Beyond the cliche of motivation with Veso Ovcharov

September 20, 2022

Veselin (Veso) Ovcharov is a friend, a pro extreme athlete, a personal development enthusiast, a brother, a son, a holder of two World Records, a humble soul, a down to-Earth person, a dreamer, a nature lover and so much more. We are happy to introduce you to someone who’s achieved a lot in their professional journey, but above all – someone who has extracted many valuable lessons that are worth sharing. Enjoy the interview and let's spread the good together.

Hi, it’s so lovely to have the opportunity to have you here. We recently held a motivation training and talk togehter for one of ILC's clients, and it's now time to share at least a fraction from that event with the wider public and our tribe here.

So, let’s beging with a brief introduction.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself...

Well, my name is, yes, Veso and I have been doing outdoorsports my entire life. Today, I am what people consider “a professional acro-paraglider and BASE jumper” but my journey started with snowboarding. I am a graduate of the National Sports Academy in Bulgaria where I focused on that, prior to discovering the magic of flying.

I am 39 years old at the moment and looking to welcome the big 40 soon. I’ve been soaring the skies around the world for more than 20 years now. It’s incredible how time flies, isn’t it?

More recently, I founded the company “Fly the Earth” which does a lot of things but above all, my team and I are focused on creating a new generation of sportswear and gear for pro athletes and beyond. We know very well what is truly needed and there is definitely a hunger for innovation and massive space for improvement, so here we are… This is me in a nutshell. Ah, and I am born in Sofia which makes me consider the beautiful mountains in Bulgaria as my backyard. Love that.

Source: Personal archive. Photo taken by Stefan Iliev

Q: How did it all start?

Believe it or not, I had one crazy big fear of heights but I was also very curious about flying. I wanted to try paragliding and convinced a few friends that we should try it together. It was so surreal and around my birthday, just about 18th years old. Back in the day the kites looked more like mattresses than anything we see today (laughing). I just really, really wanted to try it, you know and here I am today. Fell in love with flying and the beauty of nature that you can see from above, I think.

Q: You are very humble and keep moving forward, but we must mention the fact that you have broken two World Records to date and have won numerous competitions around the world. How does it feel to have such achievements under your belt?

Ahh, to hold a world record definitely serves me as a powerful reminder and stays on the back of my mind that honestly, everything is possible!

Otherwise, to achieve such a thing one needs to truly know themselves well. It is essentially the culmination of a very gradual process of building on and improving your skills step by step. Breaking a world record requires both genuine awareness of your current skills, as well as the persistence to keep improving until you get there. No excuses, no shortcuts. One also needs to live with that idea for quite some time. It’s certainly not an overnight endeavour. Becoming an expert gradually is a must if you want to be safe! Constantly checking in with yourself - do you really want to do this, is essential! If one finds that the answer to that question is always ‘yes’ – well, that’s good news! It is the ultimate prerequisite and one would defintely have a greater chance of walking this path successfully!

Source: Actiongraphers, Red Bull Content Pool, 2019

Q: Wow! On that note, what motivates you to be where you are professionally?

Motivation, for me, comes from the dream and pursuit of beautiful environments, like those only nature can give us access to. The ability to feel comfortable up there in the sky, that attraction makes me go through the endless process of crafting myself in a way that gets me closer and closer to being a bird.. Nature is, for me, flawless, inspirational, vast... you can find it all in it.

Q: If you were to give someone else the ultimate formula for motivation, what would you tell them?

The formula, if we can call it so, is perhaps a very standard one. It is called fear! (laughing)
No fear, no motivation. We need to push ourselves and overcome these feelings that secretly and often invisibly ruin our lives, and the experiences we have. Every time we overcome any fear we hold, it creates this amazing feeling! The more we do it, the more we get hooked to the possibilities and continue to conquer limitations, continue to believe that we can do more. This is how our motivation is cultaivated, I believe.

We have so many fears, some of which are not even our own, but related to the past of humanity and are no longer necessary in our own lives. Not all of the fears we hold today protect us for good. Most are simply imaginary and they keep the door to a better life shut!

