Listening to Fear

I liked this quote from the recent New York Times article by Ed Caesar on Hervé le Gallou, who died while base jumping last year:

Dave McDonnell, an English friend of Le Gallou’s, said that before he quit base jumping, he used to hear three distinct internal voices at the exit point, which he called “Yes,” “Fear” and “No.”

“If you’re all tuned in, there’s ‘Yes,’ ” he said. “On the mediocre days, there are two other voices­. One’s ‘Fear.’ Your body is screaming out at you, ‘Don’t do this,’ because it’s dangerous, unnatural. You’re there to conquer your fear. But there’s another voice that hangs around every now and again, and that’s called ‘No.’ Something’s not right. You can never put your finger on it — it could be something in your pack job, or the weather, or the people you’re jumping with, or your mind-set. It’s just, ‘Walk away, don’t go jumping today.’ The difficulty is trying to discern between ‘Fear’ and ‘No,’ because they’re both telling you the same thing. ‘No’ is your sixth sense that’s trying to save your life.”