How to Live Your Best Life – Advice from a Skydiver

Monday, October 19, 2020

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s taught us how vulnerable we are. One minute we’re in our day-to-day routines and the next minute, the world is sheltering in place. Through this hardship, there is a silver lining and that bright spot is a forced recalibration that makes us examine how we’re living our lives. As Americans, we are programmed to work as hard as possible in order to become successful. This year’s pandemic has forced many of us to challenge the way we’ve been living and ask some big questions like…

Am I living my best life? Is my definition of success something that actually makes me happy? 

positive goals in life

As professional skydivers, we have a unique perspective in that we meet thousands of people each year who are actively living their best lives. We’ve done a lot of listening and have three takeaways to offer that seems synonymous with the happiest people we’ve ever met who didn’t need a pandemic to wake them up. Here are our three foundational requirements to live your best life from the perspective of a skydiver:

Create a “Life List” and Ditch the “Bucket List”

Ditch any concept of a bucket list – it may as well be called the “Maybe I’ll get to it list.” The problem with a bucket list is it’s tied to the expression “Before I die…” or “One day…” There’s no sense of urgency with a bucket list and it comes with the notion that we know when our time on earth will be done when the reality is it could end this afternoon or tomorrow morning. The term Bucket List came to the forefront from the movie “The Bucket List” when Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman go skydiving at Skydive Perris following their diagnosis of a terminal illness. Again, they have a sense of time so they start “living” when they know they have little time to do it.

If a list of things is to be made, we believe in a list that’s more proactive known as a Life List. The difference between a life list and a bucket list is that we attach a specific date to the thing we want to accomplish whether it be to make a skydive, write a book, start a business or take that trip we’ve been talking about for years. Anything that’s worth doing should have a specific goal attached to it which includes a completion date.

Re-engineer Your Goals Into Daily Habits

From our observation, it would seem that the happiest people living their best lives aren’t born this way. To be happy and live your best life requires a conscious decision to not only set goals but to be specific about how to achieve them. In other words, rather than declaring a big goal like a New Year’s Resolution (which few ever achieve), it’s writing a goal down and breaking it down into smaller, more achievable daily habits that result in the completed goal when added together. Suddenly, our lofty goals don’t seem so unattainable when we break it down into daily habits. Michael Hyatt’s book, Your Best Year Ever breaks this method down perfectly and is referenced by many of our first-time jumpers.

your best year ever book

Truly Disconnect

In order for us to be at our happiest, we have to have perspective, and the way we gain perspective is to pull away from the daily grind. In other words, we need to create space that allows us to see the big picture. When we are grinding through our weeks and “living for the weekend”, we become subjective and get comfortable. It’s easy to lose sight of the most basic questions of how happy we are living within the grind structure and what definitive goals we’re hoping to attain. Recently, we watched the documentary of Bill Gates on Netflix and we were struck by his conscious action to take a “Think Week” which gives him solitude to break away from everything and to read and think. While we all may not have the luxury of breaking away for a week (we’re talking to you, parents), it’s still important to do something to de-stress and disconnect from our routines. It is for this reason that so many people go skydiving with us – it’s a reset!

While it’s true that 2020 has been an enormous dumpster fire, it’s important to see the opportunity it presents – perspective. Do we truly desire to go back to how things were or do we wish to create a new path focused on achieving goals and living a happier life? We choose the latter!

To our readers, we hope this blog was helpful and if we’re on your Life List of things to get done, contact us today to attach a date to this adventure!

Tandem Skydiver in freefall at Skydive Tecumseh

On Labor Day my daughter took our first jump. She got me it for my 62nd birthday to check off my bucket list. It was the most intense adrenaline rush I have ever experienced. James and Amber (my daughters tandem partner) were very professional and made our jumps fantastic. We will be back again and hope to bring a group with us. Tremendous experience.

John Gay