Pack your own chute!

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS March 30, 2015 #534 Up next…Pack your own chute!

After further review… As a behavioral psychologist and inspirational speaker, Dr. Eden Ryl’s favorite topic was “You Pack Your Own Chute”. Her emphasis was the idea that your behavior is created by you and that you should avoid blaming others for determining who you are. She disdained the expression, “Well, that’s just the way I am,” often used by people in a self-disparaging manner to explain away bad choices and behavior.

“Everyone is afraid of something” claimed Dr. Ryl, who admitted that the fear of skydiving was her nemesis. Determined to walk-her-talk, she parachuted from an airplane — more than 40 years ago. It was not a simple task then, but Dr. Ryl believed that you can “stretch yourself beyond self-imposed limitations.”

Further exploring the maxim of packing your own chute, I recently met with Joe McBride, the executive vice president of digital marketing for StudioPMG, a company that creates and develops innovative digital marketing campaigns. McBride has never met Ryl, but certainly thinks along the same lines. He has completed over 1,300 successful jumps – as in departing from a perfectly functioning plane to fall through the air until the ground is met.  This particular extreme sport is one that the TunneySide will continue to avoid.

However, curiosity about how to overcome the fear of free falling from an airplane, or base- jumping from the top of a massive cliff (think Grand Canyon) or structure, or skiing down nearly vertical Himalayan slopes meshes with the topic of packing your own chute.  McBride tells me that he overcame such fears through focus. Focus? Absolutely! Focus on your preparation, not the end-result. F-E-A-R, they say, is “false expectation appearing real.”

Preparation is the hub of your readiness. With your thoughts centered on the details vital to your success, you’ll achieve a familiarity with them that won’t let you down when the critical moment arrives. Packing the chute, correctly positioning the body, and knowing what to do while falling through space at approximately 120 MPH are rehearsed to perfection before any attempt is made. Expert instruction must precede all of the details – so you can make a second jump!

Most all of life’s events are based on one’s preparation. Los Angeles Rams Hall- of-Famer Merlin Olsen often said, “The will to prepare is more important than the will to win.” Landing safely from a parachute jump depends on preparation!

Will you take responsibility for ‘packing your own chute’ in everything you do?

To contact Jim go to or email

Three of Jim’s books (“101 Best of TunneySide of Sports,” “It’s the Will, Not the Skill,” and “Impartial Judgment”) are available at the value price of only $40, — $20 off the list price.    Please email him at the above address. Thank You!



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