I took a fall, and folded under pressure... and I couldn't be happier

So today, for one of my MBA classes, we all went over to the “team challenge course” at my school. They use it for a lot of their students - athletic teams, ROTC folks, and MBA students (and probably others as well). Anyway, the course presents a variety of exercises and challenges, and is a pretty cool thing. The specific thing I want to mention here is the “trust fall”.

The way it works is this. One student climbs on to the platform (3-4 feet or so, I’m guessing), then falls backwards. The other students’ job is to catch them so they don’t maim themselves. There is organization, coordination and verbal signals, and the whole thing is really pretty safe.

Unbeknownst to anyone in attendance today, I have always had a terrible fear of falling. Not a fear of heights, mind you - I find high places pretty fun, actually. But the briefest notion that I am falling generates a tremendous fear. My youth was typefied by climbing trees that were decidedly too tall to be a good idea, yet cringing in fear of the high dive at the pool. Roller coasters that spin me in all sorts of crazy upside down directions - awesome; but the flume ride that simply drops on a steep decline - terrifying. Bunjee jumping or parachuting? Oh, so completely out of the question.

Anyway, we all got up on the platform one by one and took our fall. I had subtly positioned myself throughout the exercise to be the last one, in a futile effort to avoid this challenge. As I climbed, I thought about what was going to happen. I really didn’t have any doubts that my classmates would catch me. But, as I mentioned, this sort of thing just plain scares the crap out of me.

There is a moment, when you lean back further and further, that you reach the point of no return. Up until that point, I could conceivably regain my balance. But afterwards, that’s it - I’m falling. As I reached that specific point, I felt my insides scream in horror and try to escape through my skin.

So, as I fell, I began to fold my body - on a bigger fall, I would presumably end up in a fetal position. As it was, I was probably in a significant V-shape by the time I hit the supporting hands of my fellow students. But although the whole thing seemed to happen in painful slo-mo, in reality my person didn’t have to travel too far. Of course, my classmates ended up catching me and preventing any potential maiming, even the guy who playfully asked, just before I fell, whether he could have my guitar when I didn’t survive (damn you dude, I would so be hating you right now, if I didn’t know full well that you were completely kidding, and aren’t at all a malicious kind of guy, and would never have said that if you knew just how much this exercise scared me).

Anyway, my performance was among the most lackluster of the class in this exercise. But, I fucking went ahead with it, despite my sheer terror. And as such, I’m pretty pleased with myself overall…

(yeah, fairly mundane, fairly pointless - that’s why it is posted in this section)

That’s awesome, unstrung. Good on you for letting go of your fear, even if only for a little while. :slight_smile:

Hey, be proud of yourself. Doing things you’re afraid to do is a very good thing. It might not conquer the fear, as such, but it will help you grow. Keep up the good work.

Wow. Trust and the fear of falling…at one time.

Congrats to you!


(But I can’t help thinking that according to my business school (and post-graduation) experience, they should have told you they would catch you and then moved out of the way and let you plummet backwards and crack your head on the floor. At least I would have considered that a more accurate MBA life lesson, giving me at least a couple of months warning of what was to come.)

Sorry for the hijack, still have a couple of years of accumulated bile left unevacuated.

Terror aside, that’s pretty funny ;). Ah, the things I gave up by not choosing Harvard…

Anyway, thanks for the kind words, everyone. But you still probably shouldn’t invite me to go cliff diving any time soon :wink:

I can relate, unstrung. I’ve had to face some personal phobias, too. Claustrophobia, in particular. It’s hard, but you feel so darned good once you’ve done it.

em, sorry to be negative, but I did a science degree and have a hard time understanding how a “trust fall” is education.

The lesson is…never trust anyone.