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Technically Speaking

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11. Mai 2011, 12:13

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Technically Speaking

The Attitude


As divers we train to develop our diving skills and knowledge. We then
improve on those aspects of our diving ability by practisegetting in the
water and diving. There are a great many virtues a technical diver may
possess; knowledge, good judgement, experience, physical strength, stamina,
diving skills and many more but perhaps the most important of all virtues
is a sound attitude. Without it a diver may be unknowingly putting himself
or herself at risk. So where do we begin to address such a complex and
variable issue such as attitude? Like anything, we can break it down into
components.

For a technical diver a good attitude might begin with humility. Someone
once said that humility is to make a right estimate of one's self. A key
concept when we talk about recognizing your limitations. A diver who has an
inflated sense of ego can easily get him into a lot of trouble by
overestimating their abilities. It is important to dive within your means,
and knowing those means requires an honest self-evaluation of what you know
and what you can physically and mentally handle. This is one of the
toughest things to do in diving especially when peer pressure is added to
the equation.

In addition to humility a good technical diver will always keep an open
mind. Always look at different ways to perfect your diving style and
appreciate what other divers have to share, including those less
experienced than yourself. It is easy to begin to assume that a particular
diving style, piece of equipment, diving law or training techniques is the
one and only. Life and evolution is about change and even though sometimes
something different can be very difficult to accept, there is always some
chance it is valid. Without having that kind of attitude we cannot adapt to
our external environment. A technical diver's golden rule to survival is
never quitting. We do whatever it takes to survive the seemingly
impossible. Believe you can or believe you can't, either way you are right.
Stress management training and survival skills development begin with an
attitude that teaches a technical diver that under no circumstances is he
or she to give up, that staying alive is an A1 priority and if you set your
mind to it you can overcome anything. It is this discipline that has saved
many lives in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

When we discuss respect we are subject to a personal level of value that
each diver maintains. A diver first needs to respect himself and the person
he is diving with. They must also respect the equipment they are diving
with, the training required to complete the diving, the environment and of
course the risks involved in the dive. Failure to do so can lead to
complacency and subsequently self-preservation.

This brings us to honestybeing honest with yourself about your abilities
and present state of mind. Those who cannot critically assess what their
limitations are will predispose themselves to an unacceptable amount of
risk. Self-evaluation can be difficult at times, as we are either over or
under confidant. We might even consider a balanced sense of confidence an
important part of attitude.

One of the most serious viruses that can inflict a healthy attitude is
ignorance. George Bernard Shaw said it best; 'No man can be a pure
specialist without being in the strict sense an idiot.' By assuming we are
above learning or at a state where we can no longer better our position, we
only feed an illusion. We are obliged to always give due and fair trial to
new ideas and concepts. It is what keeps the evolution of technical diving
fresh.

Take a brief moment and consider the attitude you maintain towards diving.
List on a piece of paper as many of the virtues you would like to think are
important to a technical diver. Then ask yourself, "Does my attitude
honestly reflect most of these attributes?" Chances are you will find a
refreshing need to improve on your approach to diving emotionally. I say
refreshing because you have identified values that will make you perform
better both in and out of the water. You will find yourself in a better
position to learn. Keep in mind that this is a very personal exercise and
there is no need to share your answers with anyone. Lastly, do the
exercise! If you think that this exercise is futile or not very useful than
go back and reread the previous paragraph.

It is true - diving is 40% physical and 60% emotional. That emotional state
begins with attitude and we have only begun to address some of the virtues
of attitude. Finally keep in mind that everything needs to be kept in
perspective. Diving should be fun, but it has to be safe.

Toine Peeters
Scuba Tech Diving The Netherlands


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