How Juggling Transforms Lives Around the Globe, and How It Can Do the Same for You

The street is flooded with children. Balls and batons are flying through the air. It sounds like chaos, but each object is snagged out of the air with precision as the parade marches on.

A week ago, NPR published a story on Afghanistan’s eighth annual national juggling competition, focusing on the Mobile Mini Circus in which young boys and girls alike can show off their technique.

As an inspirational speaker and juggler, these types of stories always interest me, but particularly when the reason behind the competition runs so much deeper than hand-eye coordination. In fact, the article explains that the purpose of the competition is to teach the children self-confidence. What I see in these kids is that they’ve given themselves 5,000 tries. They aren’t afraid to fail successfully. When you’re willing to fail and you’re willing to keep trying until you succeed, you can’t help but become more self confident.

American professionals are forced to manage high levels of stress on a daily basis, which is damaging to their health and prevents them from living life at performance level. So here are my five reasons why you should set down your cell phone and pick up you juggling balls:

1) Don’t know or remember how to juggle? Anyone can learn. I’ll teach you.

2) Standing and moving your arms for five minutes raises your heart rate and gets your blood pumping, which has an immediate calming and stress-lowering effect.

3) If you’re really focused on keeping the balls in the air, you won’t be focused on whatever is stressing you out.

4) Juggling allows you to practice failing successfully. If you fail enough in the small things, you won’t be as afraid of failure in the big things.

5) As you improve, you will become more confident in your ability to adapt to new and challenging situations. Think you’ve got it down? Try five balls.