Living on the Edge of Chaos

In Moto GP, over the course of a season, there are usually 3 or 4 riders who win the vast majority of races and then a large gap separating them from the rest of the field.  This is not necessarily because these riders have better bikes, or are better drivers - but rather because of one feature of their racing.

When the top riders come to a corner, they accelerate.

Common sense, physics, survival instincts and mothers all agree that riders should decelerate as they reach a corner because of the increased danger - and that is exactly what most of the riders do!  However, the ones that skirt this and put the throttle down into the corner are the ones that win.  Again and Again.

They live on the edge of chaos.

Now this phenomenon is true in most sports, where a small portion of participants dominate the majority of competitions.  They know what it takes during the heat of battle, because they have placed themselves under that pressure time after time in preparation.  They understand that when their body wants to give up on them, they still have a reserve tank to utilise.  This also rings true in other areas - music, literature, craftsmanship, media, politics.  It seems to mirror a modern expression of the 80-20 Rule.

Imagine, for a second, that I take you up onto a cliff.  While we stand 20m away from the edge, you are relaxed and you can bask in the view.  The closer we walk towards the edge, you start to forget about the sun peeking over the horizon and start to look at the chasm separating your current perch from the floor.  Your heart starts to race, your body begins to twitch and all your senses are heightened...

That is where true success lies!  The top performers in this world recognise that the greatest advantage lies right at the end of the comfort zone.  As most people will disqualify themselves before that point (stop walking while still 10m from the edge of the cliff), by simply getting there, you are already ahead.  Thus, enabling you to make huge strides and attain disproportionate gains.  That last metre from the cliff is the same distance as the metre between the 20m and 19m points.  However, its importance is greatly emphasised.

When a runner trains for a marathon.  The real training is not in the first half of the run, the real progress comes from pushing through the last 10km when the body is aching, the sun is taking its toll and the mind is saying: "Give Up."

On the edge of chaos.

If you are really trying to achieve something special, it goes without saying that you need to do more than what most people are doing.  But how many of us actually act on that?

Comparing yourself to other people and being content that you doing just enough to stay ahead is naive.  You have to go above and beyond, because on the edge of chaos is where you need to thrive.  When you think you are doing enough to make it, that is when you must take the next step, work harder, push yourself further.  You will be surprised how much you can actually do after your tank says 'empty'.  That is when you take advantage of the disproportionate gains.

If everything seems under control, you just aren't going fast enough.

Mario Andretti

Living on the edge of chaos is exhausting, but exhilarating.

Scary, but thrilling.

Dangerous, but worthwhile.