Know your limits
Spring is now in full swing and many of us have missed the blue skies and want to resume jumping as much as possible. However if you haven't jumped all winter you might not be ready to fly back to back to back loads all while packing as fast as you can.
Below is a great article from our friends at Skydive the Wasatch about trusting your intuition vs your emotion that I wanted to share with everybody.
Your emotion may be yearning for the sky, but deep down your intuition may be telling you to take a break. Remember fatigue will slow down your reaction time, so don't let your pride get in the way, know when to trust your intuition and stay grounded. I know that personally I have missed two days of jumping in the new Kodiak on purpose. My current circumstances have left me exhausted and I'm not afraid to admit that I'm in place to be in the sky right now. Hopefully I will see everyone next week.
Skydiving decision-making is deeply intuitive as well as driven by data, instruction and observation. It's no wonder it's hard to make a decision in this environment -- where social pressure and internal goals push you against some very real concerns.
"Walking away from a jump," says Dan McNulty of Utah Skydiving Center Skydive the Wasatch, "Isn't always the right decision from a technical standpoint, but it's always the best decision if your intuition determines it."
But you don't have to take our word for it. Listen to Simone Wright, author of 'First Intelligence: Using the Science and Spirit of Intuition,' intuition plays a major role in our decision-making process. “Intuition is the natural intelligence that allows us to see ahead of the curve, to generate innovative ideas, to communicate powerfully, and to do so without having to study spreadsheets or gather piles of data." When that data can be life-or-death (or -injury), you'll need that intuition to determine whether the conditions are above your experience level, or when you simply need some rest. Here's how to nurture that skill.
- Don't cast aside your intuition.
Intuition isn't mumbo-jumbo. According to Wright, it's a "sophisticated natural intelligence" that will help you find your way through the high-data environment of the sport. Respect it.
- Stop correlating emotion with intuition.
Emotional thinking and intuitive thinking are different phenomena. “One of the most powerful misconceptions about intuition," says Wright, is that intuition is based on emotion, and it’s not.” They do, however, live close together in our brains, so it's important to separate the two.
Skydiving is stressful, especially at the beginning, and it can feel overwhelming. In moments of emotional stress, when you're evaluating your decision to jump or not to jump, there's a simple thought experiment you can perform to clear the emotional fog: ask yourself what your best friend would tell you to do, and your most trusted mentor, and the smartest person you know, given the information about the conditions, your head space and your gear. Even if you're just assuming what they'd say (and not straight-up calling them yourself), their imagined voices will be the clear bell of your intuition.
- Take time to step back.
In order to tap into your intuitive powers, you might have to take a minute. According to Wright, removing yourself physically from the area of greatest stress can help you hone in on your powers of intuition. Driving away from the DZ to get a coffee might help you relax to the point where a decision becomes clear.
- Trust the little hunches.
Your subconscious might be more keyed-in to the details than your conscious mind, especially when you're nervous. Perhaps the corner of your eye noticed the wind sock swing around in a dust devil, or registered the thought that the guy you're about to jump with seems a little out-of-control. Allow yourself to be guided by those small nudges; at worst, you'll miss a single skydive -- and at best, you won't spend the season healing from an injury you look back on with chagrin.