Fly The Earth Archive

Q: You’ve worked with a lot of people from all walks of life and nationalities. How do you motivate someone who cannot overcome their fear or can’t even recognise that they are fearful in the first place?

In my field, I am blessed by two things in this respect. One is that people regard me as an authority, so they listen to what I say a bit more and it helps me when I try to train them or even motivate them. The other one is that the flights are a big undertaking that can thankfully be broken down into really small steps. I walk people through their mental barriers in a sense. I give them the full picture by focusing on how fun this whole thing is going to be. I give them some statistics around safety as well. It is proven that when we go towards facing our fears voluntarily, it has the opposite effect to what we expect. Instead of blocking us it frees us and makes us feel stronger and happier. Talking about this and sharing my personal experiences really motivates people. Finally, if someone is really, really stuck, the only way to shift their state is by taking them (quite physically) and leading them by example. I can strap someone to myself, lead the way, demonstrate how it feels, and show them my smile. I think this works in any field – behave as you want others to behave. Feel how you want others to feel. Do what you want others to do and they will follow you.

Q: Do you think that motivation is linked to the physical exercise that you do? If so, to what extent?

I need people to really understand this:

Physical activity is like the Bible for your mind!

It filters out all the nonsense and puts us in the right frame of mind! Also, it obviously makes us healthy and happier. It’s really difficult to be mentally tired after a training session and to hold onto the nonsense worries that we all have on a daily basis. You need to sweat A LOT a least 3-4 times a week. I personally also don’t drink alcohol or coffee. I prefer to stickto tea. I do eat relatively healthy, yes, but above all I have a varied diet. I am lucky that my job makes me exercise a lot. To answer your question in simple terms – yes, motivation is influenced positively by physical activity because motivation is essentially a mind-set thing and exercise helps us to reduce the stupid thoughts that burden us.

Source: Actiongraphers, Red Bull Content Pool, 2019 Acro competition

Q: Would you share with us a moment when you felt really pumped and super motivated? When was it? How did it feel?

I have too many of those that come to my mind, honestly, so I will separate them into two categories. On one side I have such occasions when the journey leading up to the moment was incredible and I have others, that left me with incredible realisations after I reached the destination!

The first ones are generally more fun and society seems to give us more credit or even pay-checks for them.

Such examples, for me, were my first BASE jump from Yosemiteand also the longest flight I did in Brazil (530km). Those were big dreams of mine and epic journeys that I will never forget! But afterward, I felt that nothing had really changed. My mentality did not improve much after. It was all in the journey, not in the actual moment. So, here the lesson for me was to try and be more present during the steps prior to the big jump or the long flight because that’s where most of the magic, if not all, lies!

The second category is that of moments when I gained much clarity and motivation after certain events. I have been in situations where I was in a total “survival mode”. An unexpected huge problem arose and it happened very quickly. I had no time to prepare and I never dreamt about even being in such circumstances (albeit, it would have been a nightmare not a pleasant dream). But after I survived, the experience left me with enormous gratitude and inner peace like nothing else. I fed off the realisations, the new found perspectives and the motivation to be good and do good, for a very long time after this!

The conclusion, for me, is that experiences and moments are equal. Good or bad - everything has a profound value in life. That’s way we should be totally free to choose our own journey and not be worried about or attached to the outcome!

Q: What advice would you give people who feel like they have lost their motivation in life?

Be free and the rest will follow!

Q: What do you think is one wrong cliché about ‘motivation’ that people tend to subscribe to, but shouldn't?

I think, a wrong and unsustainable source of motivation is to believe and expect that something fancy or tempting from the outside (like someone else’s dream) can become your meaning in life!

Nowadays it seems as if everyone is trying to go in the same direction and we are all being convinced by society at large that this is a good thing, but I believe that dreams, goals, and purpose are strictly individual things and we are here, on this planet, to find what our, personal ones are! Only then we will free our souls in a real way and truly, we will improve!

Source: Personal archive. Photo taken byStefan Iliev, 2012
We hope you enjoyed this meeting.
the ILC team and Veso!

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