Fear is an illusion

We think that Fear is real, that it is something that needs to be overcome.

Although that isn’t untrue, the misconceptions around Fear and what Fear actually is, is seriously leading us all down the wrong path.

Fear is a mind created illusion, that is stopping all of us from achieving whatever we desire in life.

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Andrew Hackett: Good day, and welcome to Illimitable Living. I'm Andrew Hackett and I'm here to talk about living a life free from fear's restrictive boundaries so that you can not only live a limitless life, but so that you can become truly illimitable.

I am here in sunny Australia, talking with my remarkable co-host, Patricia Morris, as we take you on a journey delving deep into the mysteries of the universe and how we live within it.

Join me on a journey towards living a truly limitless life on the Illimitable Living podcast.

Good day, everybody. You're listening to Illimitable Living and I am here with my remarkable co-host, Patricia Morris.

Good day, Patricia. How are you doing this week?

Patricia Morris: I am doing wonderful, thank you.

Andrew Hackett: So fabulous to have you here. So, tell me, what is it you wanted to talk about today?

Patricia Morris: Well, you were telling me an interesting story on one of our off-the-air conversations about how you were jumping out of an airplane and how fear can be such an illusion for us. I thought that would be an excellent topic for our listeners to hear today because I do believe that we all find ourselves in a state of fear from time to time, even if we are conscious of trying not to be in that vibration or that frequency.

The story you told was excellent. I think the listeners would have a very good time hearing that story, and it would help connect it in their minds what we're meaning about fear being an illusion.

Andrew Hackett: Oh, yeah. Great topic.

Yeah, look, it's an interesting story, too. It's an interesting story I use to try and get across to people how much fear is an illusion in their life. I talk about, even in my first book, Free from Fear, that fear is like the illusive rainbow. A rainbow, as we know, is just a simple illusion. It's, effectively, light coming from behind you, like the sun, refracting through raindrops that are happening in front of you, and the closer you get to it, the further it moves away, until it eventually disappears.

I see fear very much as the same thing because, to me, the way the ego operates in our mind, and the way it constantly chatters in our ear, and the fact that the ego is created from fear, by fear, its constructed of fear, it means that anything the ego says can't be true.

It can't speak a language of love, it can't speak a language of truth and honesty, which means that everything that it says is, in fact, a lie. If it's telling us that we're afraid of something and that we shouldn't be able to do something, and all that sort of stuff, I think it's actually up to us to prove it wrong.

I say to people all the time, and this is some of the work that I do with people who are in a whole range of different fears, is getting them to actually confront their fears in a very safe and a very loving way, of which I'm there helping them through the process.

It was back in 2017 ... So, I released my first book, Free from Fear, in September 2017, but before I released that I wanted to make sure that I was walking my walk, I was talking my talk, I was, in fact, being the example that I seek to be. I didn't want to be coming across as unauthentic, I didn't want to be coming across as someone who wasn't living their truth.

So I wanted to put myself in a pretty scary situation because I haven't felt fear in a number of years. I'd been working, through my life this is one of the reasons why I wrote my book Free from Fear, is to try and help people get out of this constant fear-driven diatribe that is our every day.

So, I thought, well, if I'm going to do what I plan to do, and that is help people, and lead people down a path in confronting their fears and dealing with their fears so that they can live a life of fearlessness, or limitlessness in every day, ultimately speaking, what I needed to do is I needed to put myself in a situation that wasn't just a normal fear-based situation, because I wasn't experiencing normal fear like most people do, and haven't done for some period of time. I wanted to put myself in a situation that was pretty terrifying stuff.

Patricia Morris: Mm-hmm.

Andrew Hackett: Look, as you mentioned, the outcome of that exploration, for me, regards to wanting to put myself into that terrifying situation, I decided I wanted to skydive. Now, I really want to be crystal clear with everybody here, I'm not talking about a tandem skydive. Not that there's anything wrong with a tandem skydive, I did a tandem skydive 20-odd years ago. I'm talking about learning to skydive solo, actually getting my license to skydive.

Patricia Morris: Oh, I thought it was a tandem. Oh wow, this gets even better.

Andrew Hackett: Yeah, you're right. Look, it's a very different thing. For a guy who's, perhaps, a little bit overweight and 40-something, and traditionally a bit of a desk jockey. I mean, I'm not a sports freak, I'm not a highly capable man who, I don't know, who might work in the army, or as a laborer, or someone like that, who's physically, shall we say, very, very capable. I'm a desk jockey, I sit at a desk as a management consultant for many, many years, and now I help people overcome their fears in a variety of different ways.

