When there is no “Why?” 9 Lessons in Achievement from a “Crazy” Man


Brilliant. astounding, outstanding and remarkable

There aren’t enough superlatives for MAN ON WIRE!

Things have been a little busy lately – and wanting to get to this “review’ / post since I saw this movie well over a month ago! Man on Wire is incredibly entertaining movie and not just for the never-to-be-repeated, remarkable feat itself (tight-rope, in this case wire-walking from one World Trade Center tower to the other) but, also, for its direction, production, and original footage.

I happened to see this movie (wifee’s recommendation) just before the Academy Awards (no surprise it won for best documentary).  The story features Phillipe Petit and his mission to realize his life’s dream of walking a tight rope between the two world trade towers. The brilliance from a production standpoint is the reenactment is interspersed with some fantastic original footage.  But, what makes the movie truly so powerful and riveting is the UNDERLYING THEME.

We are all walking a tight rope.

The difference is easy to see though isn’t it? Some people embrace the ‘experience’ and go out of their way to, as Phillipe says, “live on the edge” and then, there is the majority – the vast majority, that cower from the edge. They seek the center, they seek “security”.

If you’ve seen my prior post on SECURITY and CERTAINTY you know my thoughts on the topic. So having said that, I wanted to call out the 9 significant take-aways, essentially, reaffirming the techniques and lessons of Philipe’s brilliant story. Reverse engineering, once again, to the rescue.

1: Desire, Dream & Visualize: Phillipe actually realized his goal the day he was in his doctor’s office waiting for his appointment. While there, he was flipping through a magazine and noticed a feature story on the world trade center – it was still the early 70’s, the towers where not even completely built! However, he knew upon seeing the vision of the towers this was his destiny. He was sucked into the event at that moment several years earlier by the VISION – the dream and his desire quickly compelled him to tear a page right out of the magazine featuring the towers.

2: Practice: Phillipe was the consummate pro – addicted to practicing his craft.There is original footage showing how often he practiced and under what circumstances – blindfolded, with people shaking the cable, etc. His daily ritual involved practice. His tight rope walking skills were masterful because of fundamental practice.

3: Plan and Strategize: To pull of something of this magnitude required considerable planning which involved a schedule; scoping the job, gaining access to the towers. A plan to get the cable from one tower to the next and of course a strategy for  “game day”.
3.a – Flexibility: With every plan you must remain FLEXIBLE. Literally, the man was a cat. One flexible dude. but this refers to his flexibility in planning, of bending but not braking. More things went wrong than right — before the plan came together.

4:  TEAMWORK: Phillipe had to enlist nearly a dozen accomplices to this “CRIME”. A few friends pulled out at the last minute – fearful they may be held accountable for the death of a friend! Without the other brave and willing friends his dream isn’t realized. TEAMWORK.

5: BELIEVE: In the man’s own words… “Impossible! Great, let’s get to work!”

6: Passion: Passion powers people through obstacles. It’s stated in The 3 C’s of Succcess a few times. Nothing worth pursuing is going to be easy. What differentiates those who succeed more often than not is passion! Passion gets you to COMPLETION (the 3rd C). Lack of passion gets you somewhere else.

7: “Death is very Close”: Often times far closer than any of us want to imagine. So, this can either terrify you or MOTIVATE you. Phillipe was motivated by death on the front (of the event) and back end (during the event).  And, his point is you are never more  ALIVE then “when death is very close” . There are many who will attest to that.

8: FOCUS: To execute such an act took laser-like focus. Guess how many times he looked down? What are you focusing on? Right now, quick question, are you focusing on the opportunities before you or the obstacles? Can you craft the obstacles to become opportunities?

9: Fun & Flare: Perhaps this is why the cops waited around to drag his ass to the looney bin. He didn’t just tight rope walk between the towers – he turned it into a PERFORMANCE. Phillipe bowed, saluted, SMILED and then decided to take a CAT nap (gives new meaning to the term) on the wire! He danced on the wire for over 40 minutes. Seriously, he executed the impossible with remarkable poise. He enjoyed the process and put on a show nearly 2000 feet above crowds and a lot of cement! Yes, I said he LAID DOWN on the wire!!?

Now that is beautiful. Scoreboard.