How are the above 3 topics linked?  Well, the last two are easy to put together, but it would seem a bit of a stretch to join them to achievement!

Firstly, the achievement.  It’s been a dream of my son’s – a bucket dream (“what I’d like to do before I kick the …….”!) – to jump from a plane, freefall and land safely.  I certainly concur with the last bit of that sentence!!  Anyway, it was his 21st birthday on Friday, and he’s not a lad who has asked for much for Christmas or birthdays, ever, so his Dad and I decided that we would like to splurge out and give him an experience that he would never forget for this landmark birthday.  His choice was to do accelerated freefall from 15,000 feet.


Anyhow, (and slightly envious), I signed him up for a course.  What neither of us had realised was that there was an intensive day’s training in the classroom before he would be allowed up to jump.  Obviously safety is the paramount focus, and students are drilled in techniques designed to keep them alert, focussed and safe whilst in the air, having to report in to their instructors all the way until chute deployment. 

Accelerated freefall is when you jump solo (ie not strapped to anyone), but you do have two professional instructors holding on to your suit to ensure that you are safe.  The suits have stuffed padded tubes attached to the side of the arms, body and legs, which the instructors can hold on to.  As you get more experienced, they hold on less, until eventually, after several assisted jumps, they don’t hold on at all. 

Chris was initially disappointed that he wouldn’t be likely to jump on his birthday, but he got over it quickly and decided to enjoy the day which was amazing.  9 hours of training in body position, drills, parachute checks, alertness checks etc, was quite challenging mentally.  Then the forecast came up that wiped out Saturday and Sunday because of rain and high winds.  That was a disappointment.  

They sent up a scout plane to check on conditions at the end of the day, and with only light cloud cover at 7,000 feet, (they deploy the canopy at 6,000 feet), and wind velocity within safe parameters, and because he had done well with the course, Chris was offered a jump on Friday evening which he took with alacrity!  So he experienced his first free fall jump on his 21st birthday!  And what an experience.  He was thrilled and elated! 

Who knows whether he will decide to extend his course and become a qualified freefaller, or whether he treasures this one jump as an experience of a lifetime – he was really pleased with his parachute and landing skills, but not impressed with his freefall technique! – but this one jump has been a tremendous achievement in his life!  And I am so proud of both his achievement and his attitude to disappointment!

Back to procrastination and laziness – ok, so whilst they may not have a direct correlation with Chris’ achievement, in one way they do.  I have always thought of procrastination and laziness as inaction or the inability to decide on action.  However, I have now been shown another way to look at them.  Everything we do is an action – even if we decide to sit on our butts watching TV all day!  Procrastination and laziness are ineffective action.  For me, that is enough of a mind shift to eradicate them in my life.  If they are an action, then I choose to do them.  If I don’t choose to do them, then I eradicate them.  So the connection with achievement is the opposite side of the same coin – achievement is a positive action, whilst procrastination and laziness are negative actions.  I can still choose to sit and watch TV (although life is much more interesting than that!!), but now I know that I have chosen to do that!