I wanted to put myself in this situation because, to me, my understanding is, we have two natural fears. Two fears that we're born with. Every other fear we ever develop over our life is learned, it's an educated behavior, whereas we have two natural fears. That's a fear of loneliness and that's the fear of heights.

Now, one is fairly obvious, it's all about saving us from stepping off a cliff and hurting ourselves. So, [inaudible 00:06:07] to our ultimate death. So, it helps us with the continuity of our life. The other one, the fear of loneliness, is actually about helping with the continuity of humanity, so that breed and we multiply. All other fears are learned behaviors, every single last one of them.

So I thought, well, if I'm going to deal with a fear, let's deal with a fear that we know is completely natural and normal, and deal with it in an extraordinarily extreme way. Obviously I had to do it in a way that's safe, because obviously there's no point in doing it any other way, because [inaudible 00:06:38] I wouldn't be here to talk to you today.

So, there are rules. The Australian Parachute Federation have rules about how this happens. To get your A-license you have to do 15 jumps, of those ... I think the first three jumps are done with two instructors, although they're not connected with you they do hold on to your arms and legs as you physically jump out of the plane, and that's more for stability and so you don't freak out. Then I think jumps three to six are done with one instructor, and I think jumps from there to 15 are, effectively, done with just an instructor also jumping out with you, but not in any way holding on to you or anything like that. Okay? Just to give people a bit of a picture of what's happening.

Patricia Morris: Okay.

Andrew Hackett: Obviously we're in the right safety gear. We're in a full jumpsuit where, obviously, you got a helmet on, we've got goggles on. The jumpsuit actually has a couple of very lightweight sort of handles on the arms and legs, and that helps the instructors hold on to it.

When I started jumping, you have to do a one day theory course, which is a Monday morning, and you spend the day doing all the theory. Running through all of the safety scenarios, running through all of the emergency procedures, and all this sort of stuff. You do this relentlessly, until it becomes a habit, effectively. Which is great.

Tuesday morning was the first morning of my jump. Now, the interesting thing was is the fear-based scenario, and I booked it months out in advance, honestly, probably thinking that I had plenty of time to cancel it if I [inaudible 00:08:02], to get out of it while I could.

Patricia Morris: Right.

Andrew Hackett: But, of course, being the busy guy that I am, it happened, that time passed very, very quickly and D-day arrived.

The fear process, when I actually analyze it, actually started, probably, the morning of arriving, on the Monday morning. Not the morning of the jump. Although they make you feel very at home and they make you feel very at ease about a number of things, the fear process has already begun by that stage.

As the day went on, I went home, I was pretty exhausted after the end of day one with all of the theory and the lessons we had to do. To arrive 07:00 AM Tuesday morning, it was an overcast day. The thought of doing my first jumps in cloud cover didn't terribly excite me much, and, at the time I was jumping I was ... The dive center that's nearby, I think it's only about ten minutes from where I live, and it's a beautiful spot here on the coast, on the New South Wales Coast of Australia.

They had a small little Cessna plane. It's a little single-winged, small aircraft. It has a seat for the pilot, but no seats inside, and you can barely fit five people in there, in addition to the pilot. So, it's a very, very small craft.

Part of the exit procedure is to climb out onto a peg that is about a foot, maybe a foot-and-a-half, long, and about two inches thick. So you literally have to climb out of this aircraft onto this peg, where you put your feet, and you hang over the wing strut.

The wing is above the cabin. I know, it's pretty, even just the thought of it now.

Patricia Morris: Oh my gosh. My heart is just pounding just thinking of it.

Andrew Hackett: I've got some video footage of it, which I'd love to share with the world one day, although my elegance of jumping out a planes took a while to master, but the-

Patricia Morris: Oh, geez.

Andrew Hackett: Yeah. So, it's interesting. Of the morning, we get ready and we get all suited up. We get into our jumpsuits and with everything ready to go we put our jump pack on. We run through our emergency procedures again and again and again and again, and we even test climbing out of the plane and all that sort of stuff while it's on the ground.

Then, when we start to talk about, what we called, the landing sequence, which is the last thing we do before we jump into the plane ... There is this landing sequence that you have to do so that as you start to get 1,000 feet above the ground, or 1,500 feet above the ground, you start to move in a certain pattern where you go down wind and then across wind. Then you, the last few hundred meters is, effectively, you're flying into the wind with your chute open, and that'll slow you down, all that sort of stuff.

So, when they're going through the landing sequence, to be quite honest with you, I honestly didn't really take much of it on board. Partly, that's because I was, probably, best described as, in bit of a state of panic by that stage because although I was prepared and I was ready and all that sort of stuff, I didn't feel it. I knew that on this cold and overcast day in April, 2017 it was, it was really dawning on me that I was actually about to jump into a perfectly serviceable aircraft to jump out of it again. At this stage, the first jump was at 12,500 feet.

