Why Do People Go Skydiving? Top 10 Reasons
And when you think about it, it kind of is! We’re jumping out of planes, with nothing but a bunch of fabric to deploy and hold us in the sky.
So why the hell do people go skydiving? Isn’t it dangerous? Are they just daredevils?
Truth be told, there’s actually a lot of reasons people go skydiving. Of course, you have the skydivers who just want the adrenaline rush – but there’s much more to it than that.
To help explain, I’ve covered every benefit myself and my friends jump out of planes. If that sounds good, let’s dive in!
10 Reasons Why People Go Skydiving
#1 – It’s On Their Bucket List
Whether they saw Point Blank as a kid, or simply love the idea of being in the sky, tons of people have skydiving on their bucket list.
It might be the scariest, most off-putting experience for them to picture, but a bucket list is a bucket list! This is one of the most common reasons that tandem students come to do one great big jump. Skydiving truly is an experience like no other.
No matter how scared someone is before they jump, they always land with the biggest grin across their face!
#2 – The Adrenaline Rush
Once you get past the bucket list skydivers – who typically come for one jump – we get the regular thrill seekers. These jumpers are the bones of any drop zone, often helping with running the airfield and it’s community.
They keep coming back for the rush of jumping. There’s nothing in life like the thrill of hurtling through the air. Especially once you’re licensed and have your own gear, meaning you can do it for as little as $25 a jump!
However, eventually the pure ‘rush’ fades into a deeper connection within the sport.
#3 – The Freedom
After the adrenaline comes the appreciation.
Once your brain stops going haywire when you’re jumping, you start to really appreciate the freedom that comes with skydiving.
It’s just you up there in the sky – with friends or alone – and doing whatever the hell you want. Shooting through the sky like a superhero, doing backflips, practicing tricks and maneuvers, or simply enjoying the view. All of this followed by piloting your parachute back down to earth.
This is pure freedom. It’s the best medicine to all the worries and stresses of the world. For many, this is the true reason they keep coming back to skydiving. It’s like a wonderful, life-filled reset button. Afterwards, you return to normality with a much better appreciation for all the little things.
Everything seems like a bit of a novelty after you’ve spent the weekend flying through the sky.
#4 – Impress Their Friends
Okay, so we’ve gotten past the regulars. Here comes the first ‘unique’ reason!
In an age of Instagram and Facebook, people often do things just to show that they’ve done it. They don’t look forward to the event itself, but instead look forward to the amount of likes they’d get on a photo of them with a parachute, or how they could use it to impress a potential date.
Unfortunately, these types of people are quite common. You can often spot them due to the lack of interest in training, while they’re the first to start posing for photos at any opportunity. They’ll sometimes make mistakes because they were too busy looking for selfie opportunities than listening to safety briefings.
While this isn’t always the cause, I’ve seen students like these land in the nearby car park, and even in a tree! Modern instructors are now masters at explaining why no, it isn’t a good idea to pull out your phone as we’re flying through the air…
#5 – Confidence Building
Next up is a group you can’t help but love.
People who jump to build their confidence typically start off as bucket list jumpers. Then they recognize how amazing the skydive made them feel – especially after conquering their fears.
I was definitely in this group. Don’t get me wrong, I was scared like hell in all of my first jumps. I actually found the second scarier than the first! However with each jump I got more confident, and the realization that I could handle skydiving and earn my licence filled me with pride.
When life makes you question yourself, there’s something reassuring about knowing you’re able to fly through the air, open your canopy, and fly yourself to the ground. Not to mention being prepared for any emergency opportunities.
That feeling is why a lot of people take up skydiving as a sport. That, and one other super important reason…
#6 – To See Their Friends Again!
Skydivers are typically some of the happiest, fun-loving, positive people you’ll meet.
Granted, there are a few jumpers out there with big egos and a chip on their shoulder. But for the most part, skydivers are fun-loving and super welcoming people.
Plus – skydiving is a unique environment. People from all types of backgrounds are being brought together to do this one crazy thing. It really breaks down barriers between different kinds of people, and lets us all connect thanks to this one common interest.
#7 – To Do Before They Die
This is possibly my favorite group. There’s a certain type of people who get a new lease on life as they get older.
This might be caused by not doing things when they were younger, or just a new way of seeing the world.
Whatever the case, there’s a certain number of elderly citizens that suddenly fancy trying out skydiving!
