The Invisible World of Being Human

Michael Gervais and his Love of Peak Human Performance

Krista Stryker
8 min readJan 30, 2024
Illustration by Mihajlo Stojanovic

“We haven’t even scratched the surface of our human potential. If there are any limits, they’re just the beginning of limits.” — Dr. Michael Gervais

This article was originally published on my Substack newsletter, On Fire, which profiles the most passionate people in the world. You can subscribe for free here.

Michael Gervais, a fifteen-year-old competitive surfer, paddles into the horizon. It’s just before dawn. The water is glass clear, with waves about a foot overhead. Conditions, in other words, are perfect.

But something feels disconnected as he sits on his board this morning. His mind is clouded by a weight he can’t shake off.

An older surfer notices Gervais’ distant gaze and paddles over. “I surf with you every day,” he says. “You’ve got to stop worrying about all the things that could go wrong.”

Before Gervais can ask the older surfer if he is clairvoyant, the surfer paddles away. Gervais ponders his advice, and soon, he has an epiphany.

“I just flipped it around,” he says as he recounts this encounter at the crux of his surfing career…



Krista Stryker

Performance coach, writer, and athlete. I write about how you can experience personal transformation through movement and exercise.