As you can imagine, this sort of stuff starts to build on me, really starts to sit on your tummy. Now, when we start to enter a fight/flight response, a whole range of things tend to happen. One, we lose our hunger, sometimes the body wants to evacuate, so we need to go to the toilet before we do a jump, and sometimes we also can get quite nauseous, and sometimes we want to throw up. Now, fortunately that didn't happen to me and I've generally got a pretty strong stomach.

However, we get caught up in our head and the ego gets ahold of us and starts chattering, where you're going, "This is not really going to go well. I don't think you can do this," you know? "You're a fat middle-aged guy, desk jockey, what are you thinking?" You know? Blah-blah-blah-blah.

All of this starts to run through your head as they're trying to talk through the landing sequence. Yes, they ask you to repeat back the landing sequence and all that sort of stuff, to confirm it all and everything like that, which I did.

Then, of course, it came time into jump into the plane. So we jumped into the plane, and look, the view from any aircraft is beautiful, particularly a small Cessna. The window's great, particularly when you're right on the coast and you're jumping at a coastal airport. You get to see the whales and the ocean and the schools of fish and all that sorts of stuff. It's just beautiful-

Patricia Morris: Oh, it's breathtaking.

Andrew Hackett: Time of year. It's fabulous. It's remarkable. Although it was an overcast day, the water was still beautiful and all that sort of stuff.

It was about 7,000 or 8,000 feet we got into cloud cover and we didn't come out of cloud cover. So even though I jumped at 12,500 feet, doing it in cloud cover, where the ice is biting against your cheeks, because it's very cold up there, and you can feel it on your hands, and even the wing strut you got to climb out on and the pedal is kind of icy, as well. It all adds to a little bit of the terror.

As you're going up and up you can feel this fear building up inside you, and it's very normal. None of this is extraordinary, it's quite normal for it all to happen. The reason why I was doing this was to analyze it, to think about it, to go through it and to record it for future purposes.

So, I can start feeling this knot building up in my stomach, and it was getting stronger and stronger. I started to feel that my breathing was starting to change. My mind was starting to race, and everything like that, about, "What am I going to do?" And all that sort of stuff, but I had to push through, I had to face my fears, because that's what I help people with, so I've got to lead by example.

At about the three minute point the red light comes one above the door, which, in this particular aircraft, actually, was actually at the back of the aircraft. Not the door, the light. So, the red light comes on to signify three minutes until jump. So you use that opportunity to make sure your helmet and everything is on properly, your goggles are on, your radio is switched on. There's a little radio that sits in your ear, which helps the ground communicate with you, because once, of course, you've pulled your chute, your instructors are no longer with you, and you have to land yourself. There's no-one else to land for you. So you've got to land yourself, so there's an instructor on the ground talking you through the process to help you out.

So, radio is on, channels, we all check that, we check our safety procedures and everything like that again before we hop out, just in case.

Now, if anybody doesn't know about skydiving, you have, actually, two chutes in the one pack. The bottom of the pack has an emergency chute. Your main chute is at the top of the pack, but your bottom pack is where the emergency chute it. I hope I've got that the right way round, but anyway. The purpose of the emergency chute is, if you open your first chute and it becomes tangled in itself, effectively, you use a particular set of levers on your chute to actually cut it free, which sends it off into the ether. Then you have to re-deploy your second chute, which is your emergency chute. The whole point of that is, obviously, so that you've got a plan B as you're coming down.

Patricia Morris: Wow, and you only have seconds between all this, right? It's not like you have a couple of minutes to think about this entire process, you have to do it on the fly, is that kind of what it's like?

Andrew Hackett: Yeah. That's why you practice these emergency procedures over and over and over again. Because yes, you're right. Once you get to a point, which is, when you first couple of jumps it's about 5,500 feet. The absolute hard deck is about 2,500 feet, but the learning hard deck is 5,500 feet. The idea is that when you pull it there, it takes about 1,000 feet, and about six or seven seconds, for the chute to completely, fully open.

If you get to that point and the chute hasn't fully opened, [inaudible 00:15:59] tangled, you need to very quickly make a decision because you're still falling at speed, albeit not terminal velocity because your chute has at least slowed something down, even if it's not fully opened, but then you need to cut it loose and then re-open the other chute. Now, keeping in mind that re-opening the other chute will take probably another six seconds, probably another 1,000 feet.

The idea is, if you start at 5,500 and you realize at 4,500, you make the decision by 4,000 feet, then you've got only another 1,000 feet before you even get close to absolute hard deck, and you don't want to be near that hard deck because things can get really complicated by that stage.

