What can Dick Fosbury teach us about business

A flop

A short story by Paul Arden (from his book titled Whatever you think, think the opposite)

“Until the Mexico Olympics of 1968 the customary way for a high jumper to cross the bar was with his body parallel to it, in a technique known as the Western Roll. But that was about to change.

A little-know athlete approached the bar, which was set at a world record height of 7ft 4 1/4 inches. He took off, but instead of turning his body towards the bar, he turned his back on it. He brought his legs up and flipped over the bar backwards. His name was Dick Fosbury, and his method of jumping became know as the Fosbury Flop. It is still used today. He jumped higher than any man before, by thinking the opposite from everyone else. This example is just a technique for thinking, but here the technique for thinking became a technique for jumping, turning a flop into a success.”
_ _ _

I decided to share the above story with you for a couple of reasons: 1. I was recently invited to submit a proposal to deliver a seminar for the National Business Incubation Association’s (an organization advancing business incubation) 2oth Fall Training Institute; 2. A few days after I submitted my proposal (a surprisingly quick turnaround time), I was cordially inofrmed that my seminar was not accepted, because “it did not fit into” this particular event they said. Was I surprised? Yes and no. How come? Because I proposed to deliver my How to Divorce an Idea seminar.

Abraham Lincoln said this in December 1862 (during the second annual meeting of Congress): “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country.”

Lesson #1: Disenthrall means to free from bondage. Divorcing ideas is easier said than done. Especially the ones that don’t fit in.

Lesson #2: What’s a flop? If we consult the dictionary:

: To fall or lie down heavily and noisily;
Noun: An event that does not accomplish its intended purpose (e.g. “the play was a dismal flop).

Bur if we were to consult Dick Fosbury, would we get the same response?
Didn’t he jumped higher than any man before him by flopping by not fitting in?

Lesson #3: The flop is part of the journey over the top. But don’t take my word for it. Just ask Dick Fosbury.