Waste of a Perfectly Good Airplane

skydiving This all started innocently enough. I shot a funny video making fun of Peter Shankman. He, in turn, called me out, challenging me to go skydiving with him before the end of August. There’s $1000 in charity money on the line here: he pays if I go, and I pay if he goes. See. People call me out using charity all the time. It’s my heel.

I’m not especially afraid of heights, but I fly every few days. I have vivid visions of planes coming apart. The scene in Fight Club is probably the closest to what I think about every time I’m on a plane. I’m more afraid of sharks and ticks, to be honest. But I once fell off a phone pole in January while still working for the phone company (well, bounced down the pole from 22 feet up, getting paint-stirrer sized splinters in my thighs on the way down). That kinda made me a little more “aware” of heights.

So why jump?

Because I’m afraid. Afraid enough.

I’m afraid of lots of minor things in life: confrontation, my own faults, not working hard enough, things like that. You know what tackling a big fear is going to do to those small fears?

And frankly, I’m still way too heavy. I’ve had a small victory with my weight (20 pounds gone), but I’m stuck not doing enough to move the needle further. Losing enough weight to meet the weight requirements for jumping (whatever those are) is a good motivator. It’s an audacious goal.

Why jump? Because I am not on the sidelines in this life. One of my 2 most favorite books of 2010 is A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by Donald Miller. It’s about the importance of living your life as if you’re the main character in an important story.

Oh, and because Kat said I could.

This post isn’t about jumping out of a plane. It’s about tackling whatever seems impossible. It turns out that the most successful people in life make this a habit. As I’d love to be successful, I’m on it.

You?

Oh, and here’s how I teased Peter (shot by Becky Johns):

Photo credit The U.S. Army

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  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    All great advice. I will probably paint the sky.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    I've given that some thought. That might be the smarter thing. I've also offered to drop a Great White Shark out of a plane. : )

  • http://twitter.com/Huxley Stephen Johnson

    I smiled at this post for a few reasons. Firstly, at your beautifully transparent and vulnerable take on what challenges you in life… your passion to be a better man and to not necessarily accept what life dishes up (btw your heel is not so bad ;) This subsequently led me to your book review of 'A Million Miles In A Thousand Years' which I have just purchased. Thank you, I'm really looking forward to reading it. Secondly, whilst I don't share your fear of flying I fell off the roof of my home in March following a freak storm, sustaining horrendous injuries to my foot. My recovery has been long and trying, grinding my usually hectic life to a halt and causing me to entirely refocus. Hence, I am learning grace and patience through relying on others in a way which I haven't needed to before. This frustratingly introspective hiatus has made me acutely aware of how my life has/is playing out and that I have the power to change the story. It's the little things we take for granted which seem to have the biggest impact. I count my blessings everyday that I have this opportunity… and that I'm not worse off (like, dead :)

  • http://nathanhangen.com/blog Nathan Hangen

    I've done it twice from an airplane like that, and it was the most intense and adrenaline rushed day of my life. Loved it.

    In the military we jump all the time, but it's with a static line and it's not nearly as fun.

    Do it and love it :)

  • http://www.doitmyselfblog.com GlendaWH

    I love it, Chris! There's nothing like doing something that completely scares the poop out of you to change your outlook on life – http://www.doitmyselfblog.com/2010/climbing-uni…. I can't wait to see your video!

  • http://twitter.com/StaceyKann Stacey Kannenberg

    I am sure Peter will set you up with a tandem jump, I am deathly afraid of heights but for some reason when the door opens at 10,000 feet, the rush takes over and that fear was gone for me during all three of my tandem jumps. The freefall is an incredible experience and the silence after the cord has been pulled is simply breath-taking. If you decide to jump, may you soar!

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  • http://nothingbutsocnet.blogspot.com/ Zena Weist

    I am terrified of heights and I jumped (not tandem) – on my own with a static line. So I would up the stakes and say you should try static line at least. Because I am truly the biggest wimp and if I can static line jump, you surely can. I promise you will love it.

    And for charity even – that's the icing on the cake. Facing your heights fear is beyond liberating…The free fall is insane, the chute yanking you as it opens so you feel like you are pulled 50 feet up is beyond words and then the floating on air…and gliding to met the horizon is a “stillness of self/who am I amid all this beauty?” zen moment you will crave – p r o m i s e!

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    hich reminds me of the pesky 10 I am still holding on to, kind of like a security blanket

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  • http://www.becky-johns.com Becky Johns

    Gee, Chris, aren't you glad we met? I'm sure you thought I seemed innocent enough.

    This video…best decision ever.

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  • http://www.slymarketing.com Jens P. Berget

    I would never jump out of an airplane, no matter if it was for charity or something completely different. I'm too scared of hights and especially sky diving. That's not something I'm going to be doing. But there are many other things that I'm kind of struggling to do.

    My weight. Not that I'm overweight, but I'm too heavy.

    Public speaking. I do it, but not if I'm not prepared, and I'd like to do it unprepared.

    Work from home. I'm still struggling in order to become successful with my writing.

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  • cathlawson

    Good for you Chris. Doing things that move you out of your comfort zone will make you more confident in other areas of your life. And I'm pretty sure the plane won't come apart.

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