He was like an artist, a filmmaker or a painter. You could guess which way the work of art was heading but you didn’t know quite how he was going to get there – Bob Lelangue on Eddy Merckx
Merckx legacy is not one of innovation. He did not create anything new in terms of the technical side of cycling…but you don’t have to be a great innovator to be a genius – William Fotheringham
These two quotes on the cyclist Eddy Merckx from the biography Half Man, Half Bike struck a chord. When he was at the top of his profession in the early 1970′s people assumed his annihilation of his competitors was a sign of disrespect and arrogance. Merckx’s domination in cycling stemmed from his pathological fear of failure.
In cycling, the french term Souplesse describes the greats – there is no direct english equal but a the closest definition I could find was the ideal, sought by all and obtained only by The Few.
In some ways I see it as being similar to the concept of flow – of things coming together at the right time. Every so often we have those fleeting moments where we push ourselves outside of our limits and meet our own personal moment of ‘Souplesse‘. It is an example of craftsmanship that comes from experience that lifts the work to a new level.
We are all faced with the fear of the unknown – that moment where you go down a serendipitous path not knowing exactly what is at the end of it. We have an idea, a hunch or intuition but the path getting there is obscured.
‘Souplesse‘ implies pushing the limits of what you know further than before – or to put it another way going outside your comfort zone.
I hope to apply a little ‘Souplesse‘ in all areas of my professional and personal life in 2013.