Fear Hacks of World Class High Divers

If you’ve seen the video, like me you’re probably wondering how someone could jump from such a ridiculous height and torpedo into a pool of water at 800 miles an hour.

As to the why part of the equation – this article touches on that answer as well – but I was more concerned with how someone could execute such a nervy feat with the poise of World Record Holder Dana Kunze.

So I set out to learn the dark arts of world class high divers, and the research lead me to some very cool mind hacks. I revealed a huge one in Control Your Reality Like a TV Set. Here’s How To Do It.

In that article, I explained the four quadrants of Attention Control Theory that high divers use. Let’s review these four mind states and guesstimate what state of attention Dana was in during every part of his record breaking performance.

NOTE: If you haven’t read Control Your Reality Like a TV Set, you’ll probably want to do that first.

In Control Your Reality, I used the nature channel as a metaphor for Broad External Attention because it’s a “wide lens” perspective used for being environmentally aware and alert. There is no interiority when in broad external focus. It’s a disconnection from Self – and suffering cannot exist without Self.

Dana may have been in Broad External as he climbed the ladder up to his perch, but it’s not the ideal mind state for high divers unless they are in the Zone.

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Broad Internal Attention is used for thinking about the mechanics of the dive. The Self is only referenced as a third party. Dana was probably in this mind state immediately before the dive and after saying “Golly, well I’d like to put one in there!”

Narrow External Attention is the Action Jackson perspective and is used to perform the actual dive. I found the sports channel to be an obvious analogy.

Dana’s Narrow Internal Attention is refined enough to quiet any negative outcome thinking before the dive. He’s loose and relaxed. It seems experienced high divers don’t regard fear like most people do. It’s relabelled as stress or nervous anxiety.

Diving despite feeling any stress or nervous anxiety is learned by focusing intensely on executing the parts of the dive that make up the whole.

Here’s something else us mere mortals forget when we see extraordinary performances from world class divers and athletes in general: they didn’t start that way. They progressed up the (ahem)  ladder through years of dedicated training before doing monster dives from way up in outer space.

Personality is also a huge factor. High diving is for risk-taking extroverts. Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways and view reality primarily through broad external lenses. These people are members of an adrenaline-junky culture and tight knit clubs who challenge and support each other.

Divers who are introverted by nature and who don’t master Attention Control probably don’t last long in this sport. Introverts don’t get the same rewarding dopamine kick extroverts do after risk-taking either.

Which brings me to the hardest and most important fear hack of high divers: they never balk. They never wait for conditions to be perfect. To balk creates fear, and so they focus on what needs to be done,  and they do it like Dana.



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