Check the interview with the skydiving legend and five times gold medalist, Stephane Fardel. He has more than 23.000 jumps! Let’s see what he has to say about fear.
A week ago, in Évora, the dropzone of Skydive Portugal (https://skydiveportugal.pt/), I had the pleasure to talk and jump with a legend of skydiving and freeflying, Stephane Fardel (See more about Stephane and his team: https://www.babylon-freefly.com/#team). When I meet people like him, professionals of extreme sports, right away I want to know if they could mastered the feeling of fear and how they did it. Stephane, for example, talks about sharpening the senses and developing concentration, which has helped him during all his life.
Being a practicioner of radical sports myself I always thought that facing fear in these activities developed some of my competences and my positive attitude towards life. I feel that the rush of skydiving is so powerful that makes me feel alive and grateful for being alive. Most people don’t event remember they are alive. On the other hand, some people around me, family, just think I am an adreline junky and there is nothing to learn and that I am risking my life for nothing. I guess not. However I need some evidence to support my reasoning. So I started on a quest to find out more about fear and these risky activities.
Recently I read an interesting article titled “Adrenaline Rush: Adventure, Stress, and Extreme Sports” from the author Lane Wallace dated March 2009 (http://nomapnoguidenolimits.com/2009/03/29/adrenaline-rush/). The article is more about possible psychological and/or physiological differences in those who practice risky activities, such as skydiving and base jumping. I want to understand if these risk takers can develop some competences and change their attitude towards life from practicing these activities. So I want to focus on the “facing fear” aspect of it and if they enjoy life better than others.
Some of the corporate trainings I facilitate, like Firewalking, Glasswalking and Trust Fall, involve facing fear and somehow reproduce in lower level the feeling I have when I am at airplane door or droping a big wave. That feeling of the adrenaline rush, heart pumping fast, dry mouth, sweating hands, big eyes, looking scared. Everytime I walk on fire I feel that again. I feel alive, the same feeling I have when skydiving, riding a dirt bike or surfing bigger waves. When I practice these activities I feel grateful and I feel that I can connect and enjoy the present moment with less speculation.
I advocate that learning how to control the fear and this state of adrenaline rush will open doors to you. Fear is everywhere, for example, fear of rejection, fear of public speaking, fear of job change, fear of investing, fear of saying the truth to someone, etc. There are different levels of fear of course, but they are all the same thing. I assume controlling the fear for skydiving and other risky activities may give you an edge of courage to follow your dreams and stop with the excuses. My research just started, let’s see where it is going to take me and if can convince anybody.