A young girl asked the tight ropewalker how he first became involved in his current profession.
His response was, ‘Can’t remember really, I think I just fell into it.’
Imagine yourself 20 metres (66 feet) above the ground on a platform, as thousands of faces watch and wait for you to perform. Now imagine taking a step, with only a 1/2-inch metal wire between you and the ground. Welcome to the world of high-wire.
High-wire’s roots are as old as ancient Egypt and first century China, where the art of “rope dancing” was performed over knives. In the 1850s, Jean Francois Gravelet “The Great Blondin” received world acclaim for cooking and eating an omelette (complete with stove and neatly set table) on a high-wire stretched over Niagara Falls.
Three different types of funambulism (tight rope walking) have evolved.
1) Slack wire, where the rope or wire hangs a bit loose, is popular for juggling, clowning, and sword fights.
2) Sloped wires are attached to the ground at one end and to a pole at the other, creating an angle of about 40 degrees.
3) The most popular of all is the high-wire act, where a taut, springy wire is used to launch dizzying acrobatic tricks and phenomenal feats of balancing.
One way to view the high-wire act is to see the wire as an axis and the centre of mass of the performer as having the potential to rotate about the axis. If the centre of mass is not directly above the wire, gravity will cause the performer to begin to rotate about the wire. If this is not corrected, the performer will fall. The artist often carries a balancing pole that may be as long as 12 metres (39 feet) and weighs up to 14 kilograms (31 pounds). This pole increases the rotational inertia of the artist, which allows more time to move his or her centre of mass back to the desired position directly over the wire. This effect can be magnified by making the pole as long as possible and by weighting its ends.
The pole also helps balance the funambulist by lowering the centre of gravity. High-wire artists use drooping, rather than rigid, balance poles. It’s possible, in fact, to have such heavy weights attached to the ends of a long, drooping pole that the centre of gravity of the performer/pole system is below the wire. In this case, the performer would require no more sense of balance than a person hanging from the wire.
Acrobats train for years and use mechanics to safely develop routines. Although a high-wire performance may seem like a combination of courage and magic, remember that there’s a lot of work and good, old-fashioned physics thrown into the balance as well!
Now with all that information in mind, let’s learn how we can incorporate balance into our daily lives.
N.B. Funambulist comes from the Latin words: funis (rope) & ambulare (walk)
Check out this amazing high-wire act at: http://www.highwireshow.com/sieben.htm
One of the key ingredients that I have personally found helpful, when seeking balance within my own life, has been centred around one major thing, and that is planning.
A planned life is a life lived in order. It is a life that has a roadmap already marked out. It is not an accident waiting to happen. It is an event ready to occur.
So often, because of a whole range of circumstances, we can become like the tightrope walker who has failed to maintain his or her centre of gravity. This causes us to rotate about the axis which will ultimately bring about one thing; a dangerous fall.
By simply going through the motions of business in your day to day life, this ‘falling’ event will ultimately come upon you. It may explode in your relationships, your finances, your health or in any area of your life. It might not be today, nor tomorrow, but I can assure you that it will come.
So how do you avoid such a terrible outcome?
You must hop off the rope and go somewhere quiet. This is where you will be able to regain your balance.
How do you do that if you’re a single parent? Hire a babysitter. How do you do that if you’re a sole trader in your own business? Close your doors for a day or hire some temporary staff. Whatever you do, don’t delay. Balance is essential for ongoing success in every area of your life. You will not be able to clearly identify how to regain your balance unless you get out of your situation and into a place of quiet solitude.
SOLITUDE IS THE SECRET TO REGAINING BALANCE
It brings me back to thinking about the hare and the tortoise. Frantic movement didn’t help the hare at all. I imagine the slow tortoise as a planner, who spent quality time before the race preparing and working out how he could compensate for his lack of speed. The end of the story tells it all.
If your life is currently out of balance, then it tells me one thing: you have not spent sufficient time in the planning area of your life.
I will ask you these following questions:
1. Do you have a written set of goals at hand?2. How long since you wrote a fresh set of goals?3. If you have a business, do you have a written business plan?4. When was the last time that you updated that plan?5. Do you refer to your goals on a daily or weekly basis?6. When was the last time you referred to your business plan, to see that your business is on track?7. Do you have a written budget/cash flow projections for your household and/or your business?8. Do you keep a tidy office, house and car?9. Do you delegate tasks that could be done by others?10. Do you spend at least one hour a day quietly on your own to think?
REGULAR PLANNING WILL BRING BALANCE INTO YOUR LIFE
How did you go with those questions?
If you have some areas to work on, then don’t delay. Now is the time to schedule some time for you, and only you, to take some time out. I can hear some say: ‘But I don’t have time?’ or ‘I can’t afford it.’ Well, get ready for a crash bang event coming your way.
You must not procrastinate when it comes to pursuing and maintaining balance in your life. Your children will survive a weekend with a babysitter.
Your business will last if, for just one day, you have a break or leave it in another’s hands. And if you can’t do that, then you need to restructure the systems for your business anyway.
As a writer, and because I run my business from home, I have to take out regular periods of time if I am to complete specific projects on schedule.
In completing my latest book (well it’s just about there) and particularly when I reached the final editing stages, I would need to plant myself in a local coffee shop so that I could maintain the utmost concentration on the job at hand. The results? Very pleasing indeed.
So you can live a balanced life. Plan, and in your planning plan time-out so that you can spend sufficient time thinking about where you’ve been, where you are and where you want to go in the future. And a bright future it will be.
The centre of all balance is found deep within the heart of every man, woman and child.