Don’t jump out of a plane without getting the proper training first.
Someone actually gave me that advice this week.
I already knew that was a bad idea, even with a parachute, but I didn’t realise it takes a few assisted jumps for a skydiver to get a feel for how his or her body will be affected by falling to Earth at up to 300 kilometres an hour.
Evidently, if you just strap on the chute and go for it you will spin and tumble all over the place until you pull the ripcord or the altitude pressure releasesystem opens your chute.
Why am I telling you this? Well, it has to do with positioning.
Skydivers have to position their bodies correctly and get a feel for how it works before they can control their dives, and I think the rest of us – especially students and young adults – have to think about positioning if we want to get the most out of our lives.
You’re probably expecting me to go on now about the importance of getting a good education so you can get a well-paid and highly respectable job, but that’s not what I’m going to do.
Sure, education, money and respect are good things but they are not the entire game and I saw some things yesterday that confirmed some of my views on careers.
My daughter and I drove 300 kilometres, mostly on English motorways, so she could jump out of a plane five kilometres above the ground and free-fall for a full minute before her tandem jump instructor opened the parachute.
It was amazing to watch and she loved the experience but the main purpose of the sponsored jump was to help raise money for a school in the Gambia.
Anyway, on the three-hour drive there and then again on the drive home I was constantly pressurised by pushy drivers in fancy cars who seemed to be in one hell of a rush to get somewhere.
Most of them looked fairly well-off and rather miserable.
There weren’t many fancy cars at the jump centre and no one appeared to be especially wealthy but everyone – instructors, cameramen, receptionists, drivers, pilots, private jumpers and students – appeared to be in a good mood and quite happy to be doing what they were doing.
The contrast was striking and it got me thinking once again about how we choose to earn a living.
Like I said, money and respect are important factors in choosing a career but it is also important to remember most of us spend nearly half ourwakinghours on the job.
That means before you choose a career you should factor in what kind of people that job brings along with it.
If you choose to becomea doctor you may well be dealing with the sick and the dying most days.
If you become a lawyer you may spend most of your time with criminals or people who feel they have been cheated.
If you choose an accounting, bookkeeping or computer related job you may wind up doing a lot of work where you don’t have any contact with other people.
On the other hand, there are jobs out there – like working at a skydiving centre – where you will be surrounded by excited, happy people most of the time.
I’m not saying that is the most important factor, but I certainly think it is one that needs to be considered if you don’t want to just free-fall through life.