The Peak to Peak Principle

peak to peak progression

Sport teaches that life does not move by simply climbing pyramid #1 to its peak, and then leaping to the peak of pyramid #2, then to the peak of #3 and so forth. Sports teaches that once pyramid #1 is completed (regardless if that is a season, an Olympic cycle, or simply gaining a new skill), the next step is not a peak, but what appears on the surface as a move backwards. To some this move backwards may appear as an entirely new direction or even quitting. Case in point, Serena Williams practiced throwing footballs, took up martial arts, and ballet all to improve her tennis game. Who knows (and I doubt Serena ever cared) what judgement or conclusion an onlooker would make seeing Serena practicing football maneuvers?

After races in which Usain Bolt won an Olympic medal, set Olympic and World records, his coach would approach him almost immediately with key technical aspects of the race in which he identified opportunities to improve. In his autobiography Faster than Lighting, Usain Bolt shares how he couldn’t believe that his coach wouldn’t even give him a moment of glory, that he would immediately be bringing him back to earth after a medal or record performance. His coach wanted to ensure that the victory did not preclude the humbleness required to start on building yet another larger pyramid. Usain does not forget to mention that each time his coach identified the potential to run faster, that he did eventually go on to break his own records.

Read the full story here.

Usain Bolt - Faster than Lightning


Available at Chapters Indigo

1 thought on “The Peak to Peak Principle

  1. MGrodski Post author

    The peak to peak principle points to the fact that there is a paradox: when lessons from failure are learnt and applied this in time leads to success, conversely to continue succeeding requires evaluation of where, how, and why you failed despite the fact you achieved some predefined level labelled as “success”.

    Passion resides in living the paradoxical life – one where success and failure, uncertainty and consistency, desire and love – all coexist, and in one who is capable of transitioning freely back and forth across the spectrum exploring both end points and everything in between.

    In an amazing talk on this paradox, Ester Perel juxtaposes stability, security, and consistency against the simultaneous need for uncertainty, novelty, and curiosity which are all required to sustain lifelong passion.

    Esther Perel – TED talk ‘The Secret to Desire in a Long Term Relationship’

    In long-term relationships, we often expect our beloved to be both best friend and erotic partner. But as Esther Perel argues, good and committed sex draws on two conflicting needs: our need for security and our need for surprise. So how do you sustain desire? With wit and eloquence, Perel lets us in on the mystery of erotic intelligence.

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