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Who Will Kick You In The Ass When You Need It?

Note From Laur: This is a guest post by the ridiculously cool, naturally uplifting, and positively inspiring Collin Vine of The Trailblazing Life.

“We’re running out of time! You have to jump NOW!”

She wouldn’t move. She stood there, flying 5000 feet above ground, her legs parted and slightly bent and her palms pressed hard against each side of the open door frame while her elbows were locked straight, ensuring that the slight nudges from the instructor behind weren’t forceful enough to cause a premature jump. She was rigid from head to toe, looking like a cat resisting being dropped into a bucket of water. What had seemed like a good idea before – throw myself out of a perfectly good plane – didn’t seem so great anymore.

The choice was hers: jump or slowly back away and concede defeat, letting her fear get the best of her.

We had spent the last 6 hours of this warm and sunny spring day learning all about the technique of skydiving. We watched videos and read text about the basics of exiting; we practiced arcing our bodies in a backwards C with arms and legs fully extended; we familiarized ourselves with the different parachute cords; and we learned what to do if one of our parachutes didn’t deploy.

This wasn’t an ordinary strap-yourself-to-a-guys-back-and-give-him-all-the-control skydiving session.

No, my 19-yr old self couldn’t get over the idea of having that much fun while strapped to another dude. Instead, I opted for the do-it-myself approach. I have a motto in life: if I have the choice to do something with someone strapped to my back or do it alone, I always choose the latter. But that’s just me….

After 6-hrs of training, it was finally time for the big jump.

The plane could accommodate two people per trip and out of our 6-person class, birthday celebrators got first dibs. The lady, 31-yrs my senior on her 50th birthday, enthusiastically asked if she could be the test-dummy and jump first. Normally I jump at the opportunity to be the human lab rat. Heck, I even volunteered to test the make-shift Ecuadorian bungee jumping system our guide rigged up (unlike most bungee jumping platforms that are engineered and permanently established, this was engineered on-the-spot with stuff from our guides backpack. When he triple knotted the bungee cord he had just pulled from his bag to the handrail, I knew it was going to be safe.). I get off on that shit.

But today I could tell this lady wasn’t about getting off on stupid intelligently-evaluated risks. Her motives stemmed a lot deeper than mine.

I don’t know exactly what was going through her head, but I imagine it was something like “You think I’m washed up and over the hill just ‘cause I’m 50?! Oh yah! I’ll show you, dammit. I’m not scared. I’m still as strong/capable/fearless/crazy/exciting/sexy/powerful as I used to be. I can do anything that I used to do – even more! What? You don’t believe me?! Fine, watch me jump from a plane – by myself! I’ll show you, you SOB’s.” I’m pretty accurate with judging people’s internal dialogues so I think this was right on the mark.

“You need to go NOW! Get out of the plane!” The instructor nudged her a little harder this time.

It was the moment of truth: prove to herself that at 50-yrs old she was more courageous than she’s ever been before or back down, forever feeling weak and incapable. The choice was hers…

Actually, the choice wasn’t hers.

We had almost cleared the jumping “safe zone” (the area above ground from which it’s safe to jump) which caused the instructor to become more irritated with her jumping resistance. His gentle coaxing turned into forceful nudging. It was now or never, jump or concede defeat.

She wouldn’t move, her body had been paralyzed by fear and no matter how much her mind wanted to prove to herself she could do it, her body wouldn’t let her.

The instructor, frustrated and anxious, took matters into his own hands. He extended both arms above his head and grasped a 2” diameter support beam that spanned the width of the plane. He pulled himself off the ground, tucked both his knees towards his stomach, pointed his toes towards the ceiling, and, with a forceful extension of his legs, kicked her square in the ass.

She flew from the open door (in perfect backwards C arc position, mind you) hurtling towards the ground 5000 feet below.

My mouth dropped. Did he just kick her out of the plane? Yes. Yes he did.

Will You Kick Yourself In The Ass?

Life is full of these moments. We come face to face with our fears and are forced to act or back down. Some people welcome the fear; some are paralyzed by it.

The 50-yr old lady was paralyzed by it. Luckily, she had someone to kick her out of her paralyzing state of mind. Was that the best way to deal with the situation? Hell no. But did she have a smile from ear-to-ear and say that was one of the best experiences of her life? You know it.

Too often in life we’re concerned about unpredictable future outcomes. It’s unpredictable how that girl/guy that we have an interest in will react if we approach them. It’s unpredictable whether you’re business idea will succeed or fail. It’s unpredictable whether this post will be liked or dreaded. But are you going to let unpredictability stop you from finding out what could happen? Are you going to back away from the open door? Or will you jump?

