Focus on the Positive Point

In my early 20’s I did a skydive for charity – most people do a tandem skydive for their first jump which means they are strapped to another person who does all the work for you. I was training for a static-line exit  which means I was flying by myself, with the rip cord attached to the plane. When I jump out of the plane the rip cord pulls open my parachute. 

We spent a weekend doing the training –  I was to jump the old style round canopy which meant there is no flair and soft landing on your feet like you see today. When I land this baby I had to roll it out or Parachute Landing Roll (PLR).

Ok, the week end came and we went through all the training and I passed my ground school. But the weather, as it so often is in the UK was vial and rainy – or as I call it “baby weather” as it’s wet and windy – whatever you call it, it was  no good for a skydive. 

So we spent the day doing Parachute Landing Rolls inside the hanger  – PLR after PLR after PLR.   We’re in a harness on a platform about 10 feet above the ground. We step off the platform, scoot down a zip wire, hit the ground and roll it out. Well it was raining  A LOT that day – so I ended up doing A LOT of PLR’s  and they became second nature. A few weeks later I returned to the drop zone when the weather was better and did my first static-line skydive – with a perfect Parachute Landing Roll landing.

Fast forward about 20 years I was living in Southern Ireland  – I took up skydiving aged 42 to get out of my comfort zone. I was in a total rut:  My marriage was in a mess, I was very unhappy and life was not exciting or fulfilling. 

So I chose the most extreme and exciting  thing I could  think of and that was Skydiving! I did the Accelerated Free Fall course or AFF.  This is an intense weekend of ground schooling,  followed by 7 assessed jumps – the first 3 with 2 other instructors and the last 4 with 1 instructor.   I failed level 4  and had to re-jump but eventually, over the course of about 4 months, I passed the course in 8 jumps. (The weather in Ireland was even worse than in the UK!)

I could now jump solo, pull my own parachute and land by myself. This time I was jumping on a modern square parachute not the old fashioned round ones – meaning more control and steering, and required a flare to land (I didn’t always land on my feet but that was the intention!)

So one day a group of us travelled from Dublin to Girona in Spain to visit another drop zone – a beautiful place called Emporia Brava. Jump number 22 so still a very new skydiver – We went up to 13,000 feet, my instructor and I left the plane together, had good exit and a good flight. Pulled my parachute at 4,000 feet, no problems and all good. 

Then the drama started. My final approach to land was way too high, and it didn’t help that the wind had changed too. I was running out of runway to land. 

There was a motorway at the end of the drop zone and some large advertising hoarding boards showing their adverts to the motorway drivers. 

All I could see was the back of these boards – and it was all I focussed on! I couldn’t look away – it was like a magnet – a train wreck – I COULDN’T turn away! Well the inevitable happened, and I ended up going toward these hoarding boards just before the motorway. Energy flows where focus goes and I was aiming directly for these boards – and quickly! My focal point was not at all positive – it wasn’t where I wanted to go but I kept looking at it anyway – and kept heading towards it!

I had to lift my legs up over the boards to avoid landing directly on them and caught my jumpsuit on a nail sticking up. I could see a lorry on the motorway, just feet away – I could even see the whites of the drivers very wide eyes! I then just forced my head to focus somewhere else – I dumped a toggle and landed on the edge of the drop zone and the embankment of the motorway – in a perfect Parachute Landing roll! – My time in a hanger nearly 20 years ago on a wet weekend in the UK had served me well! 

I came out with a slightly split lip from kneeing myself in the face, and a hole in my jumpsuit which was flashing next weeks washing at everyone. 2 inches lower on that nail and I would be telling a very different story!  (It didn’t put me off skydiving though – these things happen) – Interestingly – on a return visit to Emporia Brava, the advertising hoarding boards had been taken down!

So my point to you is to focus on what you DO want not on what you don’t want. The richest men and women in the world became so successful by having a clear vision of where they wanted to go, focussing on it and then taking action towards it.  You can’t hit a fuzzy target. 

Focussing on the negative point not the positive point nearly cost me my life and not just my pride  and my jump suit!  Stay focussed on the positive point – and watch how your life will change! Ali

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