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What a Near-Death Experience Taught Me about the Willingness to Change

Today, I’m going to tell you a little story. But first, I have a question for you: have you ever been skydiving? Yes, have you ever jumped out of a perfectly good airplane?

I’ll tell you about my first and only time skydiving. I remember being a little bit fearful of flying, so I thought the best way to overcome that fear is to go skydiving. Really, it’s pretty incredible when you start going up in the plane. As I looked out the window, we got higher and higher. And because I was already afraid of flying, I was thinking to myself, “Man, what am I doing?”

We got to about 14,500 feet, and suddenly there was a line of people jumping ahead of me. The door’s wide open, and I got to the edge of the plane. Now, I was doing a tandem jump with a professional who’s harnessed into me from behind, but it was still terrifying. Next thing I knew, my toes were literally over the edge and I’m looking down below. That was one of the most exhilarating moments of my entire life. And I remember counting to three, rocking back, holding onto my parachute, and then freefalling towards the ground.

It was just such a rush. I felt like I was floating more than I was falling. But as we continued down on our descent, I realized that something was wrong when our chute was pulled. Before I could even comprehend what was going on, the professional who was harnessed behind me yelled in my ear, “I don’t want to alarm you, but our first chute is getting tangled up.” He told me look up, so I did. It was just as he said—our chute was tangled. It wasn’t working properly, and we are plummeting to the ground at too fast a pace. I hadn’t processed everything yet. I was still in a daze when the first chute was cut and we started freefalling again towards the Earth.

Now, this was it. I thought that my life was over. This was my first and only time jumping out of an airplane, and my chute didn’t open up properly. But the next thing I knew, the reserve chute opened up and we were slowly heading towards the ground.

So I land on solid ground, thankful to be alive, and that was my near-death experience with jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. It truly was a very dangerous situation. My life was literally in danger. And when your life is in danger, you’re forced to think about things that you otherwise would be complacent with. While I was freefalling, I realized that there were many things I needed to change about how I lived my life and how I did my work.

The point here is that my willingness and urgency to change increased tenfold during my near-death experience, but it shouldn’t have to come down to that. Every time we’re listening to a book, attending a seminar, or getting good information from anyone, we have to be willing to change. Don’t wait until you’re in a dire situation like I was to think about changing for the better. It should always be on your mind.

So I challenge you to go out today and start making positive changes to your life. Have a better than amazing week!