Radical concept, isn’t it?
Imagine considering doing something dangerous and being so comfortable and confident in your own ability that the possibility of your own death doesn’t occur to you. Death isn’t even on the radar. It doesn’t get any more thought than what to have for lunch. This is the remarkable mindset of extreme athletes.
Fear is just part of the package. It doesn’t stop them.
To the more timid among us (that’s me) that kind of daring is astonishing. Totally alien. Not that I’m worrying about my own mortality any more than the next person (okay, slightly more); but to be so casual and unruffled in the face of life and death danger is beyond anything I’ll ever achieve. It’s what makes dare devils, thrill seekers and adventurers the incredible people they are.
It’s what makes them exceptional.
My daily brain expander, Next Draft, recently had a piece on the psychology of extreme athletes, brought to the fore by the sudden death of well known climber Dean Potter (who died BASE-jumping at Yosemite). For those who have spent decades studying the more daring among us, they find a very real difference in the mindset of these daring souls. They call it a Life Wish. Extreme athletes don’t want to die. They don’t expect to die. At the edge of danger is when they feel most alive.
They also share admirable traits like optimism, energy, self confidence, focus, drive and the belief they can be the master of Fate.
If you think about it, there was a time when life was a lot riskier than it is today. Our modern world has removed most of them (unless you count rush hour traffic or trips to the supermarket before a blizzard) so now the more adventurous have to go and find them.