Eli5 what makes it harder to walk on a beam above emptiness then to walk on the street? Only mind trick?

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Eli5 what makes it harder to walk on a beam above emptiness then to walk on the street? Only mind trick?

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Well to begin with, when walking down the street you don’t tend to walk heel to toe. Simply narrowing the available width of your walking path will be just as difficult. Sure, some mind tricks may be at play when it’s an actual beam, more so the higher up the beam is, but ultimately it’s just a matter of habit. We’re just not used to walking such a narrow pathway.

A few of reasons.

One is nervousness which makes you not be able to concentrate enough.

Another is that you’re too aware of what you’re doing so you switch from muscle memory to thinking about exactly what you’re doing. You don’t normally do this when you’re walking so now you start making mistakes. More practice would enable more muscle memory.

The wind. Wind speed is generally lower at ground level.

Although walking on a street is very very safe there is still a chance of tripping but because tripping when in the ground already is unlikely to do any damage you don’t see it as much of a risk. When on a beam above emptiness the risk of you tripping might be the same but the consequences of you doing so is much greater so it makes it much more stessfull.

A lot would have to do with perspective. Your eyes can perceive the ground around a beam if it’s laying on the ground without having to strain your eyes at all. If you’re fifty feet in the air then when your eyes try to see the ground it’s out of focus because the perspective between the close beam and the far ground is way off and your eyes are constantly changing to try to make the picture work together. Your brain can’t figure out what’s going on and it makes it really hard to balance on the beam in front of you unless you really focus on just the beam and ignore anything else.

The impact of failing is likely a cause of the nervousness. Shoot at an apple on a wall – you’d probably give it a go without too much thinking. Now put that apple on the head of someone you love – the impact of you missing is now MUCH greater – you’re going to get nervous as the cost of failure went WAY up.

The cost of failure at height is your entire life. On the street, MAYBE a twisted ankle at best.