The lady in the plane was fortunate to have someone give her a kick in the ass. But most of the time someone’s not there to do the kicking. So the question is: when faced with life’s tough choices, are you going to back down and live a mediocre life or are you Mad enough to do it yourself?

About The Author: Collin Vine is a world-traveling, business-starting, naturally-motivating guy from Canada who writes about how to get lost and found on the path to independence at his blog The Trailblazing Life. You can also catch him on Twitter to exchange hilarious stories at @CollinVine.

About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives.

Share with me what you're getting into that matters to you. It could be stepping into entrepreneurial pursuits, embarking on a journey of the self, making a crazy life change, or even if you're totally stuck. I want to connect with, support, collaborate with, and learn from as many people as possible through this blog (that means you!) Click the *Share* link in the main menu and let's connect by filling out the form.

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  • Hey Collin!
    Thanks for the awesome awesome awesome Guest Post! You have some really amazing, risk-taking, wall-breaking stories just based off of the things you’ve shared in the above paragraphs!

    The thing about getting our asses kicked in life is there are so many ways it can happen, ya know?
    – We kick are own asses when we’re feeling down and we’re beating ourselves up. (So stupid)
    – We kick other people’s asses when they need that little push stops the fear paralysis like this instructor did to the Birthday girl
    – We get our asses kicked in bar fights for hitting on some guys girlfriend / girls boyfriend.
    – We kick ass when we do Big Things, Make Big Moves, and Go after our Big Dreams.

    Overall, most of those ass kickings are pretty freaking awesome. Especially the bar fights! haha.
    I think it’s just as important to be able to kick yourself in the ass as it is to kick someone else in the ass when they need it!

    I’m going to read this post whenever I need a little inspiration to just kick myself in the ass off that damn metaphorical plane and dive into whatever it is I’ve been scared to do!

    Keep Kickin Ass Collin!!! What can I say man, you are as awesome as an all you can eat sushi buffet (I really love sushi.)

    • Ha ha Lauren I LOVE your replies and comments. I don’t think I have ever met someone who’s as dedicated and interested in her readers as you are! You kick ass!

      And you also bring up some good points. As good as a personal ass kicking can be, sometimes we do it in the worst possible ways and we beat ourselves up unnecessarily. The other night I stayed up until 4:30 AM (I wasn’t even partying…) and it threw my whole next day for a loop. I woke up late (obviously) which caused me not to go to the gym and not to be productive in the morning like I wanted to before going to work. I was kinda pissed at myself and gave myself one of those personal ass kickings where I beat myself up.

      But then all of a sudden my mood changed and I started to think it was funny: “What the… why was I up until 4:30AM?! Oh Collin, you’re ridiculous.”

      I just started to laugh it off instead and I actually had such a great day yesterday. If I just beat myself up instead, then hell, yesterday would’ve sucked!

      SO yea, you’re right – ass kicking can come in so many forms. I guess it’s up to us to choose the appropriate ones (but I’ll leave the bar fights up to you, Puma – damn, you’re a nutter!)

      PS – you’ve got my drooling over all you can eat sushi now. Yum. Let’s go!

  • Jen

    Collin – this was a great post! I’m all about kicking other people’s asses to do things that they know they want to do, but just need that extra push to actually do it. Out of my group of friends, I’m definitely the one that encourages random and bold actions. It’s fun to be THAT person in someone’s life, so I related to your post in that way. Let’s go skydiving together!

    • Thanks Jen! And yes, I’m SO down for more skydiving adventures! The last time I went there was less kicking out of planes and more actually jumping – how lame. Maybe it’s my turn to get kicked out of one… you want to do the honors?!

      And from reading your posts on your blog, I can definitely tell you’re the bold one, embracing the ol’ “fuck it” mentality. Every group of friends needs those people. The best is when you get several of them together in one group… muhaha, oh the troubles that brew!

      • Jen

        I’ve only been skydiving once, but definitely want to do it again. Such a rush and I would LOVE to kick you out of a plane. That sounds like an awesome way to spend a day. The “fuck it” mentality is so great, and so is the “I don’t care if I fail” attitude.. because everybody fails sometimes. You just can’t be scared to make an attempt at anything.

        • Ha ha I’m not sure if I should be concerned or grateful that you’re so willing to kick me out of a plane…!?!

          • Jen

            Grateful! I think you just made it sound too fun the way you described it – “He extended both arms above his head and grasped a 2” diameter support beam that spanned the width of the plane. He pulled himself off the ground, tucked both his knees towards his stomach, pointed his toes towards the ceiling, and, with a forceful extension of his legs, kicked her square in the ass.” That’s brilliant.

