How to switch off to get some new energy

Šimon Vostrý, founder of ZOOM International who after 18 years left the CEO role and started Ytica, is profiled in the latest issue of Czech Forbes NEXT. It’s great to look at how Simon spends his offline time.

This is a free translation based on the original text written by Michael Mares in Forbes NEXT.

Everyone relaxes from work in a different way. I like extreme sports, so my digital detox is skydiving. It’s the one sport I still devote a lot of time to, both as a counterweight to my busy work life and as something that helps me maintain my success. I’ve been skydiving for many years with about 3,000 jumps.

In the airplane just before you jump, the yellow light by the doors flashes. The person closest to the doors opens them, and looks out. You jump on green. Sometimes you can’t see the ground so you jump blindly into clouds, trusting the pilots did a good job using GPS. In most cases it works well, but I’ve landed in corn fields, potatoes, wheat, rapeseed — which hurts. A lot.

I’ve landed in water, and once on a greyhound racing track a few minutes before the race started.

I clear my head by jumping from a perfectly safe airplane. From four kilometers up it’s one minute of freefall, then you pull the ripcord and it’s a few more minutes under the canopy. You land, pack the chute, watch the video, debrief the jump, plan a new one and go again. In good weather you can easily do ten jumps a day.

If there’s something from work keeping you up at night, on your mind on the ground, nagging at you during the 15 to 20-minute flight, once the door opens and you jump it’s gone. Those few, exhilarating minutes are all yours. Your brain knows to switch off all noise and give you 100% concentration on the fact that you’re falling through the air. It works like magic — I’ve never thought about anything work-related during free fall. Up there, it’s just you and the other parachutists hurtling at 150 miles per hour towards the ground. The parachute becomes not just something that gets you safely on the ground but a razor slicing and — if you’re good enough — swooping through the air.

Even after 15 years skydiving still takes me offline and clears my head.

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