Today I had a class in one of my more dangerous activities: parkour. Actually it isn't that dangerous: I've only fallen off a wall once, and I am not yet good enough to run up anything really high.
Parkour is absolutely not competitive, which makes a change. (ok I might have felt a bit smug when a kid in the playground said my cartwheels were the best). We spend so much of our day competing against colleagues, competing against rival businesses etc that sometimes it is nice to do something which is all about challenging yourself. Plus it gives you a whole new appreciation for London's architecture when you see it s something to jump over or run up.
But I love parkour for several reasons: first it is awesome fun but it also challenges you in many ways. You have to be good at balancing (i am terrible) but also strong. An important element of parkour is making controlled movements as the aim is to leave as little trace on your environment as you move through it.
But more importantly a lot of the challenge is mental: until I did parkour I never realised how important fear is and how much it hinders what we can do. I've lost count of the number of times I've stared at a jump thinking there is no way I can do it, made the leap, often with someone there to catch me and then the next time it is easy. Someone from the group I train with posted an interesting blog post today about fear, which I've linked too below; however you don't want the syndrome mentioned in the blog: it's associated with nymphomania!
On a general note: it's amazing what you can achieve if you just let go of your fear and have friends to catch you. In the words of the very talented En Vouge (and Glee) : free your mind and the rest will follow.
This is my last guest column. Emilie will be back next week to undo all the damage and bad advice I have given.