Patricia Morris: Oh. I'm shaking my head over here.

Andrew Hackett: I know, I know.

Patricia Morris: You can't see it, but I'm shaking my head over here.

Andrew Hackett: Look, honestly, even though I've done a number of jumps now, even just talking through it all still gets my natural reactions going.

So, the three minute light comes on, we've checked everything, we're wearing everything that we should be wearing, the radio is switched on, we go through our safety checks, and then suddenly the green light comes on. That's the green light which means, ready to jump, door open.

Patricia Morris: Let's go. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Andrew Hackett: Now, in this particular circumstance I have an instructor in front of me and I have an instructor behind me. Ultimately, they're there to keep everything balanced and all checks and balances in place from a safety perspective. So, the first instructor climbs out with his foot on the peg and he, literally, hangs backwards while hanging onto the wing strut. That gives me space to climb out onto the peg.

Then, the process ... The reason why we have a process, same way that all organizations have processes, is when you're focused on the process, you're less inclined to be caught up in the emotional context of what's going on, e.g. you're less inclined to be caught up in the fear-based scenario. So the process is really, really important.

So, I have to sort of shuffle backwards, and then I get to the door and it's right foot out, left arm out, which I reach out and grab the wing strut, then left foot out. You have to cross the left foot out over the right foot. Then, as you put your right foot out, and you either grab the other bit of the wing strut, you've got to lean over the wing strut so that you are then parallel with the ground, one foot on the peg, the other foot back, and you're, literally, leaning forward with your chest. The middle bit of your chest right on the wing strut. So, you're looking all the way forward.

Of course, you're doing that with 100 knots of prop speed. So, the wind that comes off the propeller and everything like that hitting you in the face. With an instructor to your outside, and another instructor still within the plane, and you've got to hang there for a second while you get your thoughts together. This is, again, 12,000 feet above the ground, and although I'm in cloud cover and I can't see the ground, I'm not too sure whether that helped me or not. When the wind strut is icy, you can feel the ice biting against your cheeks and all that sort of stuff, you start to realize the predicament of what you're about to do.

Process then goes on. You check with your outside instructor, you give him a nod, and they nod back, obviously to say, "Yeah, we're all good to go." You check with the inside instructor, check they're all good to go. Yep, they're good to go, and then you push up, push down and push off. The 1-2-3.

So, of course, again, focusing on the procedure. The fear-based scenario builds up while you're in the plane, and it gets bigger and bigger and bigger until the process kicks in. As soon as the process kicks in, it's amazing how quickly the fear falls away because you're then focused something, your present.

I say all of the time, and it's not just me, Eckhart Tolle says the same thing, when you are present, fear cannot exist. When you are present your problems can't exist. Issues, things going wrong in your life, they just can't exist when you are present.

This is the reason why processes are so important, because it helps you maintain presence in a state that might otherwise be quite confrontational, or difficult to deal with. It's another reason why defense forces and everything like that have processes for everything. So, when you're in that state, you're just following that.

After I push off, of course, that's where the elegance really starts to happen because even though you know, logically, what's going on, the body still feels like it's falling because you're suddenly not on anything hard, like the wing peg or the wing strut. You can, also, because you got to keep your head up, you can also watch this plane disappear above you as you fall down, and even though you got instructors holding on to your arms and legs either side, you kind of kick a little bit, like someone falling out of a plane, believe it or not.

It takes a while, it takes a number of jumps to get the elegance happening where you actually swan dive out, or do a backward summersault out, or anything like that. In other words, you do it without kicking your arms and legs around like you're falling to your certain death. But eventually you get stable.

Now, my first couple of jumps, it took me 1,000 feet, or maybe even more, to get stable. It's the arms out, legs out sort of position where you almost act like a bit of a shuttlecock. You know the type of thing that they use for badminton? Where, if you can arch your back and keep your arms and legs back, you act almost like a bit of a bullet falling through the air, although not as dramatically. It creates stabilization.

As soon as you stabilize, you come back to yourself and you think, "Oh, okay I'm stable. This is okay." It's still noisy, you're still watching the ground come closer and closer and closer, but you then have time.

So you free-fall at about 12,500 feet. It's about, I don't know, 40 seconds. At 15,000 feet, it's about a minute. So you free-fall, you've got that period of time to, first of all, the first thing you've got to do, and again, this is why we have a process, is to keep you focused on what you got to do. You got to check your chute release, so it's a little leather ball filled with sand or beans and it hangs down just to your lower part of your back. That's where it sits.

