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How Bear Grylls Overcame His Fear of Parachuting After Breaking his Back

Anyone who has followed Bear Grylls knows that he is an expert in survival and outdoor adventure. He spent three years as a soldier in the SAS Reserves and, in addition to showing off his skills in TV shows like Running Wild, he is also a chief scout. 

It might seem like this man feels no fear, but sometimes it is quite the opposite.

When he was 21, Bear had a free-fall parachuting accident in Africa. He broke his back in three places and spent months in rehabilitation.

After he recovered, he was more determined than ever and became one of the youngest climbers ever to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

However, since his accident, he says that he still finds it scary to jump out of a plane.

A Shattered World

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Image by Sylwia Dunda

Bear wrote about the accident in his autobiography, Never Give Up

“It was a routine parachute jump in Africa. It’s getting dark, and I’m free-falling past 4,000ft. Time to pull. I look up, to check the canopy is open, but something’s very wrong. I’m struggling to control it. I’m still falling . . . way too fast. I’m too low now to use the reserve. I brace for the impact. My world goes black.”

Bear says that when he woke up, he could not move. His back was broken in three different places. He spent months in rehabilitation, learning to walk again, and eventually being able to climb.

Facing his Fears

While the accident didn’t put him off doing parachute jumps altogether, he says that every time he does it, he has to face his fears.

“Don’t get me wrong, I dread the jumps, and I dread the nights before,” he says in Never Give Up. “That roar of the wind as the plane door opens. Terrible!”

Bear’s answer is to face the fear, not to run from it. He says that by facing fears, he has learned that they often melt away. “The only true way over our fears is right through the middle,” he says.

We All Face Battles

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Image by WillowPix

What Bear writes is a good reminder that no matter who we are, we all face battles and tests in life.

“Whoever we are, life will test us physically, mentally, emotionally. How we react to that testing determines everything,” he says. “Because life doesn’t always reward the brilliant, or the talented. It doesn’t really care about the exam results, the good looks, the letters after a name. No, life rewards the dogged, the determined, those who can walk towards their fears despite the giants.”

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