn’t help me. actually, your quote from the Gospel was exceptionally acute. Thanks! kate


    30 Thomas Wollersen

    Jermaine, I like your story about your mistake of jumping into the water at the deep end like all the other kids. It reminds me of an idea of my old piano teacher, Nadine Deletaille, who told me that I should see mistakes as a gift! Although we do not like too much making mistakes, the gift is that they contain lessons for us to discover. Trying to avoid mistakes by all means is probably very unrealistic. The important thing is that we accept the gift and figure out what it teaches us. I have come to love mistakes (not too many) but at least some to help me progress. Being afraid of making mistakes would make it very hard to do anything at all. I agree with you that one should not reinvent the wheel, but unfortunately there are many things you can only learn by doing it yourself. After all, babies probably do not take walking lessons. They have to figure out by themselves how their body and nervous system works even if this means they get up and fall many times. Learning musical instruments is very much the same. You need to figure out what it means in your body and with your nervous system.
    There is also the idea that the Titanic sank because its captain was too experienced but his experience was not relevant to the situation. I mean it’s good to know how we became the way we are, know our limitations and allow ourselves to step out of the familiar frame, taking the risk of making mistakes which leads to new experience.

    All this being said, I find your work very inspiring. I had never worked with flashcards before and it really helps to master this tedious stuff in no time at all.

    If you look to my website you’ll find a beautiful old house in the Loire Valley in France which I try to sell and quit my job in order to devote all of my time to music (piano but also many other instruments and singing).



    31 Marilyn Dailey

    That was truly a lesson to be learned if you learn from it. If we don’t remember our mistakes we are doomed to repeat them. They may be worse the second time around. Your memory was very moving.


    32 Jacob

    Thank you for this great advice. It was a very brillant lesson. You are blessed with multiple of talents. God is with you and you continue helping people, sharing ideas, being faithful, understandable, knowledgeable. I am looking for the writing of your book. You have everything you need, good luck. God is the author of your faithful. Jacob


    33 Min. Faith Pittman

    I like this post very much. We are to always not follow the crowd but follow GOD’S lead…Do ask questions…Especially when it comes to lives journey…GOD Bless You and keep you…Thanks for videos.


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    38 Susan Hugger

    Wow, that was very interesting. I’m reading information on ( Near Death Experience ) NDE. What I got out of it was “Love”. God so love us, that we don’t have a clue. Just when you think you got it all together; He shows you something different. I started playing the piano with one finger, for the church I attended in Texas. That taught me that we really have to trust God, and not man. I’m still growing. I want to learn more, and do more. I Thank you for what you are doing. The first lesson I looked at the Holy Spirit had shown it to me. I said wow what a revelation. This story can get long. I just can’t tell you enough about the goodness of God. Your experience taught you a lot. Lol


    39 nimrod

    that is a good massage man,it opened my eyes even more,thanks a lot.i will not jump into things from 2day


    40 Lynn

    Thanks for sharing your experience. God has the master plan for your life.


    41 Oriokot

    This is what they call “a great learning experience”. Jermaine it was tight


    42 JP

    Thanks Jermaine, your story and advice was yet again outstanding. I never really take things the long way round, I’m always the first to jump in head-first, so thanks for a superb lesson!


    43 jared

    Good one . . .
    When all the lemmings are jumping in the deep end,
    you’ll be in the shallow end remembering
    that you were saved for stuff such as this!


    44 betty l wigggins

    I would like the address jermainegriggs@hearand play in order to complete my order by mail. thanks. I have my form ready to go.


    45 Anjeelah L.

    Another great one Jermaine, and it hits me close to heart because I as well am not only a contrarian, and, as well I am perhaps overly cautious. Most of the time works out well for me, so can relate. And I’m so glad you made it through that day. You’ve been a blessing to so many people and to me.


    46 tebogo

    what a powerful message don’t know what to say but all i can say is may god bless you and your family and continue to bless us with your skills.


    47 Erry

    i was amazed while reading this story Jermaine. thanks a lot for sharing! May God continue to bless you, your family and your ministry.


    48 Rhema

    “Don’t jump into situations without being prepared…just because you could…” that indeed is a lesson for life.


    49 Debbie

    Very inspiring, I can see where God is in your life. Thank you for the opportunity learn from you. I also want to thank you for the birthday card you sent me. I never get any from anyone else. Thank you, again, because I really appreciated it.