So you reach back to make sure you can find it, and you do that a couple of times. It proves to your instructor that you've got your head about you, you're okay, you're not freaking out, blah-blah-blah, but more to the point, you know where your chute is so you can pull it. Then you got to check your altimeter, then you've got to go through a series of processes.

Now, each jump that you do, of course, you learn more and more about skydiving, and you learn more and more about moving through the air and all that sort of stuff. But in this first jump it's just, "Let's all keep it simple, find out where your chute is, check your altimeter, find out where your chute is, check your altimeter, great." And just get a feel for the air, just get a feel for this free-fall because once you stabilize you actually don't feel, you don't have a feeling of falling anymore. You feel more like you are flying on a pocket of air. It's quite a beautiful feeling.

Patricia Morris: So are you still scared at this point, or afraid at this point, or any of that?

Andrew Hackett: Look, honestly, no.

Patricia Morris: Okay.

Andrew Hackett: No. No. Once you actually let go, you have this initial freak out, which gets your legs and arms kicking, but as soon as you stabilize it disappears because you suddenly, you don't have time for fear anymore.

Patricia Morris: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Andrew Hackett: You honestly don't have time for it. You just sort of sit back and ... Because, of course, you got to remember the whole fight and flight response and what happens within the body. Your adrenalin has kicked in.

Patricia Morris: Right.

Andrew Hackett: So your adrenalin is racing a million miles an hour. So, if anything, you feel, almost, a little bit more invincible than you do fearful, and you know you've got to go through the process, and you've got instructors there to remind you as well.

As you get lower and lower and lower, and you can tell this by the altimeter, which is like a watch that you have on your arm, and you check it regularly to see how far off the ground you are. That is all, manages it by air pressure.

Patricia Morris: Oh, okay. Okay.

Andrew Hackett: It tells you how far you are. So you know that by, because of your training, that you get to about 5,500 feet and you know that you need to wave off your instructors and then pull your chute. That's all part of the process.

The interesting thing with all of this is, ultimately speaking, you pull your chute, you suddenly go from this arms and legs out, horizontal position, to a vertical position very rapidly. Your instructors have moved well and truly out of your way by this stage because they're off to organize their own landing, and you start counting to six. Now, again, it's all about focusing on the process, because if you've got a process to focus on you don't allow fear to really inject into your experience.

The reason why you count to six is it takes about six seconds for your chute to deploy and fully. For all the air to get in underneath, and for it to expand to its beautiful position that it needs to be in. The reason why you count to six, as well, is also so you don't freak out because it hasn't filled quickly enough.

Patricia Morris: Wow, okay.

Andrew Hackett: So you don't get halfway through the process, three seconds, and go, "Oh, my God, it's not going to, I'm going to cut it loose," and then do it that way. You got to give it time. As it, you do feel yourself slowly decelerating, slowing down in regards to your descent.

Then the most remarkable thing happens, and it certainly happened for me. This emotional wave just shot up from this knot that was in my stomach, and it shot up straight up through my chest and out my mouth, and I just burst into what can only be described as uncontrollable tears of joy.

Patricia Morris: Oh, wow.

Andrew Hackett: Because you've just, you know? You've experienced a moment, albeit unconsciously because you focused on the process, of falling to your death, and then the chute opens and you suddenly realize, "Oh, my God, I'm okay. I can do this. This is all-

Patricia Morris: "My life is not going to end."

Andrew Hackett: "My life is not going to end," that's exactly right.

The free-falling itself, it happens in slow motion, it really does, as you could probably expect. Like anything that's absolutely terrifying often does.

Okay. Sorry guys, I'm really selling this, I know, but it's all part of the process.

Okay. So then, once your chute opens, you're happy about that, you grab your little toggles, which are your little levers, which is two little red handles either side of your harness that is above your head. You grab them and your radio suddenly comes alive, so you hear the instructor on the ground and they instruct you then to pull down on your toggles. What it does, they call it a flare, so you check that the flare works.

Now, that happens for two reasons. One, to make sure it works, but two, if your canopy has, for any reason, not filled completely properly, but it's still not tangled, by flaring your chute it'll help the actual parachute fill properly, if for whatever reason it hasn't. So, it's another safety step.

Then, you know you've got about another minute of flying under the canopy before you get near the ground, so you pull the left one or you pull the right one, and that helps you turn around and you have a bit of fun there. Of course, first time round you don't want to pull too hard because you're worried you're going to break something and then start falling again, or something like that. Of course, because these sorts of thoughts still coming into your head.

Then when you get about 2,000 feet, 3,000 feet, you start to think, "Okay, I need to position myself for my landing sequence." Suddenly the landing sequence that you weren't really hearing properly, it suddenly comes into your head, and then the instructor starts talking you through the landing sequence.

