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Lessons from the tightrope

On June 15, 2012, Nik Wallenda became the first person to tightrope walk directly over Niagara Falls, crossing through the falls’ famous mists and gusts in less than a half hour.

His recorded comments during the adventure are a great reminder of what it means to live a purpose-driven life.

“What is the purpose of your trip sir?” the agent asked.

“To inspire people around the world,” Wallenda said.

“I hope what I do and what I just did inspires people around the world to reach for the skies,” he said.

After passing the halfway mark, Wallenda expressed fatigue. “I’m strained, I’m drained,” he said. “This is so physical, not only mental but physical.”

While he was still out on the wire, he’d said, “I’m drained. … My hands are going numb. I feel like I’m getting weak.”

Wallenda methodically moved along the swaying, slippery wire, which was dripping with water, while carrying a 40-pound balance pole. He repeatedly offered prayers of thanks and praise to Jesus Christ, which were audible to the television audience via a body microphone.

But he said the crossing wasn’t easy: “That mist was thick. It was hard to see at times. … The wind was wild. It’d come at me one way and hit me from the front, and hit me from the back.”

As for distractions, such as wind gusts and helicopters, he said, “I’ve trained all my life not to be distracted by distractions.”

Wallenda said that at one point in the middle of the walk, he thought about his great-grandfather and the walks he had taken: “That’s what this is all about, paying tribute to my ancestors, and my hero, Karl Wallenda.”

“I am so blessed,” he said later. “How blessed I am to have the life that I have.”


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