Key 5: THE EDGE
Now we come, as come we must in anything of real consequence, to a seeming contradiction, a paradox. Almost without exception, those we know as masters are dedicated to the fundamentals of their calling. They are zealots of practice, connoisseurs of the small, incremental step. At the same time--and here's the paradox--these people, these masters, are precisely the ones who are likely to challenge previous limits, to take risks for the sake of higher performance, and even to become obsessive at times in that pursuit. Clearly, for them the key is not either/or, it's both/and.
Playing the edge is a balancing act. it demands the awareness to know when you're pushing yourself beyond safe limits. In this awareness, the man or woman on the path of mastery sometimes makes a conscious decision to do just that. We see this clearly in running, a sport so pure, so explicit that everything is likely to come quickly into full view. Running fast and hard almost always demands playing the edge, and it can't be denied that runners and would-be runners should be offered safe and sensible programs and warned against the dangers and pitfalls of their practice.
But before you can even consider playing this edge, there must be much instruction, practice, surrender, and intentionality.