Patricia Morris: Oh, okay.

Andrew Hackett: Now, the beautiful thing about parachuting is, the thing I love about skydiving is, I always was worried that the landing was going to be a little harsh, it's a little bit of a thump. But when you do it properly, in all honesty with you, it's no different from stepping off a step. Literally from one step onto the ground. It can be quite a gentle and quite a beautiful experience.

Fortunately for me, I nailed my first landing, and I remember sitting on the ground there for a minute gathering my thoughts as another wave of emotional tears just rolled over me.

Patricia Morris: Yeah. I was going to ask you what the landing is like emotionally for you, yeah.

Andrew Hackett: It is extraordinary, yeah. Even the instructor knew. I mean, the instructors, the guys I jumped with, it was a guy and a girl, the first one, they'd [inaudible 00:28:20] something like 9,000 and 8,000 jumps between them. An instructor that I picked up a little bit later on had 13,000 jumps under his belt.

Patricia Morris: So they probably have seen it all, I'm sure.

Andrew Hackett: Oh, absolutely, that's exactly right. Even the guy on the radio knows, as soon as you land, you have this big emotional moment. He just said to me, "Give me a thumbs up if you're okay," and I gave him the thumbs up. He was a few hundred meters away from me, and I just sat there for a few minutes and gathered my thoughts.

The beautiful moment, and you can probably hear the emotion in me right now, just remembering it, the beautiful moment of it all is is that you suddenly start to realize a whole range of different things. I never thought myself, again, being a slightly overweight, middle-aged, desk jockey, the type of guy that could, in fact, jump out of a plane and having fun doing it, let alone pull it off and not end up going splat on the ground.

You suddenly start to realize certain things, that your fears are disillusioned. I kind of already knew that they were, but you start to realize there is more going on out there, and the present moment that comes from that adrenalin-fueled response is quite remarkable. It's the one reason why adrenalin junkies do what they do, because it is the one foolproof way that they can come back to the moment and be forever present.

The irony of that is, of course, we can all be present at any point in time, we've just got to choose to and practice how to and all that sort of stuff, and that's really important, but ultimately speaking, this process for me was about understanding and learning again what extreme fear felt like, so I could analyze it and explain it to people.

Now, look, to be quite honest with you, Patricia, the vast majority of people wouldn't even think of skydiving as a way of trying to prove something to themselves. I did it for a whole range of different reasons. One, the obvious reason, like I've stated, was to learn about fear again and to analyze it.

Two was to prove myself as a 40-something, middle-aged sort of guy, that I can still do new and exciting things. I also wanted to prove to my teenage boys that just because you're a dad, or just because you're older, doesn't mean you can't learn new things and do new things. In fact, my eldest boy, and I was so excited about it and hearing about it and all that sort of stuff, his 13th birthday present he really wanted to do a tandem skydive for his 13th birthday.

These little things are so beautiful to us. If we can just take the opportunity to get out of our fear-driven ago and explore things. Be a little bit brave, a little bit courageous to just, pardon the pun, but to step off that ledge.

It doesn't matter whether it's ... I once had a fear of speaking publicly, I had a fear of exposing my story to the world, particularly a story that I hadn't even shared with friends and family, and there I was putting it in a book and sending it out for the whole world to quietly digest.

These fears, no matter what they are, they are truly an illusion. They are completely a fabrication created by our egoic mind. As soon as we can realize that, we start to realize that we are, in fact, capable of being completely limitless. Limitlessness comes from the first stages of being free from fear, and then working through those states until we become fearless. Then once we become fearless we can start to open ourselves up to more possibilities as we move towards becoming limitless.

I very clearly say, "I don't care ..." I work with people from ages of 33 to 78, I think is my oldest client. It doesn't matter how old you are, it's never, ever too late to do something about fear in your life. It doesn't have to be a fear of heights, it doesn't have to be a fear of, perhaps, being lonely, which are very normal fears.

It could be a fear of not being liked, it could be fear of not being able to do your job properly, a fear of not being able to provide for your children, put a roof over your head, a fear of not being able to cope or get by. All of these are very everyday fears that we all experience. Every single one of the can be overcome. We've just got to make a choice, and that choice is to do something about it.

Patricia Morris: You mentioned a couple of things that I would like to ask you, if that's okay?

Andrew Hackett: Sure. Of course.

Patricia Morris: Once you overcame that initial fear of the first jump, how did you, let me backtrack, how did that actually free you in your life? Because I know that had to have been a major milestone to accomplishing even more in your life, because once you can conquer that kind of fear, it opens you up to so much more. So, what would you say that was for you?

