While often mistaken for a “thrill ride,” skydiving is so much more. Yes, there is undoubtedly a thrilling aspect to the activity, but to assume this is the extent of its value would be a superficial assessment. For the majority of people, the experience of skydiving is a transformative one and, in our humble opinion, there are quite a few life lessons to be learned from skydiving.
Fear is a powerful emotion but, thanks to modern developments and typically cushy lifestyles, it’s a feeling we may not encounter frequently. This lack of familiarity means we tend to be ill-equipped to deal appropriately with the emotion. Skydiving can help. This is what skydiving taught me about fear.
You might come into skydiving assuming you have to keep your emotions under lock and key. Surrounded by these daredevils who jump from perfectly good airplanes day in and out, you worry you’ll embarrass yourself by letting on that, frankly, you’re afraid of this skydiving thing.
One of the big lessons skydiving can teach us is that it’s okay to be afraid. We weren’t born with wings, and this skydiving thing can be downright unsettling. And, ya know what? It’s OKAY! Oh, and as for those tough daredevils, they were once in the very same boat that you are.
Honestly, fear gets a bad rap. It’s seen as the big, bad wolf of all the emotions. However, if managed, it’s fairly innocuous. By acknowledging your fear, you can face it.
The notion that you need to be unafraid is a slightly foolish one. Fear, historically and evolutionarily speaking, has served a vital role. Namely, it kept us alive!
The catch is not allowing fear to take control. Instead, you must maintain the ability to act calmly and rationally, even in situations that have the potential to evoke great intensity. At first, it may not be that easy to do, but – especially with skydiving – the more you do it the more comfortable and confident you become. Skydiving teaches that eliminating fear isn’t the objective … transcending fear is.
Particularly when it comes to getting your USPA A License, skydiving will teach you quite a bit about persistence. Personally, when I set out to get my skydiving license back in 2015, I really had no idea just how much I had left to learn — not just about skydiving (although, there was certainly quite a bit to learn there as well) but about overcoming challenges with patience. Here’s a little of what skydiving taught me about persistence.
While I wish I could say I passed through AFF with flying colors, that simply wouldn’t be the truth. I started off strong enough, but as I progressed and the skydiving maneuvers became more difficult, I hit a few bumps in the road. Skydiving taught me a valuable lesson about persistence. You might not always be a natural, and that’s okay. What matters is if you’re willing to strive to be better: to come back humbled, but not beaten.
The thing about skydiving is that it is a continually evolving sport. This means there’s always another ceiling to reach and another, more difficult, goal to attain. While working toward your skydiving license, you may think you can rest on your laurels once you’re done. Boy, is that wrong!
You’ll find out there’s a B license, a C license, a D license, a Coach rating, a Pro Rating, a Tandem Rating, and an AFF rating. You’ll learn that there is plenty more to do using the relative work skills you developed through your initial progression. Take for example big ways, where jumpers exit from multiple aircraft to build one massive formation. You’ll eventually uncover that there are also other disciplines to explore like freeflying, angle, or wingsuiting. Oh, and don’t forget, there is even a competitive side to skydiving.
Once you’ve unearthed the endless possibilities, it can be a little overwhelming. You just have to be persistent. Along the way, you’ll realize that your goals can and should evolve as you grow.
This might sound a little grandiose, but it’s the truth: skydiving can teach you a thing or two about life. Here’s the nitty-gritty of what skydiving taught me about life.
Trust is a big deal in skydiving. During every skydive, there are several touch points at which you have to exercise trust. Just think about it: you have to trust the person who packs your parachute, the instructor you jump with, and even, the pilot flying the aircraft. Because of past experiences, the ability to trust comes more easily to some than others. However, in both life and skydiving, you have to be able to let go of a little control and trust someone else. Humans simply weren’t built to go it alone. The good news is the more you practice trusting others the easier it gets.
This idea of trust also extends to the self. You have to trust that you are capable of making the right choice (i.e. exiting the airplane) and able to handle the skydive (which, spoiler alert, you totally are!).
This little skydiving tidbit is downright enlightening. Skydiving, like other experiences in life, isn’t always going to be sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes, things will be tough. In skydiving, it might be dialing in your landing or just pushing past exit fear. In life, it might be a strained work life balance or mounting responsibilities. No matter the particular hiccup, skydiving teaches us that even when things may be tough, it’s important to relax and to try to enjoy the ride. When it comes to improving perspective, a little fun can go a long way.
What will skydiving teach you? Schedule a jump and find out first hand!
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