On Friday, June 15, 2012, Nik Wallenda became the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. In just over twenty-five minutes, he crossed 1,800 feet calmly despite gusting wind, spraying water and the pressure of the whole world watching. As we watched from the comfort of our living room, my family and I barely breathed.
Making it all the more dramatic and nerve-wracking was the Wallenda family history. Nik is the seventh generation of a family known for such stunts. Several of his family members have died during daredevil attempts. Nik’s hero is his great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, who famously fell to his death while crossing the wire in 1978.
What was striking was that Nik was completely calm as he stepped out onto the wire. ABC was broadcasting the event and had even rigged Nik with a microphone, allowing him to talk to a worldwide audience as he crossed.
Nik’s dream is definitely not my dream. In fact, I can safely say that his dream is my nightmare. Still, I admire his tenacity and his achievement. A few of the keys to his success were evident: