What Motivates Daredevil Nik Wallenda

Who?

Nik Wallenda, world- record holding acrobat and daredevil

Where? 

Sarasota, Florida

What?

A seventh-generation member of the Flying Wallenda family of acrobats, Nik Wallenda was born to amaze audiences. His most recent stunt was walking across the high wire over an active volcano in Nicaragua. Though known for being fearless, his newest book Facing Fear deals with his recovery from an accident involving a pyramid stunt that nearly cost him his career and sowed seeds of doubt and fear in his mind. 

My favorite quote is… 

“Life is on the wire and everything else is just waiting.” My great-grandfather Karl Wallenda said that in the 1960s. I believe everybody is on a wire trying to get to the other side of something in life. 

My secret to conquering fear is… 

controlling my thoughts. When my thoughts want to go to a negative place or a place of fear, I can counter that negativity with something positive. 

The best movie I’ve seen recently is… 

The Social Dilemma documentary on Netflix. Part of my book talks about cutting out the negativity. We don’t realize that we continually feed junk into our minds and we are also feeding negativity into our minds 

My morning routine is to… 

read something positive immediately, whether that’s a positive book or a scripture from the Bible.

I couldn’t live without the app… 

Relax Melodies. It is a monotone sound that I sleep with. I use it for white noise wherever I am in the world. I can sleep anywhere. I was raised in the circus and lived in an RV and there was an air conditioner on the roof. That hum is how I sleep like a baby before any walk.

In 10 years I hope to… 

still be motivating people. That’s the direction my life has gone. That’s my passion right now so I hope to keep doing that.

I am working toward that 10-year goal by…

spending time with people in general. When there’s a homeless man on the street I go up to him and talk to him to hear his story. I just love people. How do you motivate people? You spend time with them. Everybody has a story. 

People would be surprised to hear about me…

I love physical labor. I love working hard. I have a bunch of rental properties, and I was on the roof snaking out some plumbing on a rental property yesterday. My wife would tell you I’m addicted to physical labor.

I define success as…

leaving a legacy with a positive impact. Our lives are short, so once we are gone, if I know that people are still reading my books or quotes or watching my walks and using them for inspiration, then I believe that I’ve lived a fulfilling life and a successful life.

My ‘aha moment’ came when…

when I realized that I can be my own worst enemy. When I am depressed, I am in control of being depressed. When I am eating too much, I am in control of what I eat. Or when I’m feeling anxiety, I can control that. It’s not easy. I’m not saying that it’s simple and it just happens. But again, I am in control of that.

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2021 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Photos courtesy of JNik Wallenda; ©Tim Boyles Photography; © c.Cliff Roles

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