UAE national Adil Khalid, 23, an Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team crew member, is the first Gulf sailor in the Volvo Ocean Race. He represented the UAE in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2010 Asian Games, and beat some 120 Emirati hopefuls for a spot aboard Azzam.
1. There's no substitute for hard work. You've always got to be prepared to go the extra mile. When I first started sailing 10 years ago, my dream was to go to the Olympics, which I did in 2008. Hard work got me to Beijing and it was hard work that got me a place on the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team. Competing in this race will take nine months and be the hardest thing I have ever done. I know it will change who I am forever.
2. Pain is nothing compared to what it feels like to quit. To be the best you must never give up. There is no competition where this rings true more than the Volvo Ocean Race. There will be times where we will have been out at sea for weeks, in huge storms, having not slept for days, and we can't give up. I am representing my home out there. And the lives of others on the yacht will depend on me watching their backs, as they will watch mine - we will be interdependent. These are reasons enough for me to want to keep going.
3. You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them. Positive thinking and self-belief are useful assets for anyone, not just athletes, to have throughout life. Every day you are competing, whether against yourself or others, to be better - surely that is what it is all about?
4. Family is the compass that guides us. It is important to have a strong support network. I've raced as a soloist and within a team, so I know what both are like, but I can tell you that even when I was on my own, there were still people around me cheering me on and pushing me that extra mile. And when we are out in the Atlantic Ocean, battling 40-foot-high waves, I imagine it will be comforting to be able to think of your loved ones back home to help you through.
5. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity, said Albert Einstein. Life is a great journey and one I'll live to all its potential. If you can't enjoy it, what's the point? I try to smile whenever I can and savour all the experiences. Positive things happen to positive people.