The story of Kathryn Hodges isn’t unique – there’s plenty of older people who have finally gotten over their fear of flying. I always find these stories to be incredibly inspiring. Just because you’re old doesn’t mean you can’t do incredible things!
#8 Peer Pressure!
Going back to the younger types of jumpers again, there’s a few who aren’t exactly at the airfield out of their own free will.
Whenever we see a big group of friends or family rock up for their first skydives, there’s always one or two who are extra scared. They’re usually the ones hurling insults and “I’m gonna get you for this!” at their closest friends.
These people are unlucky enough to have convincing, adventure-seeking friends who’ve roped them in to coming with them. Never one to spoil the fun, they sign up through gritted teeth – knowing it isn’t for them, but they want to be there experiencing it with the group.
They also have one of the best reactions after the jump. Typically, it’s:
Jumper: “That was amazing!”
Instructor: “Great! Would you like to do it again?”
#9 – Therapy / Spiritual Connection
I mentioned before that some people jump for the Freedom of a skydive (Reason #3).
In the same vein, there’s others who come back for similar reasons. Maybe they’ve been going through a particularly hard time, or they just need to inject some energy back into their lives. But sometimes you’ll get a jumper who returns after a period of absence just to jump on their own.
I know I’ve felt the same thing. After a long time away from jumping, I can’t wait to get into the air and just be alone with myself and the sky. Maybe it sounds corny, but there’s something serene about being up there in the sky.
As adrenaline-filled and thrill seeking that skydiving can be, I find it can also be equally artistic, spiritual, and serene – depending on how you look at it.
#10 – YOLO / Try Everything Once
To round us out, we have the ‘yes!’ people.
This group want to try absolutely everything. Bungee jump? Done. White water rafting? You betcha. Posed for a naked art class? Why not!
They’re living to get the most experience packed into their lives, and so they have no hesitation to sign up to skydive. Whatever underlying fears they feel are completely outweighed by their desire to experience absolutely everything they can.
While I’m not one of these people, I definitely respect them! They have the craziest stories, the most amazing travel logs, and a world full of friends. I’m not saying all of us should quit our jobs and travel the world in vans, but there’s definitely something we can all learn from them.
I hope this quick list has shown that there’s a whole host of reasons why people go skydiving.
If I missed your reason, do let me hear about in the comments! I’m always interested in what draws people to the sport.
If you’ve found this interesting, please check out the related articles below.
Theories of Motivation: What Drives Us to Do What We Do
You signed up for a fitness class at the gym so you could lose five pounds, took it diligently and dropped the weight.
Your sister signed up for the same fitness class, took it sparingly, and then dropped the class without losing any weight.
What motivated you to go to the class each time, participate in the class, follow through with your fitness plan and lose the weight?
And why wasn’t your sister motivated to do the same?
(If you find YOU can’t get motivated, learn how in our Motivation Booster class, which teaches students techniques for getting – and staying – motivated!)
What Are Theories of Motivation?
Theories of motivation try to explain why people do the things they do. What makes one person more motivated than the next to accomplish the same goal? Where does the motivation come from? Is your reward something you can touch, or is it something you feel inside? (If you can’t find the motivation at all and you find yourself constantly negating your abilities, it might be time to take Motivation to Dream Bigger, which will teach you how to monitor the negative self chatter.
Oftentimes our motivation to do something – run a marathon, read a particular book, attend church, eat dinner – depends on a specific situation. For example, eating, many times, happens because we are hungry. In most instances we don’t get ‘rewarded’ for eating. We don’t win a medal when we finish our meal at the end of the day – unless, of course, our ‘medal’ is a piece of cake and we only eat the meal to get the piece of cake.
Most of the time, though, we eat because our body is hungry. We hope the food tastes good, but sometimes we have to eat because if we don’t we will get ill from lack of food.
Sometimes we are motivated to do a task for a number of reasons, and those reasons may vary. We might run a marathon because:
- We need to lose weight
- That feeling of accomplishment is one we need as we cross the finish line, so we can feel that we can do anything we set our mind to, no matter how hard
- The medal that we get for crossing the finish line after running 26.2 is cute and we want to hang it in our office to show off to all of our friends.
Theories of motivation attempt to explain why we make the decisions we make to do the things we do. Before we talk about these theories of motivation, though, we have to first understand the meaning of motivation.
What Exactly IS Motivation?
We use the term motivation or motivate often, as in “I was so motivated today I got a lot done!” But what does that term actually mean?
