Originally posted on TED Blog:
Aerialist Nik Wallenda looks down and sees the 1,500-foot drop to the bottom of the Grand Canyon below him. All that stands between him and a lethal landing is the 2-inch tightrope that he has decided to traverse on camera, the moment being broadcast around the world on live television. If most people were to rank the most stressful events of their life, this would very likely be near the top of the list. But Wallenda thrives on stress of this magnitude.
In June, Wallenda balanced his way across a quarter-mile gap in the Grand Canyon. And with his feet firmly back on the ground, he shared how he is able to perform stunts like this: by seeing the physical manifestations of stress as positives. Yes, the body will start to shake on the tightrope. But this is not a sign of weakness; it is instead a natural response that is preparing him for what is to come. In moderate amounts — and perhaps this comes with decades of training — stress can be helpful in willing strength and focus when it is needed most.