            You can push me off of a bridge to bungee jump or off a cliff for hang gliding so we can be even. I’m ok with that.

          • Too much luv? Is it possible…?

        • Weird, it won’t let me comment on you latest post. Our discussion is going to deep for this commentluv system to handle!

          And ya, when you reiterate getting kicked out of a plane like that, it’s hard to turn down. Fine. I’m grateful. And kind of excited. You are allowed to kick me out of a plane…. But can I kick you off a bridge if we go bungee jumping? Ya know, it’s only fair…

          • Jen

            I already agreed to let you push me off of high places in my last comment! It is only fair. I just penciled you in for dare-devil activities in my 2011 calendar. I think commentluv doesn’t like our commentflirting. We’re making it uncomfortable.

          • hahah You guys crack me up! I’ve been reading this back and forth in my inbox all morning and afternoon 😛

          • Jen

            Ha! We’re so weird. Bonding over pushing limits and pushing people. Whatever works 🙂

  • carole

    great post collin. just last night i found my long lost video of me jumping out of a plane (although I was attached to a dude’s back). lauren and her brother and I went a few years ago. truly an amazing experience, and actually not nearly as scary as i had thought it would be. just really exhilarating. i wish i had a proverbial flight instructor to give me a good kick in the ass everyday. i know i’m being lazy about living up to my potential. it’s really hard to kick myself in the butt. thanks for the inspirational post to remind me to do it.

  • Hey Carole, thanks for the comment.

    Skydiving is definitely a remarkable experience. I’ve been twice now, both times on my own. Have you ever been bungee jumping? It’s actually scarier. You’re a lot closer to the ground when you jump makes the idea of hitting the ground seem that much more realistic. But it’s a lot of fun – I highly recommend it!

    And you know, sometimes getting a kick in the ass doesn’t have to be so profound or so significant. Sometimes we can take little steps to reaching our potential. It is January and for a lot of people that means the “get in better shape” New Years resolutions are rampant. But people try to kick themselves too hard in the ass, find out the change is unmanageable, and revert back to their old ways. Little baby kicks are sometimes better then one big one.

    I’m not sure what your lifestyle is like right now so I can’t comment on whether you’re lazy or not, but just acknowledging that you can and want to improve is a big thing to do so congratulations. And a really great read on the topic of change, if you’re interested, is a book called “Switch”. I loved that book!

    All the best on your path to greatness 🙂

  • This was a hilarious post Collin – geez, the fricken instructor kicked her out of the plane – LOL

    As you mentioned, for most there isn’t someone kicking them in the ass forcing people to get out their funk so they can tap their true potential and discover there’s an exhilarating life that can be lived. That’s really sad.

    Maybe there’s a new professional service business here: Professional Ass-Kicker for hire – Be All That You Can Be!

    Cheers Collin!

  • Thanks, Mark. You know, that’s the beauty of the internet and blogs. It holds us accountable to others so they can act as our virtual ass kickers. Everyone who takes the time to comment and read your work is giving you a kick in the ass to continue. They are investing in your work so that when you have those feelings of “this is hard” or “I want to quit” you realize that there are fans – maybe 1, maybe 1000’s – who would kick you in the ass if you stopped.

    It’s people like you who keep kicking me in the ass and make me continue! Ha ha, not sure if I’m willing to pay for that service just yet, though 😉 Maybe there’s a business opportunity out there and hey, we could team up and start kicking some serious ass for people. Imagine answering the inevitable cocktail party question then: “So, what do you do?”

    “Oh me? I’m a professional Ass-Kicker.”

    Awesome.

    Thanks for the comment, Mark!

  • I remember when I first began giving self empowerment speeches. I had just given a speech on feel the fear and do it anyway and was feeling pretty good about overcoming stage fright. The next speaker was a little old 83 year woman who had just completed her first sky dive. SQUELSH

    • Hey Riley,

      That’s cool that you’re a motivational speaker, right on. It reminds me of my Toastmaster days. I always was good at delivering the ol’ one-two punch in a speech and sprinkling them with a bit of humour (which I find always mixes well with a dose of seriousness). It must be a great feeling to touch so many people’s lives with each speech.

      I hope when I’m 83 I still have the courage to do that. It reminds me of the first time I went bungee jumping. I was 14 and scared as a little 14yr old jumping off a 150′ bridge would be. But the person who jumped before me was an 80 yr old. And he didn’t just jump, he flipped off. And he came every single weekday to jump! Knowing that he was doing it gave me just a little bit more courage to do the same.

      Thanks for the comment!

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  • Woah, he drop kicked her Thor style.

