“Fosbury Flops over bar”… “a fish flopping in a boat”… “World’s laziest High Jumper”  These are just some of the headlines that Richard (Dick) Fosbury was ridiculed with, by the major papers, after discovering the back-first technique in high jumping. This technique became recognised as the Fosbury Flop in 1964.

This is because at age 16 he dared to try something different. To be different. He found he had a problem and looked for a solution, he revolutionised high jumping. It seems almost inconceivable that before him, athletes would jump front first, using the straddle technique. It would be a further four years, 1968, till he would go on to win Gold at Mexico City Olympics with his method, setting an Olympic record. A further four years would pass before 28 out of 40 athletes competing, would adopt this technique. Now, in the modern era, it is the most popular technique used by high jumpers. Some people have never even heard of previous techniques.

Thinking outside the box –  Ironically, its a cliché that means to think of clichéd situations in ways that aren’t clichéd    -Dustin Wax

One UK TV game show that intrigues me is called ‘Pointless’.  I would say it is a prime example of the success that can be achieved by going against the current, thinking differently from others and exploring unique ideas.  For those who are not familiar with the show; It is, as the BBC put it, a Quiz in which contestants try to score as few points as possible by plumbing the depths of their general knowledge to come up with the answers no-one else can think of.

In this show, if you get the question correct, the number of points you receive will depend on the number of the audience who guessed the same answer. This show takes the concept of thinking uniquely to another level. If you get a correct answer to a question and no one else in the audience guessed this answer, you receive a fantastic score of zero. Hence, the answer that many would deem ‘pointless’, is in fact a game changer; …A winning answer.  

There is a power in inquisitiveness and exploring new ideas. There is also a power in questioning the norm… This is arguably one of the best routes to success. Most successful people, including inventors and entrepreneurs, have such desire to revolutionise something and do not quit until they have found a solution. Till they make their mark.

We all have the power to do the same. We must believe that we can. And then we will.

The most successful people out there are not afraid to take risks. They know that the reward is worth it, that uniqueness pays. They have a way of viewing failure that is different to most people, as they use it as means to learn and improve their vision. I encourage us all to do the same.

Sometimes, in pursuit of a ‘pointless answer’ contestants of the show guess an obscure answer which turns out to be incorrect. Sometimes the risk does not pay off.  However, sometimes contestants are brave enough to try again and guess a unique answer, coming back to win the show.

We can bounce back from failure so the fear of failure should never be an excuse for us not to explore the unknown

** Do not be fooled. There is also a strong risk from following the herd, this seems to be the risk that many never talk about. The belief that it is always safer to follow the majority is one the most dangerous ways of thinking. John Paulson is an individual who will vouch for this. A man who made billions in the 2007/2008 financial crisis, by betting against the US subprime mortgage lending market, essentially betting on a US housing crash. He is reported to have sensed from as early as 2005 that something wasn’t right, that this was a housing bubble that would inevitably burst. He was right. The majority were wrong; … and badly wrong at that.

Back to Dick Fosbury; after coming under some scrutiny, Fosbury’s coaches at first encouraged him to continue practicing the straddle method, but later abandoned that when they saw his continued success from his new technique.

Remember, at first many will be reluctant to buy into your vision. This is okay. Never give up. Dick Fosbury never explicitly told anyone to adopt his technique, but the majority did, once they realised how successful it was. Let this be a lesson to you, to embrace your difference and challenge the norm.

Stay inspired. Be great… Become legendary!


Juliana – Idara



Image taken from BBC article in 2012. High jump legend Dick Fosbury on pressures of Olympic fame

Dick Fosbury 1968