Why Do People Skydive?

What’s the psychology, exactly? Are people who skydive completely nuts? Why skydive when there’s a risk involved? Surely the reasons not to skydive outweigh the reasons to make that fingers-crossed leap–right?

We’ll give you this: On the surface, skydiving seems like a crazy idea. It has its origins, after all, in the death-defying feats of several aviation pioneers (check out this chick, for instance) and sees a lot of wartime action–but why would any sane person without a paycheck in the game hand over their money to jump out of an airplane thousands of feet up in the sky? At first glance, it may seem like there are more reasons not to skydive than there are reasons to skydive.

But actually…that ain’t true.

Here’s the inside scoop–from people who skydive on the regular–that speaks to why the whole idea has merit. It may not be for the reasons you think!

Reasons To Skydive

Right. So: first, let’s go over the reasons to skydive–right from a few very important horses’ mouths.

“I started skydiving because I loved the idea of freedom.”

– Felix Baumgartner, best known for jumping to Earth from a helium balloon in the stratosphere on 14 October 2012

“I was a pilot and flying hang gliders, paragliders, aerobatics airplanes, and then I discovered skydiving. Free fall. Free. With nothing around you, just a parachute on your back. And you go down. But you don’t feel like you’re going down. Total freedom.”

– Yves Rossy, a.k.a “Jetman,” the inventor of a series of experimental individual jet packs

“Why force one’s body from a plane to make a parachute jump? Why should man want to fly at all? People often ask these questions. But what civilization was not founded on adventure, and how long could one exist without it? Some answer the attainment of knowledge. Some say wealth, or power, is sufficient cause. I believe the risks I take are justified by the sheer love of the life I lead.”

 Charles A. Lindbergh, American aviator, military officer, author, inventor, explorer, skydiver and environmental activist

The Psychology of Skydiving

See the common theme there? It’s repeated from skydiver to skydiver to skydiver around the world and back again, from the most experienced world gold medalist to the mom celebrating her 40th birthday with the only tandem jump she’ll ever do. For some, the reason to jump is the thrill–the adrenaline–the chance to cross the first entry off their bucket list. For most of us, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a whole world of wonder to be found, and it starts long before the jump: in the framing we use to approach the psychology of skydiving.

When we talk about the “psychology of skydiving,” we’re generally referring to a skydiver’s relationship to fear. When you peek behind that fear, it becomes obvious that skydiving is more about the act of taking calculated risks. If that sounds like a complicated bait-and-switch, just wait! There’s more. At the end of the day, skydiving is really about freedom–which has to do with facing fear, but that’s not the whole story. It’s about empowerment–which requires bravery, but not as its sole element. Skydiving is a form of therapy, massaging your worn-out muscles that hold up your sense of hope. It’s about challenging yourself to believe you’re capable of much more than you think.

Another thing: It’s not just for the young and dumb. (Being young and dumb doesn’t even really help!) People of all ages and all walks of life come together on the dropzone–and, as you certainly know by now, it’s a full-blown sport if you really want to dive into all that skydiving has to offer.

middle aged gentleman about to board plane to go skydiving

Why Skydive?

There’s no cookie-cutter reason to skydive in all the world. If you’re asking yourself that question, it falls to you to give the answer. For most people who skydive, the answer tends to be really personal: A major milestone in their life; a major loss; celebrating the miracle of family or friendship. If you pause for a moment to reflect, you’ll probably know the exact reason why you need to skydive. It’s probably right there, burning in your chest. It’s just waiting for you to act–so give that impulse a high-five and reach out to us to make it happen. We’re here to help you every step of the way!

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