Just before 6:30 last night, as a helicopter carried Nik Wallenda to the starting point for his epic walk across the Little Colorado River Gorge, his wife, Erendira, told a Discovery Channel interviewer, "I'm so inspired by him, and I just hope that whoever watches him will also be inspired."
Well, he got me. His tightrope walk could not have come at a better time for me. His feat was the consummate inspiration; it cut to the very core of what I'm trying to achieve.
No, I'm not setting out to be a highwire walker. I'm striving to attain what I call Dead Red Focus during training and in the ring.
Right before Wallenda got his 30-foot balance pole in place and mounted the wire, he said, "When I get out there, there's only the wire and me -- nothing else exists." Exactly. And I'm seeking that same perfect locked-in state. In the ring -- as well as in practice -- there's only my dog and me. Nothing can distract me. That's the goal.
Then, for 23 gripping minutes, I watched him walk (1,500 feet above the rocks below, no harness, no net) focused on . . . well, focused on not falling to his death. There is no greater focus, no greater mental discipline than what the world witnessed last night.
I may never attain that degree of focus with Presto! But it's nothing more than a challenging test of will. And I plan to get a cerebral hernia trying.