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The Secret to Effective Tightrope Walking

There's a special word for those tightrope walkers who display amazing feats of balance on a high wire—they're called funambulists. In his book Off Balance on Purpose, business leader and funambulist Dan Thurmon writes that these daredevils are constantly making small, critical adjustments, lifting their free leg as a counterweight, raising and lowering arms, adjusting their pole. A good funambulist is never truly at rest or "on balance." As a matter of fact, Thurmon writes, "[They] are perpetually off balance: making adjustments that bring [them] through a point of balance, only to readjust on the other side. Most of these movements are so subtle that they are imperceptible to the audience." They make it all look effortless.

But Thurmon says it's not nearly as easy is looks. So how do they maintain their balance? He continues:

When new students step onto the rope or cable … they almost always begin with the same flawed game plan. They stare downward at the wire to ensure that they have the proper footing. And so they fall … So what is the solution to this dilemma? If you have ever closely watched professional tightrope walkers, you may recall that they never look down at their feet or the wire or to either side at their hands (or the balance pole). Rather, they keep their head up and look forward toward the goal—the faraway platform—in front of them.

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