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The Art of "Rock Balancing"

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

Recently whilst on Sennen Cove beach on holiday I thought I would try my hand at "Rock Balancing".

I'd never done it before and remembered seeing someone do it in the harbour at St. Ives and thinking how amazing it was. In particular, what struck me was how some of the rocks being balancing (on very small contact points) looked like they shouldn't be able to. Surely it was physically impossible or far too difficult to make them balance.

"All things are difficult before they become easy". As it turns out if you are willing to give something a go, enjoy it and persist, you can do it!

The rocks do fall over a lot when you start out and it takes lots of focus and perseverance to keep going and find the exact balancing spot where the rock seems to 'click into place' and suddenly balance by itself in a state of perfect equilibrium. Sometimes it just won't balance and you need to start again by moving the rocks and finding a new contact point which gives different traction and a new opportunity to find the balance point.

From a personal point of view I found the experience quite uplifting - both from a meditative and enjoyment perspective. I must have spent at least 4 hours on the beach doing it and managed to get around 20 rocks balancing precariously. The experience was meditative because it enabled me to completely clear my mind and be entirely in the moment focused on balancing the rock. The process of constantly making tiny adjustments and manoeuvring the rock's position nearer to it's center of balance is actually quite hard to explain until you've tried it yourself, but when you find equilibrium with the rocks you do get a huge sense of achievement. Most of the rocks I balanced stayed there all afternoon, however a few fell over. Some for natural reasons like the wind, others because people came over and touched them - not quite believing what they were seeing.

Of course when you do something like this on a beach, which stands out and is quite unusual you do attract attention even if it's not intentional. I had managed to get about 20 rocks balancing and this attracted both children and adults to come over and explore. I guess this is what it might feel like when you curate your own art exhibition - which I've not actually done before.

What was interesting were the reactions of different people.

The children, who were the first to come up, were curious, super excited and intrigued by the balancing rocks. Of course they all instantly wanted to have a go themselves because it captured their imagination. At one point there were 5 or 6 children trying it out together. Interestingly, none of them tried to knock over the rocks I had balanced. They were all eager to have a chat about the miraculous balancing rocks. From a mindset perspective they all believed it was possible and didn't have any negative beliefs tainting their perspective.

The reactions of the adults was equally interesting. Quite a few clearly did not believe the rocks were balanced. It's amazing how adults let their pre-conceptions and limiting beliefs affect their thoughts and actions. In fact one adult said the rocks had to be "glued down" to stay in there positions. They then promptly touched one of the balanced rocks expecting it to stay put and prove their point, which of course it did not.

That said, quite a few people did comment positively and get into a conversation about "Art" and "Creativity". In fact I learnt from one ceramics artist all about "positive space" and "negative space". "Positive space" being the specific object (and the space it takes up) and "negative space" being the space around the object (where there is literally just space). Think of the sculptures of Henry Moore or Barbara Hepworth - the spaces in and around the statues are what create the real intrigue and impact.

So why have I written about this experience?

Well it got me thinking about a number of things.

  • The benefits of trying something new and unusual.

  • The specific benefits of 'rock balancing'.

  • The possibility of integrating the concept of "rock balancing" into my Performance and Leadership solutions.

  • The mindsets and reactions of children and adults when it comes to seeing something unusual or different which sticks out from the crowd.

In term of benefits I think there are definitely a few:

  • It's Meditative and helping you find a deep level of Calmness.

  • It's Enjoyable and allows you to engage your Creativity.

  • It certainly tests and develops your Patience and Focus.

  • It requires Persistence and a willingness to Grow.

  • It activates your Curiosity and requires Bravery to keep trying and failing.

  • It helps your Knowledge because you are actively Learning about the physical laws.

As mentioned about I might well consider integrating the concept into some of my performance and leadership solutions because of the benefits and value this can bring people. Giving people a different experience and perspective is often what is required to help individuals and leaders grow and manage change. At the same time looking after your own mental and physical well-being is crucial if you want to maintain your own performance and that of your teams. Meditative activities that help clear your mind and focus on the now are also great ways to help manage stress or burn-out.

I'd love to know your thoughts.

  • If I integrated 'rock balancing' into one of my leadership solutions would you be interested?

  • Have you tried 'rock balancing' and if so, what was your experience the first time you did it?

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