    Yeah, I actually just do things for the immaturity of it. I almost never find myself being pushed by anyone, because the minute I feel like someone else is pushing me, I feel like I’m doing it for them, and they’re getting paid off by it. I really don’t need someone holding my hand when I do something. Maybe I need a ride when my car breaks down, but I’m good with initiative.

    Great post Collin, Impeccable writing.

  • It’s cool that you’re motivated enough to push yourself whenever you need. However, I think that most people would appreciate a kick every now and then. Whether they pull you out of a slump or push you on to be great, having others support is useful and, in the skydivers case, sometimes needed.

    Thanks for the comment, Jonathan.

  • Kick-ass post man. (Man, I hope I’m the first to use that).
    It reminds me of the kick-in-the ass I got from my job when they fired me a month and a half before I was ready to leave. Got on the phone, called my friend who was hosting my site and said “Can you help me get job 2.0 started?” We hit the ground running. Now I’m still sailing but, honestly, I don’t want to hit the ground. This is way too much fun, Like Kristin Low says, Living without a net is thrilling.

    • Ha ha very clever Mr. Zuber.

      Good on ya for taking a potentially shitty situation and making it kick-ass. I have a friend who just lost their job recently. He hated it there and wanted to get out. But, kind of like you, he wanted to leave on his own accord. Well, now he’s happier than I’ve ever seen him before. His slate is blank, he no longer is defined by something he hates, and opportunities are endless. He’s free to turn himself into anything/anyone he wants.

      And to add to the net comment, it also feels like there’s no ceilings, too. Nothing stopping your fall, nothing impeding your climb. The risk is there, but so if the opportunity to go as high as you want. Let’s keep on climbing upwards.

  • What a great post! It really does take someone to ‘kick you in the ass’ every now and then to put you on the right track, sometimes that kick comes from someone close, sometimes it comes from a complete stranger.

    I’m jealous of you jumping solo, I’ve only ever done tandem!

    • Thanks Kyle. I was just reading your bio on your blog – man, you’ve done some serious adventuring. Not sure if you’re into skydiving much, but getting your certificate to be able to go solo would be pretty worth it. Especially since you’re hit so hard by the travel bug. Travelling and skydiving in every place you go? That’s pretty awesome.

      You know the kick in the asses I’ve been appreciating more and more? The brutally honest ones from close friends. I feel like there’s not enough people who are willing to tell you straight up how you are in fear of hurting your feelings. Yet, the people who tell it like it is are the people I admire the most. Too many people will either tell you your idea is great, your lifestyle is fine, or your actions are acceptable. Yet, those people, as nice as they can be, are facilitating your weakness. I like the friends who will say, “Hey Collin, that idea sucks and here’s how to make it better.” Yet I find that’s rare. So someone who will not only kick you in the ass but then jump out of the plane right behind you – they are the valuable ones in life. Got to keep those friends close by.

      • I actually went skydiving for the first time just recently, two hours before my wedding! I do plan on getting certified eventually, as its an adrenaline rush of a lifetime 🙂

        Close friends who will give you that kick in the ass are pretty rare. I’m not sure if they hold back out of self-preservation or fear of rejection. Brutal honesty should lead to better relationships, but with certain people it can destroy them. I prefer the friends that can be brutally honest.

  • That does it Laura – I’m jumping out of a plane – in Costa Rica no less!

    Awesome convo going on here in the community – thanks all for the inspiration everyone!

  • Please excuse me Lauren :p

  • I think this is the reason why I love to travel with my husband so much. He kicks me in the ass when I need that extra bit of motivation to do things I normally wouldn’t do. That led me to eat yummy fresh octopus and even try snowboarding. I’m such an overthinker about things that it is nice to have someone do that for you.

    • Hey Erica!

      Ooo octopus – NICE! I kicked my boyfriends ass to try… get ready for it… friend bees and worms while we were in China!!! It was, to say the least, very very disgusting. Well, the look of it was at least. Once you ate them it just tasted like fried batter.
      And in return, he kicks my ass when it comes to making other decisions. Usually bigger ones that I tend to overthink on. Whether it be when traveling or in life in general, it’s always good to have another half kickin you in the ass along the way 🙂

  • @Lauren…
    – Volcano Hike in Indonesia starting at 2am…
    – Trekking the Three Gorges Dam for multiple days
    – Going on more trips than we could afford :O)
    You…
    -Surfing in Bali
    -Swimming out into the ocean in Mexico
    -Riding a moped on the opposite side of the road in a country we have never been to

    …the ass kickings were definitely well worth it!

    Keep Exploring!

    Mark

    :O)