- Wise Words -
The Power of Focus
by len bilello
In the summer of 2013, I walked bare foot on coals that were measured at 1,000 °F (538 °C).
I not just lived to tell the tale, I loved it!
I walked on coals at the end of the first night of a Tony Robbins seminar. I was in Paramus New Jersey, at 10 PM on a Friday night, and I was with about 700 other people. I can’t remember a time where I was equally excited and scared.
Some people think that these “Fire Walks” are tricks, or the coals are not very hot. For those that think this is a trick, feel free to Google “fire walk accident Houston Texas” where you will read that injuries can and do occur while walking on ridiculously hot coals.
There are three things that are absolutely 100% true about walking 10 yards on 1,000-degree hot coals in your bare feet:
1. It’s not a trick,
2. The coals are very very hot
3. It’s not a trick
When you are about to walk on crazy hot coals in your bare feet, here are some things you do not think about:
1. Your mortgage, rent or student loan payments
2. A PowerPoint presentation or Excel spreadsheet you need to finish
3. Texting, social media, etc.
4. Your plans for the weekend
To complete this fire walk, or to complete any seemingly daunting task in life you need at least three things:
1. Cadence, a belief system,
2. Confidence, and most of all you need
Let’s explore these and how they work together to help you achieve important things.
Cadence refers to a learned rhythm or a pattern. When you walk on fire, you learn, watch and study how others have done it. At the Tony Robbins seminar, Tony and his staff taught us everything we needed to know about walking on fire for ten yards. The learning and preparation for what would be a five or six second walk last several hours. We learned about the proper stride, the correct posture, arm positions while walking, and where to look when walking. Once we learned these things, we reviewed them again, and then again. And then once more.
Belief System and Confidence: Walking on hot coals requires that you believe you can do this. Your beliefs grant you confidence. This is not some pie in the sky self-help gibberish. The word Confidence originates from the Latin phrase: Con Fidelio:
Con (With) Fidelio (Faith).
Being Confident is to have faith. Have faith in your learning and have faith in yourself.
We learned that others had accomplished this. These people were no different than us, and when approached properly, the laws of physics allow a human to walk on hot coals for about 10 yards or so.
Focus: For hours, the staff taught us to think about only one thing—walking across these burning coals safely and briskly. We practiced 20 times or more before we hit the firey coals. We talked in small groups about the proper technique, mindset and focus. We were instructed that for five to six seconds, the only thing on our mind was to focus on walking across these 1,000-degree coals. And we practiced some more.
And then at 10 PM, there we are. Several hundred adults aged 21-70, in a dimly lit parking lot in Paramus New Jersey. There are scores of lanes of red-hot coals laid out on the parking lot reflecting their light back at us. We lined up single file. Our socks and shoes removed. We were not silent. We had to get into a state and to help with this, supported each other with words, gestures, and touch –very similar to when baseball teams will cheer and encourage each other from the dug out. There was a lot of words of encouragement, patting each other on the back, positive feelings and beliefs and comradely. And then in a controlled, single file, one person at a time, we each walked barefoot across those extremely hot ruby red charcoals. (And being in New Jersey, yes, some of us went to a diner afterwards to celebrate)
My bare footed walk across 10 yards of hot coals lasted about five seconds. I’ll never know what winning World Series or Super Bowl feels like, but I imagine it feels a lot like the feeling you get when you walk successfully across hot coals. Both accomplishments involve a group of people with a common goal, who prepared together, and achieved a very difficult feat.
I have read where sporting champions often can’t sleep after their big victory and they can’t wait to do it again the next year. If you ever do walk on hot coals the feeling will be similar. You’ll be giddy, proud and amazed at what you accomplished! Sleep won't come easily, but that’s OK. You will think about doing it again, but you're happy to wait about a year to do it because the preparation and focus can be draining but very worth it.
In the year 2000 Britney Spears sang, “Oops, I Did It Again,” Well two years later in August of 2015, I did the Fire Walk again. You always remember your first time in anything, but the 2nd time Fire Walk was almost as special as the first and I think I even savored it more the second time.
So if you think you can’t do something, there’s an excellent chance you are wrong. Learning, Confidence and Focus are the keys to accomplishing anything that can realistically be done. I know this first hand.