What I’ve learned from skydiving

I read a post at the Storyline Blog this morning by Justin Zoradi. It so captured the angst I was feeling yesterday afternoon.

Not long ago I went skydiving with my son. It was a tandem jump with one of the certified staff members at Skydive San Marcos. This was my third jump and the guy I went with was by far the most thorough and confident person yet. But he wasn’t this wild-eyed daredevil of a man fueled by adrenaline. He was calm, reassuring and certain of his instructions. In the end, though, the reality is that we would be jumping out of a plane with no certainty of the outcome.

As I get older I’m discovering that I tend to react counterintuitively from most people. One of the glaring ways this manifests itself is when I’m faced with what Steven Pressfield, in his book “The War of Art”, refers to as “wildly confident” individuals (I might also want to include wildly enthusiastic as well). Frankly, I get turned off by such a demeanor and want to run in the exact opposite direction from where such a person is marching. I’m not talking about the confidently self-assured individual who has a track record of disciplined focus. I’ll follow that person to hell and back.

There’s something immediately suspect about the person who works too hard to gain buy in. Like the car salesman who is working me I wonder what’s under the hood. Why are you getting into a frenzy? Are you just telling me what I want to hear? What’s in it for you?

Show me someone who innovates with disciplined passion and I will show you someone with a track record for inspiring others and sustained creativity.

That’s the person I’ll listen to.

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