One hedge at a time

In the quest for progress and performance, milestone victories are essential. They enable us to take things one step at a time, and not be paralyzed by an overly ambitious goal. The same goes for repositioning yourself or bouncing back after a setback.

One hurdle after another”, as Guy Drut, Olympic 110m hurdles champion at the 1976 Montreal Games, used to say. There’s a saying that goes: “Every day deserves its own punishment”.

When I returned from Martinique at the age of 8, I was destabilized by the change to metropolitan life in the suburbs of Paris, and found myself among the last in the CM1 class. It seemed very hard to change things, to get back on top, but I remember a thought crossing my mind: “to get back on top, first you have to be better than 23rd in the class, then 22nd…”. And in CM2, I was in the top 3!

In 1984, Ivan Lendl won his first grand slam at Roland Garros against John McEnroe. He had already lost four finals and was nicknamed “the eternal loser”. What’s more, he was trailing Big Mac 2 sets to nil, but he eventually rallied, game after game, set after set, and won!

“Take the first step with confidence. You don’t need to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.

Martin Luther King

And you, what has been your experience of stage victories?