Fear Part 2

Welcome back to our discussion on fear and the first installment in the Dive Locker. If you haven't read Part One, that can be found right here.

Last email we dipped into how fear is hard-wired into humanity, and how fear literally cultivated our species to what it is today.

What I didn’t mention about that email was… that was the easy part.

This email is going to start them jimmies rustlin’ as we explore fear in diving.

Our diving, our fear, and where we’ve been fucking it up.

Last email you might have enjoyed a short story involving our caveman buddy, uFckhead.

uFckhead subscribed to the idea that he was 20’ tall and bulletproof… you might recognize this mentality amongst your peers or even in yourself.

Well in uFckheads case, his lack of caution spilled his guts faster than gas station sushi with a “50% off” sticker on it.

While that story was obviously fabricated… mostly…

There is an underlying reality to that experience.

Fear has shaped our evolution as a species by keeping us alive.

It is the early-warning system that you might be about to write a check your ass can’t cash.

You’ve felt it’s effects before… the spike of adrenaline that jacks up your heart rate and increases your breathing…

Senses sharpen, time feels like it slows down… etc. etc.

Fight or flight triggered by fear.

Here’s the kicker…

In life, most of the time, the response is not necessary to keep us alive and we learn how to override that fear and carry on.

In fact, we spend a good amount of time training new divers how to overcome that fear and still operate.

We have to since what we do is really fucking dangerous… But we still need to get the job done.

The problem is…

All that inoculation against fear has taught us that fear is bullshit. That we shouldn’t be listening to it at all and anyone who does is a pussy.

I’ll even bet my lunch that one of the greatest fears among divers is… letting anyone else know you are afraid.

I’ve seen divers do some truly dumb shit just so their peers won’t call them a bitch. I’m sure we all have.

In fact…

I’m sure we’ve all been the guy doing whatever dumb shit is at hand and I’m sure we’ve all been the guy calling it out.


That is a big fucking problem because we are not immortal…

But the culture we are cultivating against fear makes us think we are.

Because of that culture, divers are recklessly taking on risks that we have no business even approaching, and getting hurt or killed for it.

Like diving 9+ knots of swift water… Ice diving without a tether… Blackwater diving with no safety or controls…

I didn’t make those up either. Each one of those examples was a life lost needlessly.

In each one of those examples I guarantee you someone felt a spike of fear before jumping in…

And went anyway before critically examining why their survival instincts were throwing up the caution flags.

Ready for this one?

If any of those divers had stopped and said “I’m not so sure about this… I’m fucking terrified and I don’t think I should be doing this”...

What do you think the response would have been from their peers? Be honest. This should feel uncomfortable to examine.

We are our own worst enemies sometimes.

So now we have the stage set.

Fear is a survival instinct -> We cope with that instinct to do our jobs -> Culture has developed that fear is bullshit -> Divers are hurt or killed.

Next post will be looking at how we fix this.