I was on this island with friends in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Comino is a few kilometers from Malta and is known for its transparent water, cliffs, and caves. Our favorite activities there weren’t sunbathing with our feet in the beautiful water. It was to find rocks overhanging the water by a few meters to dive.
Before each cliff jump, we made sure of two things:
- The rock that served us as diving platforms was safe,
- The water below was deep enough.
But despite all that, the fear remained.
After all, we are the fruit of millennia of evolution. And of all the mechanics we have internalized to survive, an evident one would be not to jump 5 meters in the water surrounded by rocks. All the more, if we can choose not to.
It’s getting over this anchored fear, doing it, and realizing we were right because nothing happens to us that is incredible. We feel in control, capable and courageous. Confidence flows through our bodies, and for a moment, we are unstoppable.
They are many uncertainties in life. Death is not one of them. To face it is like laughing at this inevitable fact. It’s like getting beyond the concept of life. And nearer to god.
All the problems you have are gone when you face your fears. It’s a challenge that requires your full attention. Not to ruminate on the past or foresee the future. You are absorbed in what is called the flow state.
Once at the jumping location, you will have an unending series of discouraging thoughts. There you’ll have no choice but to disconnect your brain or quit. That’s when will come the few seconds between the moment you decide to go and the moment you’re in the sea.
The adrenaline rush, you jump, time slows down, and you are one with your body until you hit the thin layer of foam on the surface of the water. Then, you realize what happened. You’ve tamed your fear!
To reach this meditative state and go against why we have evolved isn’t given to everyone. Add to this the hormone cocktail that has run through our body, and you understand the state of wellness post-diving.
In Malta, we started with two-meter jumps. But throughout the day, as our confidence in our ability to dive increased, we were always going higher. A dive that we wouldn’t be able to do at the beginning of the day was easy at the end.
Honestly, it is not complicated to cliff dive. You join your legs and place your arms at your sides, and make sure you get in the water straight.
So what have we changed in the space of this day?
Our fear threshold.
Safely facing death was meditative throughout and fulfilling after. The sense of pride resulting from it is hard to describe. But what I learn from this example is universal.
Everyone can relate to the fear of dying. We’ve all experienced it at some point, whether it’s justified or not. In this case, we had little chance of passing away. So It was all in our heads.
Most fears — not as obvious — also occur only in your head.
There are as many fears as humans on this planet. It can be unique to you, to your story. And the only way to get rid of it is to get out of your comfort zone. To feel it, to go beyond it.
How many unjustified fears hinder your progress? The only way to beat them is to put yourself in a situation that triggers them. Climb these damn rocks and jump right into the bowels of your fears. You’ll grow out of it.
“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” — Timothy Ferriss
I understand this quote as; The measure of your success depends on how well you handle discomfort.