Home » Archive » Pinnacles and plains

, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

How do I best build from here? It seems that, as intention rises, so does adversity. And it’s a subtle adversity: continued, average, success. Success in the middle seems the best corrosive agent, preventing success at the top.

There’s a story of a Maine fisherman who, while unloading a catch of lobster, got a visit from a curious neighbour. There were two boxes of lobster on the dock: one with a lid and another without. The visitor wanted to know: why only one with a lid?

The old fisherman grinned up at his neighbour. The one with the lid held Maine lobster — the box bumped and jostled with lobster clamouring to get out. The other held Canadian lobster.

Canadian lobster were happy in their box. They needed no lid. The rest would pull back in any one lobster that tried to get out.

“Let’s be happy here” is one of Canada’s best national sentiments. But it’s got an insidious shadow in “let’s spread success around”.

Here’s the thing: don’t share success. Don’t spread brilliance until it’s average. Invest deeply, deliberately, and precisely in ways that create pinnacles — not plains.

Don’t borrow my brilliance, hitch-hike on my reputation, or copy my path — bring your own. I’ve just barely reached the middle. Bring your brilliance. Maybe together we can reach the top.


Penalize the rich with taxes, marginalize the brilliant, and discourage any activity that might make the mediocre uncomfortable!

The human condition seems inclined to gauge success by comparison to those around us, instead of by comparison to what we are capable of individually. Because of this, we find it much easier to pull others back, or hold them down, so that we look “as good” by comparison.

Taking the charge to pursue our own potential, to make yourself better, just because you can, is the right and responsibility of this existence.

This challenge you’ve issued, Jeremy, is a beautiful paradox. If we believe, which I do, that we are capable of infinite growth, there is no top for us to reach. “Your reach should exceed your grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” At the same time, if we are always pushing the edge of our brilliance, we are always at the top.