According to Mirriam-Webster.com, motivation is the ‘act or process of giving someone a reason’ to do something, or it is the condition of being eager to do some type of work.
So when we talk about theories of motivation, we are talking about the theories behind what it is that drives us to do the things we do.
Intrinsic and External Motivation
Motivation may come from the outside, or externally, or it may come from the inside, or internally/intrinsically.
External motivations might include an award at work for completing a particular project or a new purse because you saved enough money after paying the bills.
Intrinsic, or internal, motivation might include reading a novel because you enjoy the feeling you get when you have a great book in your hands and not because you have to memorize the text written between the pages for your English 101 course so you can ace the test. If you work with children and are interested in learning more about nurturing intrinsic motivation, sign up for Beyond Compliance.
Theories of Motivation
Theories of Motivation got their start around the 1930s and have changed from the idea that people are not aware of choices they are making to the idea that we are actually aware and are able to make decisions. In this article we will take a look at several theories of motivation, although there are others we won’t touch on here.
The theories of motivation we’ll look at include:
- Drive theory
- Arousal Theory
- Incentive Theory
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
The drive theory looks at motivation through the eyes of our biological needs. These biological needs, such as hunger, drive us to do something to satiate those needs, such as eat. So we are motivated to do things by these biological needs because we need to alleviate the feelings that these needs give us at certain times.
The drive theory is based on the idea that we want to feel balanced. When the body makes us feel uncomfortable or out of balance, we are motivated to do something to bring back that feeling of comfort and balance. So our stomach grumbles because we are hungry, and then what do we do? We eat. We may be driven by primary needs that are biological in nature or we may be driven by learned needs.
Clark Hull, who developed this theory, created this equation:
Behavior = Drive X Habit
Of course, not everything that we are motivated to do is based on making us feel balanced. Sometimes we eat when we aren’t hungry. We aren’t eating to create balance; in fact, we are creating the opposite feeling if we eat too much. And we don’t have a biological drive to purchase a new pair of shoes that we like; we do this because we want the shoes, or we are rewarding ourselves with the shoes for doing something else. So while the theory is a popular one, it doesn’t fit with many situations.
This theory of motivation states that maybe we are motivated to do things because doing these things creates a feeling of arousal once they have been done (or are being done). In this theory, people are motivated by the excitement they feel when they do particular things, which could explain when people do ‘bad’ things that create ‘good’ arousal feelings: for instance, seeking poor relationships because they are ‘exciting’ or drinking excessively because of the way it makes them feel.
In the arousal theory of motivation the idea is that each person has a level of arousal to be met, and this level varies from person to person. This is why certain people prefer more intense activities than others (ie: skydiving versus reading). So your level of arousal may be different that your sister’s, which may be why, in the example above, you completed the fitness class and lost the weight and she didn’t.
In this theory of motivation, people do things because they want to accomplish goals. You might be motivated to run a 5K because you want to reach a goal of running a certain distance. You might be motivated to finish a college course because you want to achieve a diploma at the end of the class. You might, as a child, complete your chores because you want the $5 bill your dad will hand you when you get done.
The reward you receive at the end of achieving the goal could be tangible, like money (ie: you go to work to earn the paycheck, so your paycheck is the motivation to work) or it could be something intrinsic, such as you paint a picture because the act of painting the picture creates a happy feeling inside of you.
If you consider the example that we opened up with, perhaps you accomplished your goal of attending the fitness class and losing weight because the reward – losing weight – was enough of an incentive to motivate you. Perhaps your sister didn’t master her goal of attending the class and losing weight because the reward for her wasn’t motivation enough.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Chances are you have heard of Maslow and his hierarchy of needs. This is a theory that is fairly well known, even by those who aren’t close followers of psychology and its studies. Maslow believed that people were motivated by their needs. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was as follows, with the basic needs on the bottom:
- Aesthetic Needs
- Need to Know
- Self -Worth
- Love & Belonging
Maslow further broke this chart down by stating that psychological, safety, love and belonging, and self-worth fell into deficiency needs; the remaining needs were described as growth needs. Maslow felt deficiency needs were those needs that, when they were met, reduced motivation. For instance, you aren’t motivated to eat if you eat and then you are no longer hungry.
Growth needs, on the other hand, were needs that once met increased motivation.
Managers can sign up for the Motivating Employees course to learn more about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and how it relates to motivating employees.
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. F or 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.
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!