The Italian Almanac

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bull shark

Relaxing with Sharks

A group of 12 executives experimented a novel way to relax from the pressures of business by going face-to-face with sharks in the aquarium of Cattolica, the Adriatic resort town. The test was organized by the Adecco business school, which specialises in the management of human resources, in collaboration with the aquarium and under the guidance of deep water record man Umberto Pelizzari.

Organizers said the goal of the experiment was to enhance personal development techniques through overcoming one's own perceived limits. The participants, who included a woman, were lowered into the shark tanks in a steel cage wearing wetsuits and diving helmets. Inside the tank 11 bull sharks circled the cage. "It was an incredible experience and was totally natural. At first I was a little cold but once I got used to it I felt a sensation of peace and calm. It was quite a challenge to control my emotions," said 29-year-old Federica Battistini. "The sharks didn't give me any trouble. There's much worse out there in the business world," added Stefano Cappelli, a sales manager for a petroleum services company.

"By coming face to face with sharks you learn to overcome your prejudices and false conceptions, the first of which is that sharks are killers," observed Pelizzari. "When someone is able to break away from such preconceptions they do this all on their own and by understanding the environment around them they learn to overcome the limits which have been imposed on them," he added. "In real life, if we take impossible or difficult situations for what they really are, we often find that they are not that bad after all".