This just in; Evel Knievel is dead at the age of 69! No, he did not die in a horrible, flaming motorcycle crash. His health had been declining for years, mostly as a result of his chosen career field of jumping motorcycles over......well, everything. Including canyons. Actually, he did not make it over many of the objects he set out to jump.
Most of you either were not alive in 1970 or can't remember much about 1970. By that time, most Americans had heard of Evel Knievel and seen him jump cars and buses on TV if not live. It was in 1974 that he attempted to jump a canyon in Idaho after the government refused to allow him to jump the Grand Canyon. Or jump INTO the Grand Canyon to be more precise.
If you could go back to 1970 and venture to guess the age at which Evel would die, what would it be? I remember hearing people say that he would not live to be 30. He was known as a daredevil and he took many risks, but the risks were highly calculated risks. And he apparently learned to accept broken bones as an acceptable downside to his job. In fact, I would guess that long before he had broken 40 bones, he learned that a couple of broken bones in a jump this year means more ticket sales and TV revenue next year.
Since he became famous in the late 60's and early 70's and I bought my first motorcycle in March, 1970 (a week before turning 16 and getting a licence) I would love to have a dollar for every time somebody called me Evel Knievel (or Bronson). Of course, motorcycles were not nearly so common at that time and people were just looking for something cute to say. Let me be clear--I never wished for his life. I never sought that much thrill. But.....what if we could harness his ability to overcome fear? Can you imagine reaching the point that you realize broken bones heal and bruises fade? Then imagine training your thought process so that major injuries became a minor inconvenience like getting caught in the rain.
I would not recommend suspending all fear. The fear of jumping over cars, trucks, and canyons is healthy. And those do not seem like worthwhile goals to me. But what if I could develop and apply his ability to suspend fear to things like fear of embarrassment and unpopularity in order to achieve worthwhile goals in the lives of others?
Here is what he said in April, 2007; "I know there's more to life than what I had, I wrote a book saying I had a life better than anyone, better than any president. Hogwash, because I didn't have Jesus Christ in my life."