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Kristen Cox: Paragliding & Skydiving, The Art of Free-Falling. Link

Kristen Cox blogs about her successful experiences paragliding and skydiving independently.

Entry September 27, 2011

“This week I went paragliding for my birthday—something I’ve always wanted to do. It was truly remarkable and stands as a metaphor for so much of life. It especially reinforced an important lesson I learned about creative problem solving when I went skydiving—another experience I had on my “how cool would it be” list.

At the time, the idea of a blind person sky diving wasn’t looked upon favorably by some of the instructors I contacted. Their caution was exacerbated by the fact that I was determined to go solo (if I was going to jump I wanted the full experience!)

Fortunately, I found an instructor who was a true creative problem solver. We both started with the premise of not “if” I could do it but “how” I could do it. The difference between these two simple words made—and continues to make—all of the difference for me.

The second critical element in our approach was framing the issue correctly. For example, the problem wasn’t that I was blind—rather, the problem was that I needed an alternative way of determining when to pull the chute and how to steer myself down to the ground. Once the problem was identified, the solution was simple.

We thoroughly tested a radio receptor that attached firmly into my ear. My instructor communicated the information I needed in order to have a smooth jump and land safely. This, combined with some tactile feedback another skydiver gave me as soon as we jumped from the plane, made it an unforgettable experience—-just like paragliding was today. I’m grateful that my instructor was willing to look outside the box.

Work, home, and life continually present us with challenges—sometimes big ones. The good news is that challenges can so often be turned into opportunities—if we’re flexible and approach them with creativity.

How we frame a problem and our ability to find a solution is the foundation for solving problems, driving innovation, and taking advantage of what this life has to offer."


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