Thursday, 24 May 2012

Inner winner – Philippe Petit – small man with big faith

Lose your fear not your head!
On the inside you know you’re a winner. You know you have skills, talents, abilities and potential that don’t transfer so easily to the outside.

You can play a few chords - but inside - you know you’re a concert pianist.

You can kick a ball around a field - but inside - you’re a world class soccer player

You can paint a decent picture on canvas with oils - but inside - you could rival Van Gogh or Da Vinci.

You can write a few lines and probably more if you put your mind to it-  but inside-  you could have written books and plays as much as any of the greats.

You are financially astute and are a meticulous manager of money - but inside - you’re a dealer in shares and bonds with a yacht in a marina.

Inside you know you can be anything you want to be but doubt stops you in your tracks. If your self-belief was stronger you’d definitely be a winner.

Crucify him
One person who managed to break through his doubts and transform them into unstinting faith is Philippe Petit. A Frenchman and high wire walker who, in 1974, famously walked across the twin towers in New York.

Philippe Petit considers himself to be ordinary but what gives him this extraordinary faith in himself? Passion, intuition, tenacity and improvisation – that is Philippe’s unique philosophy.

He did not seek permission to walk across the twin towers of the World Trade Centre and in fact was arrested straight after his attempt. At the time he was taken into custody and charged with illegal trespass.

The world does not often recognise heroes as we know them to be. Another famous one was crucified.

Philippe Petit was a magician before he became a wire walker. He understood how easily the human eye is deceived by sleight of hand. Perhaps this is the technique he employed to achieve his amazing feats which, before the Twin Towers escapade, was the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Cathedral at Notre Dame.

Grab a piece of sky
He had to suppress his fear by duping his rational mind into believing that it was possible. Fear did not even enter into the equation as it had been overridden by passion.

In 1974, the Twin Towers were unfinished, newly built, but had no furnishings or staff. Philippe and his co-conspirators disguised themselves as security staff to enter the building and take the lift to the upper most floors (of each tower).

Philippe and his partner were in one tower and they hid under a tarpaulin for 8 hours before they attempted this astonishing feat.

In the second tower, his other partners were ready to rig the wire. On 7th August 1974, Philippe crossed the wire suspended between the towers a total of six times to stunned onlookers below. At times, he appeared to be bouncing on the wire as if dancing.

The New York emergency services were alerted and Philippe was promptly arrested and charged. His “crime” was documented as “man on wire” which became the name of a docu-film.

Shortly after, he was feted and given an honorary pass to the highest floors. Sadly, the twin towers are no more and Philippe watched in sadness as the first and second planes hit those monuments on 11th September 2001.

Stop it
Today, Philippe Petit teaches high wire walking to overcome fear. He knows that overcoming our fears increases our capacity for joyful human experience.

This work is important when we consider how we sometimes keep ourselves from high achievements due to the psychological blocks within. Philippe’s most recent crossing across the Israeli-Palestine border was a powerful reminder of how unification not division is strength. There are no boundaries in human potential and freedom of growth and movement is a divine right.

Philippe is a man who knows he is an inner winner, but outside, the world thinks of him as nothing more than a glorified trapeze artist. Philippe has no investment in popular opinion and has followed his heart and continued wire walking.

I did it
There’s no greater fix in life than being an inner winner and those who know it never lose.

Inside – you know you are – but how long will it take for you to show it?

Start counting your wins and let go of your sins.



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