Thrill seekers

I looked up in the sky and felt an uncontrollable urge. Just before take off, all planes were grounded to give the paramedics a change to recover another daredevil. That extra adrenaline rush was just where I was waiting for. Once airborne, I realized that the personskydiving who packed my chute decided not to fly it. I quickly weighted my changes, estimated them at over 50 percent and stepped out. Later I learned a bizarre variant. Two persons would step out at the same time. One person had both parachutes, the other was heading straight to a close and not so gentle encounter with earth. During free fall the first person would reward the other by handing him the second parachute.

Such madness is practiced on a large scale. The intensity at which people enjoy taking risks varies enormously, therefore we like to simplify it by only looking at the extremes. On one hand there are the people who keep a safe distance from everything unusual or dangerous. On the other hand we have individuals who have to behave idiotic each and every day.

What makes those people so different? Draw a coordinate system with the total physical and mental activity level on the horizontal axis and the achievement on the vertical axis. The relation between the two factors is described by an inverse U. In other words, in an extreme drowsy state we achieve nearly nothing, while in extreme anger we achieve nothing either. The optimum is the compromise of what can be experienced from the environment and the sensations that bubble up from within the body itself. The result is a state and a process that can be called optimal. Drowsy persons are said to have a high internal activity level, which they try to lower by avoiding each form of excitement. Thrill seekers on the other hand are said to be in a sense lazy and have to come up with all kind of things that keep them from falling asleep. An indication is the high level of hormones found in both male and female thrill seekers (causal relation?).

Tbreakingouthere is more to it with thrill seekers, as just doing wild things. Many are said to be wits with a special good ability to quickly and creatively learn a variety of new subjects. Doing unusual things could be related with somewhat exceptionally intellectual finery. This creativity could as well be used for criminal purposes, what makes them rather dubious creatures. Even if thrill seekers are not straight delinquent, they will have contempt for authority, fashion and a variety of legal rules. In official terms we are dealing with annoying, self-willed humans who do not like to take orders. In the case of criminal thrill seekers they will differentiate themselves from the others by continuous fighting, disobedience and breaking out.

labkamerThe sexual life of these wretches is powerful. Female thrill seekers strive to all kinds of mental triggers. Moreover they have sex until they smash to pieces with the extremes of the other sex. This may cause collisions, since those men are often more obsessed by idiotic behavior and have more an urge to study art and science than for those sexual scenes.

In brief, such measurements could keep thrill seekers on a somewhat straight line. When all goes wrong the rehabilitation should not have these folks make paper bags. Sea sailing, mountain climbing and training horses will confront the management of these hotels with a faster circulation. Remains us to conclude that the hormone rush of the thrill seeker lowers at the age of thirty. If you find yourself older and recognize this sketch, you may conclude that your situation is hopeless.

For the occasion of my farewell speech at KPN, translated and adapted a newspaper column by Piet Vroom

The 10 commandments

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  • Start each working day with the idea that it may be the last.
  • Ignore all orders that are aimed at destroying your dream.
  • Do whatever it takes to realize your project, despite of your job description.
  • Find people that can help you.
  • Follow your intuition when you select people. Don’t go for second best.
  • Keep a low profile – publicity triggers a company’s immune mechanism.
  • Do not bet on a race if you do not run in it yourself.
  • It is easier to ask forgiveness than approval.
  • Be loyal to your targets but stay realistic on how you may reach them.
  • Honor your sponsors, but don’t let them run you over.

Translated from Jan van Bilzem’s presentation at the BP2000 kickoff.

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