Susan Brooks

Sugar Land, TX, United States

About Susan

Areas of Expertise

skydiving

An idea worth spreading

I'd like to bring back the idea of the apprentice. I feel like informal learning is greatly undervalued in our culture. Also, one day, it is my goal to teach skydiving to muslim women. The lack of female skydiving instructors makes it difficult, but if I could learn more about muslim culture, and could share my experiences with them, we could work on bringing more equality to that area of the world.

I'm passionate about

Skydiving. Changing people's perception of the world, and more to the point, what they are capable of. All too often fear stops us from getting where we need to go.

Talk to me about

Skydiving. I'm a performer at heart, even as a skydiver. The ablity to express emotion through many mediums continues to amaze me.

People don't know I'm good at

Cake decorating. Learned from my mom. I'm a cake snob. And I'm not too bad at knitting. I love working with my hands.

My TED story

I found TED through the internet. The speakers, the innovations, the discussions on how to make the world better truely inspire me. I have a strong desire to change the world for the better, and my preferred medium is skydiving. For some, it's just a thrill ride. But for me it was a transformation. Knowing I am capable of flying through the air, or falling with style, as some of my friends put it, makes me believe I am capable of anything. And more than anything, I want to share that feeling, cultivate it in others so that they can persue their dreams, even as I persue mine.

