Over the Bar
You ever watch the High Jump during the Olympics or on television during one of the rare occasions they show track and field events? I think the competition is somewhat cool, probably at least partly because I can’t do it very well. I have never been a very good jumper either horizontally or vertically. The idea is that the athlete approaches a horizontal bar and attempts to leap over it without knocking the bar down. Each time they raise the bar a little higher. Naturally, whoever jumps the highest wins.
The first recorded High Jump event was in the 19th century in Scotland. They would basically just scissors-kick over the bar. That advanced to running up to the bar and then throwing the one leg over and then the other. Shortly after people innovated with “roll” techniques where they would almost literally roll their body over the bar. For protection, there would be a sawdust pit on the other side of the bar for a landing area.
Changing the Landscape
The real innovation happened in 1968 when Dick Fosbury of Oregon State University employed a totally different technique. By this time, the saw dust pit gave way to a cushioned landing area. Fosbury would run up on the bar at an angle and the thrust himself backwards over the bar, head first, and complete the jump by “flopping” his legs over and landing on his back. Fosbury used this technique to win the Gold Medal in the 1968 Olympics. Today, almost every high jumper uses the “Fosbury Flop” technique. The current record, according to Reference.com, is 8 feet and one-half inch set by Javier Sotomayor from Cuba.
Leap of Faith
The reason I mention this is an observation made about the flop technique. If you were to do that and land on hard ground or even in the old saw dust pits, you would likely break your neck. In other words, if the cushion wasn’t there and you landed, you would be in a whole lot of trouble. Broken bones, skull and brain damage would be highly probable. But the flopper, because of the technique, doesn’t get to see the landing area as they are jumping; they simply have faith that it is there and that they will land in the right spot. It is a LEAP OF FAITH in their ability to complete the jump.
The high jumper makes this leap of faith because they believe in their skills, their training, their visualization, and their execution to make the jump without getting injured. He TRUSTS himself to do what he has prepared and trained to do. He doesn’t wonder if any kind of outside force is going to get in the way, he trusts his body and his training to get the job done. He doesn’t create excuses for why he can’t jump today, he just goes and gets the job done.
Even though he BELIEVES he will be successful every time he jumps, he actually doesn’t KNOW until it is over whether he has been successful or not. So, the high jumper has FAITH in his ability to perform every time; even when he is unsuccessful or bettered by others. At no point does he give up because the weather got in his way, or the bar was mounted incorrectly, or there are others competing that are more athletic or talented. He ignores all outside factors and simply has FAITH in his skills and training and performs the best he can.
Flopping Our Way to Success
You and I may not be jumping over a bar 8 foot of the ground, (I already mentioned I am a terrible jumper), but we face hurdles and walls as we pursue our goals and dreams. To overcome those hurdles and complete our mission successfully, we have to have FAITH in our abilities, prepare ourselves for success, expect success, and then success will come. We won’t really be able to see the landing area until we are up and over the bar, and sometimes not until we land. But the landing area is there and we have believe we will clear the hurdles and land successfully. That is our LEAP OF FAITH.
What’s keeping you from making that LEAP OF FAITH? What is argument you give yourself? Is it true? It is always true? How can you prepare yourself more effectively to take a Leap of Faith? How can you reinforce your beliefs everyday to keep that faith alive?
- Target an area where you feel like you are not where you want to be. Where do you want to be? What do you think is holding you back from reaching that goal?
- Apply a little realism. Are the things you THINK are holding you back real or imagined? Are they simply excuses? It’s time to be brutally honest with yourself. Yeah, you know the real answer!
- Read or listen to a daily affirmation to keep a positive mindset. Reading it out loud is best because the most important words you hear are the ones you say to yourself. This is not (necessarily) New Age stuff; it is real and valid. Zig Ziglar, Norman Vincent Peale, and others have promoted positive affirmations as a way of changing your mindset and your life. Here’s a good one from Hal Elrod or you can get one from Zig. I prefer the Ziglar version, although it is a little longer.
- Engage in your daily personal growth to prepare yourself for success. Remember, be a 1%er.
“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.”