This Ted Talk video by Sarah Lewis is pretty amazing. The idea that the “near win” motivates people toward mastery and virtuosity. How can we create near wins in ourselves and our athletes?

“Mastery is not a commitment to a goal but a constant pursuit.”

If we want to really be masterful, we can’t merely chase goals. We must pursue headlong something just outside our grasp. “Lord grant that I desire more than I can accomplish.” Michelangelo

I always reminded coaches at my gym, that the pursuit of virtuosity occurs in that gap between where you are and where you want to be. The struggle is to always create a gap that challenges us, motivates us and calls to us to be better than we are. The side effect of this is often ennui. The constant realization that we are never quite as good as we hope to be. We are left reaching.

In our reaching we often create and do wonderful, beautiful and inspiring things that, ironically, to us seem less than wonderful, beautiful and inspiring. This gets me fired up and excited to work harder and embrace the struggle. There is no end, you have just keep going.

On another note, how good a speaker is she? I love how she speaks so clearly and never has filler words. She stops, pauses, breathes and continues right on. It’s flawless. If I was going to critique her, I would want to see her being slightly more dynamic with her body language (she has robot arms) and making better eye contact with the audience. Still a masterful talk.

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