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

161866
Susan Brooks
Posted almost 2 years ago
Can you make up for the lack of sleep?
I try, regardless of the possibility. I think more than anything, restful sleep is require to "make-up" those lost hours. If you can get restful sleep over the course of 5 hours, that is more restorative than 8-12 hours of "restless sleep." Just from my own experience. Now, how can you get your sleep to be restful? I don't know. No medicine has been able to produce it, in my experience. I've had luck occasionally with alcohol, but not consistently, and like he said, it's not a long term solution. More than anything... I've found being satisfied with your day makes for satisfying sleep. Days when I get a lot done, where I get some exercise, and have some fun are prime examples. If I leave work unfinished, my sleep is not restful until it's concluded. Just my experience, not really anything super scientific, just my own observations. Alarm clocks are the bane of my existence.
161866
Susan Brooks
Posted about 2 years ago
Eric X. Li: A tale of two political systems
Having lots of expensive stuff, with lots of room, and all the food we can shove in our faces will not make you happy. There is another TEDtalk about GDP v. GDH: gross domestic happiness, that discusses the wrong focus on the "success" of a country and it's government. http://www.ted.com/talks/chip_conley_measuring_what_makes_life_worthwhile.html I haven't been to China, and really know very little about it, but from this talk at least, it seems like they're really trying to create an atmosphere that allows for people to be happy, instead of an atmosphere that allows people to buy things they don't need. The US fosters the idea that more=better. And that entertainment can let you ignore your unhappiness. Be it booze, or tv, or video games.... over 1 million americans need antidepressants to not kill themselves because they are so miserable. We also have incredible amounts of social inequality. Our poor might not be as bad off as poor in other countries, but the distribution of wealth in this country is on par with what we consider 3rd world countries. Just curious; what are the suicide rates in China? What percentage of the population is on antidepressants, and how does that compare to the US? Frankly, our system of government is terribly slow at being responding to the needs of the people, at least on the larger scales. I have been saying for years that we need to reevaluate the way we run our country. I'd like to think of something involving internet polling or online discussions. Good comments on a topic would get upvoted. the more upvotes a person has, the more they are able to post. Just an idea.
161866
Susan Brooks
Posted about 2 years ago
Al Vernacchio: Sex needs a new metaphor. Here's one ...
You could use any food really. Skydivers might "dirt dive the plan." make adjustments where people will be more comfortable flying a specific slot. You generally stick to the plan, but sometimes a little impulsivity and spontaneity might make the jump more fun. There's the dirt dive(talking with your partner), the ride to altitude (foreplay), the dive(coitus), deployment(Orgasm) and landing(post play). Baseball metaphor doesn't include any kind of post play/coming down. Nor the debrief: discussing the good and bad points to the jump, where things can be improved on the next jump. But... That's skydivers, and kids can't skydive. So probably not effective as a teaching tool.
161866
Susan Brooks
Posted over 2 years ago
Schools are terrible places for children.
While I'm a fan of your post in general, we still come across the problem that you can find "fake facts" on the internet. It's sad when we live in a day and age where we so often confuse fact and fiction, but there you go. Evidenced by the extraordinarily large number of people in the US who think global warming is a myth made up by scientists to get everyone to be nice to the environment. They can even find you websites that support their theory. We've gotta learn some small portion of facts, so that we can understand and learn to spot these "fake facts." I think the inability to see BS for BS is a big part of Americas problem right now, and when we rely on google or internet solely for these facts, there is no way to gauge how much of it is BS.
161866
Susan Brooks
Posted over 2 years ago
What is it to be Fearless ?
I don't think it's possible to be totally fearless. To not show fear, perhaps, which is to deny that they are vulnerable. Which from my limited experience, usually results in getting injured, if not killed. To embrace your vulnerability; recognize the fear is there and move through it, is something else entirely. That is bravery. It is not brave to be fearless, only foolish.
161866
Susan Brooks
Posted over 2 years ago
What is it to be Fearless ?
I know what you mean about stage fright, & using your fear. It's something I've thought about a lot, and something I encounter almost daily. And will encounter more in the years to come. I will work as a professional Tandem Skydiving Instructor, and have spent the last 3 years watch people take their first leap, trusting nylon and string, and some guy they met 20 minutes ago to save their life. If there is one thing I know of fear, it's that everyone reacts to it differently. Some people face it with determination, some with the thrill of exhilaration, some completely shut down. Some people react hysterically, and like a drowning person, can bring both people into extremely dangerous situations. Even so, it's the ones that show no fear that we as skydivers fear the most. For they lack any sense of vulnerability. Having watched the tens of thousands of first skydives that I have, I really have to conclude that can not be a a true state of fearlessness. Courage, yes, and bravery, but not fearlessness. Fear works like interference... It stops us from getting where you need to go, but it is necessary, and should be welcomed, as a positive indicator of danger, and that you are still alive. You don't have to have jumped out of a plane to see this. Most people's biggest fear is public speaking. You can see it when you watch people get ready to go on stage. Some people face the crowd with determination, some with exhilaration, and some completely shut down. But the ones that shut down never get to experience the vulnerability, the audience's appreciation, the confidence in knowing that you will never let your fear control your destiny. Your life is not in the hands of the great unknown, but in your own. The art of asking is something we should all appreciate. Asking for tips as a waiter (or skydiving instructor), asking your boss for a raise, asking your crush out for coffee or tea or dinner. Asking is about being vulnerable, & being vulnerable is about being alive.
161866
Susan Brooks
Posted about 3 years ago
LZ Granderson: The myth of the gay agenda
We did. In later years. And I still find his views disgusting. We got over that particular flaw in his views (Like I said, I'm extremely biased on this. Most anything else I would refer to as a "difference" of opinion, not a flaw) and later on went to play man and wife in a number of theatrical performances. No one has been able to satisfactorily explain why homosexuals should be discriminated against because someone doesn't like their lifestyle. I don't like modeling shows, or jersey shore shows, or the housewives of anything. I think they're rather stupid, and retarding our nation, but that doesn't mean I go to the networks and petition for the shows to be taken off the air. Just because you don't like something or fear something, or don't understand something doesn't make it inherently wrong. I am accepting of just about everything else you could come up with. But that is one thing I find very difficult to forgive in another person. And is often an indicator of other "flaws of character" that I find a hard time overlooking. Luckily for them, and not so luckily for others, I live in an area where my views are the ones that are outnumbered, and thus they don't have a problem finding friends with their views. And I drive into town. In this case, Houston, who happens to have an openly lesbian mayor.
161866
Susan Brooks
Posted about 3 years ago
LZ Granderson: The myth of the gay agenda
I remember this one time in High school, back when Texas was voting on gay marriage, that a classmate and I were discussing this billboard that said something like, "Vote no on Prop 8" or some such thing. A billboard that supported banning gay marriage. I was vehemently saying if I could vote, I would vote Yes for prop 8. My classmate looks at me, like I'm clearly confused, and says, "You mean you'd vote 'no'." I turned and looked back at him, "No, I mean I'd vote 'yes'." He looked at first astounded, "You support gay marriage?!?!" I answered back, "You don't?!?!?" And we then looked at each other with the same level of extreme mutual disgust. Which is why I really shouldn't involve myself too much on the issue. Because I look at the people who are against gay marriage with equal if not more disgust than they look at the LGBT community. Truly, the word "Disgust" is no hyperbole. They disgust me. They are vile, and villainous, and represent in my mind much that is wrong in the world. So, I can't speak on the issue without extreme bias.