Sometimes we're afraid of risk. Risk
has an element of fear, because it means
taking a chance that might not pay off.
It involves the unknown, and we tend to
fear the unknown. By avoiding risk, we
don't set ourselves apart. And if we
don't take risks, someone else will.
Then they'll move ahead to seize
opportunities that could have been ours.
We will probably make mistakes along the
way. But failure is good so long as we
learn from our mistakes. Remember
Peter's crash on the Horizontal Bar at
the World Championships? That risk,
which ended in failure, was just the
wake-up call he needed to better focus
on his preparation for the Olympics. And
at the Games, he didn't crash, he scored
a 10. Peter has said that "You can
always play it safe, but there is always
someone else out there who is willing to
push the envelope, to take the
appropriate chances, and in the long run
he's going to end up on top."
In order to risk, we have to overcome
fear and realize that the worst that can
happen is not failure, but a temporary
setback. We can all learn from setbacks.
So in reality, by risking, we either
succeed or learn, or both. Risk allows
us to move ahead and grow, rather than
remaining stuck in the same place,
satisfied with the status quo.
And of course, the principle of Risk
must be applied together with
Originality and Virtuosity.
to copy other people. Imitation is often
a safe behavior to guarantee a certain
level of success. Someone succeeds while
doing something a certain way and we
imitate them in hopes of achieving the
same success. It's true, we can learn
from others. But if we do no more than
follow, we're always playing catch up.
Someone else will always lead the way.
If we strive for originality, without
worrying about the next guy, we can get
to the point where "we have become the
standard of excellence, and everyone is
Think about Peter's innovative handstand
skill on the pommel horse. He kept
asking, "What if I could surprise the
Judge? What if I can figure out a way to
do something that's never been done
before?" He knew an entirely new skill
would set him apart from the
competition. Sometimes one can learn
something new and original by accident.
A crucial moment for Peter is when he
fell off the pommel horse in competition
and accidentally created an entirely new
skill, which he later used to help him
win the Gold in the Olympics. "Sometimes
we trip and fall over great ideas, and
if we are alert, we can pick them up and
use them to our advantage."
True success comes with an original idea
or an original way of doing something
common. Remember, "Stop playing catch
up, stop watching the other guy, do
things on your own that you know will
make a difference." Also, new skills or
methods are sometimes learned by
accident, usually when we're taking
risks. This is how Risk and Originality
can work together. And Virtuosity is the
final part of the equation.
Perform an ordinary skill in an extraordinary
virtuosity means doing something with
the ultimate proficiency and
skill, showing that you are simply the
best at what you do. The best way to
become skilled is to work hard and
smart. While we cannot control the
amount of natural ability we have, we
can control the amount of effort we put
Think about Peter's description of his
daily training with Tim Daggett before
the Olympics. They had a vision in their
minds of what they wanted to accomplish,
and how they were going to perform to
reach those goals. Remember, PRACTICE
MAKES PERMANENT... so practice
right. What we do over and over again
will become permanent behavior. If we
approach each day with average effort,
we will consistently get average
results. But when we place a high enough
value on something, we'll figure out a
way to get the job done well. In order
to apply the principle of virtuosity, we
must always remember our ultimate goal,
even if reaching our goals takes years
to accomplish. And those final goals
must be of great worth to us personally.
By constantly keeping the Olympic Gold
Medal in mind, Peter placed a great
value on every workout. And there
were big rewards for his
little extra efforts.
Virtuosity involves taking a common
skill and working hard to perform the
task better. Add your own flair. Let
your own personality and unique
qualities shine through. Risk using your
own Originality to develop Virtuosity.