Exactly one year ago (June 23, 2013) a professional high wire artist named Nik Wallenda walked across the Grand Canyon on a two inch thick steel cable. America watched his nearly 23 minute crossing live via the Discovery Channel. He was 1500 feet above the ground with no safety harness and no net. Far below him was a Ranger, a paramedic, and two members of a film crew. (one can’t help but wonder why on earth they had a paramedic… )
How did Nik keep his balance during this treacherous walk? Here it is in his own words, “It took every bit of me to stay focused the entire time.” He purposefully and intentionally gathered his strength and resources to remain focused. Purposefully and intentionally.
What is the big deal about Intentional Focus? Nik Wallenda’s story gives us some great insights.
Don’t look down!
Wallenda told interviewers that his secret to great focus is that he doesn’t look down and he keeps his eyes on his destination.
What is our destination? Where is our focus? Are we looking down at our obstacles and distractions, or are we looking forward toward our goal?
Watch out for simple distractions
Unexpected wind and distractions are perilous, to put it lightly, for high wire artists. Nik Wallenda has trained his whole life for these events. When he was a child walking a cable that was two feet off the ground in his backyard, his parents, also renowned high wire performers, would shoot him with BB gun pellets. He also trains regularly with air machines that blast up to 55 mph winds at him as he practices.
Yet, with all this training, the item that distracted him on a previous high wire act and nearly caused him to lose his balance was a piece of tape that didn’t belong on the wire. That hardly seems fair.
What unexpected distractions are keeping us from our goals? We might be on the lookout for the “big winds” but can get completely sidelined by things that appear innocent. What is my “piece of tape” that traps my eyes and distracts me from my focus? What’s yours?
Remember our source of inspiration
Nik recalls a moment when he lost his balance on his famous walk across the Grand Canyon. “I knelt down and I thought of my great-grandfather and that everything I do is to honor him,” Wallenda said. “It took my mind off all this movement underneath me … and I was able to focus on him and regain composure.”
What motivated us to choose our destination to begin with? Who or what inspired us? If we take the time to connect with our “source of inspiration” we will find strength to refocus when the wind pushes against us.
Connect with real PEACE
Besides being a highly trained (get it? highly trained?…nevermind) professional high wire artist and daredevil, Wallenda is also a committed Christian. As he walked across the Grand Canyon, he repeatedly (for 23 minutes) praised Jesus and vocalized his trust in God while all America watched and listened. “That’s really where I get my peace,” he said. “I have confidence that if something were to happen to me, I know where I’m going.”
QUESTION: Which aspect of Intentional Focus grabs your attention today? Please comment below.
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