Andrew Hackett: What it was for me is, it conclusively proved that whatever's going on in our fear-based scenario, it's completely a fabrication. It's completely a lie.

I knew this all in theory. I knew this in a way that I'd helped people and worked with people. I'd also known it in my own life, but to, again, consciously prove it. I want to prove it again, I want to go and learn to bungee jump, for instance. To me, I think that'll be very difficult as well because even though you've got the bungee cord still attached to you, you're also a lot closer to the ground, and the reality of that splat is a little bit more in your face.

So, you know, these are-

Patricia Morris: Yes. I love how you put that splat.

Andrew Hackett: Yeah, that's right. That's right.

It proved to me, beyond all doubt, and I still, to this day, years and years and years afterwards, of practicing a lot of this, I still to this day have not seen any evidence to suggest otherwise. I've not yet seen any evidence that says that fear is not an illusion, and that's because fear is an illusion. It's completely fabricated in our mind by our ego to keep us contained.

I work with beautiful people, albeit broken people, every single day, and the beauty behind that is watching that realization appear in their own minds, in their own hearts, in their own lives. That illusion that fear is in fact illusion, that they can do something about it. That, in fact, they are empowered to do something about it. Just with the right guidance, with the right practitioner, the right help, you can, in fact, overcome this. It does not have to exist in your life-

Patricia Morris: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And with the right process, yeah ... Oh, sorry, didn't mean to interrupt you. Because you mentioned that.

Andrew Hackett: That's right. No, no, you're spot on. No, absolutely. It is a process.

Patricia Morris: Yeah.

Andrew Hackett: Absolutely.

This is the interesting thing here, and this is what I, it took me a number of years to figure out and also why I choose to share what I share with the world. Learning anything is a process, anything at all. Whether you're learning professionally how to be an accountant, or a project manager, or learning how to build something, everything we learn is a process.

Learning to be free from your fear is not any different, it is just process. It's just a process that I figured out over a period of time.

Patricia Morris: I like that. That is perfect.

Andrew Hackett: Absolutely. It can be taught and it can also be learned. To me, that's the easy bit. Anybody can do it. It is, in fact, actually learning the process is incredibly easy.

The difficult bit, the tough but, and I've got to be really honest with everybody here, the tough bit is getting yourself out of the way. Getting out of your head long enough so that you can implement the process. Not once, not twice, not three times, but dozens of times, hundreds of times, thousands of times, until it becomes so second nature it happens automatically. So the second fear pops into your life, you automatically switch it off, you shut it down. This is the beauty behind it all.

A lot of people think that there's this big magical thing going on. It's not. There is a process. Remember what I said earlier, climbing out of that plane? When we focus on the process, we become present. When you are in a state of present, your problems, your issues, your fears cannot exist, it's not possible.

Patricia Morris: Yep. I agree.

Andrew Hackett: If you do it over and over again, focus on the process over and over again, you do two things. One, you become regularly present, which means you spend less time in a fear-driven state. Two, you prove to yourself, over and over again, that fear is an illusion, that the process resolves it, and that you can get out of it at any point in time. Then you turn it into a habit, what we call a beneficial habit, as opposed to a bad habit.

A beneficial habit helps us, empowers us, moves us forward, and you do it longer and longer still, you then create what I call a behavioral baseline. A positive behavioral baseline, Which is, you take that habit, you repeat it for three months until it becomes autonomous, it becomes second nature, like driving a car, or walking down the street. You don't think of every step, you don't think about the steering wheel, you just think about the destination and where you're going and everything happens automatically in your unconscious competent state. That's what we need to get people to because that's where limitlessness exists.

Patricia Morris: Beautiful.

Andrew Hackett: You tap into that, you tap into the universe and the opportunities that the universe and everything provides to you, there is nothing that can stop you, and I mean that quite literally.

Patricia Morris: Beautiful. Wow, thank you for sharing that story. I know you said you were selling that really hard, but I don't think that was really the right word. I think it was just a fascinating story to hear, and very entertaining as well. So, thank you. Yes.

Andrew Hackett: You're very welcome.

Patricia Morris: Pleasure to hear it.

Andrew Hackett: I think the entertainment comes from the fact that I think everybody can recognize the fact that being 12,500 or 15,000 feet in the air-

Patricia Morris: With cloud cover, you got to remember cloud cover.

Andrew Hackett: Well, with cloud cover. [crosstalk 00:38:54], is it?

When you do your jumps, they videotape all of them. All the instructors have GoPros on their helmets, or on their chests and all that sorts of stuff, so that you can then debrief after each jump and figure out what you did wrong, what you right, you know? What happened.

