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The distinction between lack of confidence and fear - Page 2

post #31 of 39
Great discussion. It seems to me that the "instinct to survive" needs to be part of the discussion. Face it, part of the attraction of skiing is living at the edge and dancing with gravity. When most enter the terrain TC's picture's display, fear and self-preservation are not an abstraction. I may get down really steep runs, but, I don't think I'd be convicted of skiing them. I'm in survival mode and I think it's quite rational. I've also a minor fear of heights which is more irrational in terms of actual threat to welfare.

Fear is a real time event usually accompanied by a rush of adrenalin and a strong feeling of physical threat. I've stood at the edge of Corbett's in Jackson Hole and my body is screaming "get away". Never jumped in, never will. Great view though. I believe most skiers have an  terminal speed velocity which when crossed causes speed braking behaviors as fear kicks in.

In very many ways, it's great to experience a few seconds of living on the edge, and, come back from it in one piece.
post #32 of 39
 Well as to your comment I agree, but I don't think that worry was needed to avoid the financial crisis.  Caution was (and regulation, but that's another story.)

Haven't you ever been so worried that it felt like there was no "might" in it?
post #33 of 39
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post

Interestingly most of our anxieties are over-exaggerated in our minds and in skiing are directly related to a fear of the fall line and acceleration which is exactly the attraction to the sport for me.  I like the feeling of free falling and then being caught with every turn.  It's like throwing a baby up in the air and catching them.  You hear the inhalation and fear then when you catch them, the giggle and laughter.  This is skiing to me, falling and catching and the internal giggles.

Exactly ... this is my favorite ski photo because it was taken right at that moment of weightlessness, while I was pointing them straight down -- just looking at the picture, I get that funny falling feeling in my stomach. Whee!

I always thought the coolest thing about skiing is that you can get that feeling at any level of ability, from greens on up.
post #34 of 39
one thing I think that I have come to realize is that skiing is so much more than technique and form, it's know how to read a line, overcome unrealistic fears, having confidence in your abilities ( I used to to be much too focused on this) - this is something I think an instructor some times needs to be assertive about. So often a lesson is a How to do this or that, but the real "ahha moment" for me was less thinking, more skiing. (still much work to do) Clinics like the one I did in Valle with Dan (who will be in Aspen) taught me so much more than just physical skills.  So Fear is something that exists on many levels, Confidence comes from overcoming those fears that are non-existent (or exaggerated) and allowing you to do what you know you can.
post #35 of 39

I think in that case it has gone from worry to fear.
Personally, I probably don’t worry enough and I wish I paid more attention to my fears. I blame the Marine Corps for that.
18 months ago I tore my acl and mcl because I was over confident and chose to face my fear. I thought my skiing ability was plenty enough for the task even though the environment scared the crap out of me! I was fool heartedly going up Tuckerman’s Ravine, watched someone do a rag doll fall right passed me, and put all those tax dollars you nice folks spent on my Marine Corps training to work and stayed on task; dumbass.
I remember thinking “Screw up and you could die.” and “ ‘F’ it. Who wants to live for ever?!”   Right before I pushed off it was “Quit being a p*s*y and go!” Three turns later I’m on my back sliding head first to what I’m anticipating to be the last 30 seconds of my life. ACL seemed like a fair trade so I’m not complaining.
So, was I courageous for facing my fear or a dumbass for not knowing my real ability level and having too much confidence?
My thoughts are that lack of confidence would have kept me of the 60 deg pitch I was on. That’s twice as steep as most double black diamond trails. Trails that I didn’t usually go on.
Fear and confidence are dance partners that take turns at being the lead, but they have different agendas.

post #36 of 39
Originally Posted by weems View Post

 There are some really nice distinctions being drawn here. 

 I will add only that I sense confidence being more about performance anxiety and fear being more about annihilation.  


Very well put.  In the eye of the beholder - skier.
post #37 of 39
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post

 Excellent weems, it brings to mind something my father used to say about "worrying."  A third term, but related to fear and lack of confidence.  He was a CPA.

He said worrying was "borrowing trouble."

Expanding on this, if something bad might happen, and we feel, even act - as if it will.  We are borrowing that trouble (and paying interest on it) - and it may not even happen, but we experience it just the same.  What a waste.

Wait for the trouble to happen before experiencing it.  Don't worry.  

As pointed out above, this can be a dangerous attitude when taken to extremes.  Don't worry, just go bomb down that double-black!  You'll be fine!  :-)

Considering possible negative outcomes is okay.  (In my day job I'm an engineer who works on computer data storage systems -- contingency planning is a good thing.)  The problem is when you focus on (possible) bad results exclusively, or dream up nightmare scenarios all the time, to the extent that you're unable to function effectively.  If you look down a slope and say to yourself "boy, that looks dangerous", the next step shouldn't be "holy crap, I'm paralyzed with fear", but "okay, that looks scary, but I'm going to do X, Y and Z to minimize the risk".  And one of those things might be "go ski somewhere else"!
post #38 of 39
Wait for the trouble to happen before experiencing it.  Don't worry.   

I disagree. "If you fail to prepare, you're preparing to fail." I believe in (at least mentally) walking through all the scenarios so you have an idea of what to do in case something goes wrong. Taking the time and making the effort to learn to ski well takes care of much of the risk and the associated fear(s) of inadequacy in the face of such risks. PSIA should throw an anchor into the concept that good ski technique and practice at making smart decisions are the first and best defenses against the inherent risks in skiing. 
post #39 of 39
 OK everybody I do agree that you need to prepare, I was just talking about worrying.

One can prepare and be cautious without the emotional baggage that I was describing of borrowing trouble.
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