One of my most stressful events ever? This Saturday, I jumped out of a perfectly functional little airplane. My jump was very successful: I was well-balanced during freefall and I made a soft landing with the parachute. I’m proud of my achievement. The point I want to make today: I deliberately made that happen, by the way I prepared. You can do it too, no matter how stressful a challenge is coming up.
How? Two parts.
Part 1 – The learning
The whole morning and a part of the afternoon was instructions. How the equipment works, how to release your parachute and open your reserve. Distinguishing a problem you can correct from one that requires the reserve. And so on… A lot of information, especially since you couldn’t try these things out for obvious reasons. It was dry, theoretical.
What did I do? Everything I could come up with! Every movement shown, I repeated 10 times, not just in my mind but with my hands. I imagined the actual situation as clearly as I could. I asked loads of questions. For example, when the instructor said “regularly look at your altimeter”, I asked “is that more or less every 5 seconds or every minute or…?” That was one of the more stupid questions, but it came up for a good reason: I was subconsciously trying to figure out how fast time runs during the jump. And you know what? I didn’t give a damn if my questions were stupid. It was good for the learning process, not just mine but everyone else’s too.
My advice: when in a course, ask and imagine. Ask a lot of questions, imagine the situation. Don’t give a damn about the impression you make. Be a pain in the instructor’s back if you must, but… always on the topic. Only on the topic.
Part 2 is for my next post. Take care!