My third jump, which was, in fact, the next day, and this is an interesting story actually. On the Tuesday I did my first jump, which I just described to you. My second jump was a little bit later that same day, so it was a couple of hours after my first jump. As it turned out, I was with two instructors again, I forgot to open my chute on my second jump.

Now, people are probably wondering why am I still here. Well, this is why safety procedures and the processes are so important. The instructor, during the fall, tried to get me to look at my altimeter, and I wasn't checking in with my altimeter, I was focused on other things, my position and everything else was going on.

Ultimately speaking, I just forgot. I came below the hard deck, we got to about 4,500 feet and suddenly he realized that I wasn't focused on the right things, so he reached over and pulled my chute for me.

Which is an interesting thing because, of course, I got to the ground ... As soon as he pulled my chute I'd realized what I'd done wrong, and I realized-

Patricia Morris: Oh, so that's when you hadn't ... Yeah, okay. [crosstalk 00:40:16].

Andrew Hackett: Correct. Yeah, yeah, yeah. A different set of emotions, bit of judgment set in, I got to the ground, I realized what had happened, blah-blah-bah. We did the debrief and he was saying, "Look, I want you to get straight back in the plane again." I said, "Look, you know what? I'm just going to take this as big breath, and I'm going to do my next jump the following day." Which, of course he, thought, I think, at the time, I wouldn't be back, and I think anybody with any sensibility probably wouldn't have been.

Patricia Morris: But you were.

Andrew Hackett: But I was, yeah. I came back the next day and it was a beautiful clear day. My third jump was absolutely spot on. I remembered everything I needed to remember. I had a great time, it was a really positive experience, unlike the second jump, which was quite a negative experience.

Again, the first jump was very positive, the second jump was quite negative, so then fear creeps in again. You know? The ego and doubts and all this sort of stuff creep in again and I thought, "No, I'm going to turn up the next morning and I'm going to jump. Hopefully it'll be a better day," and it was.

The video footage of that, and I watch it quite often, of my third jump because it's the first footage I've got of the camera leaning off the peg. Effectively, right on the wing strut, leaning over the thing, and you can see the ground there, and every single time it takes my breath away. I hope that feeling never passes because although I've done a number of jumps since, the experience of it [inaudible 00:41:41] is so exhilarating because it is this constant reminder of the fear is an illusion, that we can overcome our fears, even something as completely and utterly stark raving mad as jumping out of a plane is. It can be such a beautiful moment.

Look, this is just symbolic. The whole jumping out of a plane thing, it's just symbolic. It doesn't matter what your fear is. It doesn't matter if it's an ingrained phobia of spiders or snakes or something like that, or if it's just fear of being accepted or fear of being liked, or fear of being good at your job, or of messing up. Doesn't matter what that fear is, it can be overcome. I promise you, it can.

We just need to work through the process. We just need to teach it and learn it and practice it over and over and over again. Once you've practiced it with a few of your fears, the rest is yours because you know, you've proven to yourself beyond any doubt that fear is an illusion, that focusing on the process helps you overcome it, and that, in fact, you can overcome any fear that you can possibly come up with.

It's a beautiful moment. It really is.

Patricia Morris: Yes. Yes. I could easily see everything that you were describing, even though I've never done any skydiving myself, you did an excellent description of the entire process. I was just caught up in your story as well, so thank you.

Andrew Hackett: You're very welcome. You're very welcome.

So, thank you everybody for listening to this podcast. I really enjoyed sharing that with you. Remember, this fear, these fears that you have in your head in your day-to-day life, they are, honestly, an illusion. They are a fictitious diatribe created by the ego.

If you ever, ever want to get out of that situation, stop living in fear, stop being controlled your anxiety and your depression and everything like that that leads from it all.

Reach out to me. You can connect with me by searching Andrew Hackett Australia on Facebook, and you can connect with me on Instagram via searching @andrewshackett, but of course, you can go to andrewhackett.com.au at any time and have a look at the range of services and everything that I provide.

Thank you so much, Patricia, it's been an absolute pleasure today.

Patricia Morris: Oh, it's been my pleasure too. Thank you so much for having me again this week, Andrew, I really, really enjoy this every week with you and our listeners.

Andrew Hackett: Thank you. Thank you. The honor is all mine.

Have a great week everybody, speak to you next week.

Patricia Morris: Goodbye.

Andrew Hackett: Thank you for listening to Illimitable Living today. If you want to fond out more about living a truly limitless life, then go to andrewhackett.com.au.

If you want to connect with me, search for Andrew Hackett Australia on Facebook and like my page, or search for @andrewshackett on Instagram and follow me for daily inspirations.

I look forward to connecting with you so that we can start you on your own journey towards Illimitable Living.