Breathing slowly, I calmed my nerves.

The smell of sweet grass filled my nose. Summer sunshine warmed my back.

There was no way to fall and not get hurt. Falling was not an option.

Calming and focusing was the only way to survive this.

My buddy Joe and I were always finding new ways to push our limits.

Today we were balancing across a pipe that traversed a cement drainage channel. That channel emptied into a larger creek that passed through town.

The pipe was 6 inches in diameter. Not the narrowest obstacle we’d balanced on.

It was about 20 feet long, which wasn’t exceptional.

But really, this was primarily a mental game, since the pipe was about 10 feet above a bed of slimy river stones with only a trickle of water flowing over them.

Falling would pretty much guarantee a broken ankle or leg. Possibly worse.

But that’s also what made it so great.

For us, it wasn’t so much a physical challenge. It was a mental test.

A game of focus, relaxation, and resolve.

Danger sharpens the mind.

The key here is that we were well practiced in balance. We weren’t being reckless.

We had progressively challenged ourselves over the years and built a level of competence and confidence.

We trusted ourselves. A trust that we earned by exposing ourselves to greater physical challenges and levels of danger.

Cultivating this self-trust is a great way to gain courage in other areas of your life.

You prove to yourself that you are capable. Even if you can’t do it yet, you’ll find a way. You’ll handle it.