Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fear is based on perception and not reality

A magazine article by the aerobatics pilot Patty Wagstaff in the May issue of Plane & Pilot titled "It’s your perception, not always reality, that causes fear" has excellent advice on handling emergencies that also applies to giving presentations. She said:

“Fear is a reaction based on perception, and fear isn't the reaction we want to have when the you-know-what hits the fan. Perception isn't necessarily truth or reality. We perceive events the way we want to see them, and are conditioned and trained to see them a certain way....

Reacting to emergencies with confidence and not fear is about our perception of the event. Are we prepared? Have we practiced?”

Patty discussed the very first time the propeller of her plane stopped turning while she was doing a tailslide. That’s a maneuver where you first point the nose straight up and begin a vertical  climb. Then you ease back on the throttle, so the plane comes to a stop and begins to fall downward, tail first. At that point you need to turn the plane around so you’re in a dive going forward, not backward.

Although she knew theoretically that the propeller could stop, the real event freaked her out so much that she lost half of her initial 4000 foot altitude before she got the engine restarted and regained full control.

A tailslide in a jet plane looks like this:

The image of her plane came from Wikimedia Commons.

1 comment:

Chris and Cathy said...

Wow...watching that video I felt sick to my stomach hehe. I certainly agree with perception creating fearfulness. When we aren't 100% confident in the end result of actions, doubt can slide in and grow with our own imagination.

Repetition seems to help change our perception, which reduces our fear.