    50 nii



    51 God'swill

    thanks !!!
    I think i’d meet you by this time in my life for a purpose. Thanks so much, and may God lead you to higher grounds!


    52 samuel

    Mr Griggs, you have just done it again.what! what a powerful, insightful and inspiring piece you’ve got. I love it.more Grace.


    53 deborrah yearwood

    Thank you for sharing this .I needed to hear this at this time. May God continue to use you to be a blessing to us.


    54 kate

    you never cease to amaze me Mr jermaine briggs, you are so multidimensional and fascinating. Thanks for mentioning that your marriage contributes greatly to your fulfilling life, so many people think of relationships , especially marriage, as another disposable thing because they are too lazy or selfish to work at it. I wrote you before about the fact that you must be a very hard worker, and you constantly demonstrate your eagerness to share and improve. Now how canya not love a guy like that? kate bazner


    55 Beloved

    I am really inspired by this story Jermaine, thank you so much for sharing.


    56 sofia roferes

    I praise God for your wonderful sharing. Indeed in life there are events and experiences that will help us . We will learn from them more than studies or seminars. Thanks for being so good and kind. Praying for you.


    57 phinehas

    well said, Germaine! it cant be any better


    58 Dwight

    Dear Jermaine:

    Great article. I ask questions all the time: Why? When? For what reason, did God have a hand in this one? Does God what me to do the same? Am I messing up? etc, etc. and firmly believe that our Lord talks to us in certain situations. More often times than not, the majority simply do not listen. But thanks for an inspiring article and hopefully not only me but others can learn from it.



    59 Brindia

    Thanks for sharing story about being almost out of here the reason i dont check out about dont have a keyboard to practice on but im going to try and get one im a songwriter and i know the melodies to my songs but cant write notes or play so maybe ill get to get another keyboard then i can learn from
    You thank you the Lord sent someone to save you at the right time
    I have some experiences im writing a book like 2pages about thru a christian book
    Thanks Brindia Huff


    60 Zoans

    U know the same thing happened to me.very similar and there was some terrible effects.but thanks for the post and how to be prepared before ‘jumping’ into situations


    61 Zoans

    I was younger though


    62 william. spells

    What a inspired story.it is those dark moments that teaches us about the true meaning of life and enables yo gain a greater perspective about what’s most valuable


    63 johnson

    Thanks Jermaine, this is really a heart touching story. keep the good work up


    64 king solomon

    Griggs is a good philosopher, keep it up. ur are a role model.


    65 Samuel

    Thanks Papa for this share


    66 David kyei

    Wow sir Jermaine, tears flushes my eyes as i read this post. Ive really learnt alot from it. Thank you for your passion and commitment. I really appreciate it.



    hi mr, griggs, god loves u , he has a plan for u, he saved ur for millions of people to benefit form ur music lessons, u will live to be 100 years,


    68 David Brakes

    Thank you Jermain for sharing your experience.


    69 Arvindo

    Hi Mr Griggs

    I think this article is really helpfull, and it’s based in a true story. Good ideas shared as well as walking truth the nice experience.


    70 Robert

    What a marvelous and miraculous testimony Sir


    71 Michael

    Thank you for the great and inspiring life story Jermaine! I was lucky to have friends drop me a few hints and one Grand Mother who told me about the 1, 4, 5. I am 70 and I have learned one most valuable thing and that is to never stop…


    72 Angela M. Williams

    Thank you for continually sharing your thoughts and stories because they help me break the mental and emotional glass ceilings that stand between me and my goals of playing any song in any key in the next 8 months.


    73 Andon Semerdzhiev

    Great writing story, you must have become a writer also, not only musician! I cannot understand to the end, because I cannot swim, I never learned and I hope never to have to! This is not “stuff” in any case, wonderfully grabbing your mind you have!


    74 John Mullins

    Always look forward to your weekly sage advice. May have to change your name to Coach Sage!!
    Sometimes diving in is a good thing and not over analyze. However, music, GOLF, and many other things require Sage Advice and tutoring.

    Thank you again for your weekly message.


    75 Shakira Cozart

    Thanks for telling your story. You had great purpose for your life, As you stated, that experience brought you to were you are.


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