Habits of successful Olympians you can use to be more competitive at work - Deepstash

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The Fosbury Flop

The Fosbury Flop

At the 1968 Olympic Games, Dick Fosbury jumped over the high bar backwards. Until then, every Olympic high jump athlete had gone over forward. However, within eight years, 90% of high jumpers were going over the bar backwards, and today, every high jumper uses the "Fosbury Flop."

The biggest leaps forward for athletes are discovering an idea or concept that changes the game itself. This means not using the same patterns as everyone else.

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Identify and enhance your strengths

Make a list of all the initiatives you are using or considering. Then ask if you are successful, what impact will it have on your objectives? Divide them into the following categories:

  • Waste of time: These are difficult and have little impact. Direct your energy to other activities.
  • Tactics: Easy to execute, but not very impactful. Do these, but don't make them a priority.
  • Winning moves: Easy to execute and very impactful. Direct your attention to these.
  • Crazy ideas: Wild ideas that might look crazy to others and are difficult to execute. Spend some time considering if these are feasible.

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Design for continuous improvement

Design for continuous improvement

Olympic swimmers always swam to the wall, grab hold, and kick off to turn. In the 1936 Olympics, sixteen-year-old Vande Weghe developed an advantage by introducing a flip-turn, a smooth flip underwater to maintain momentum. He held the advantage for about a year until others started copying his method.

Expertise and conventional rules can hold us back by repeating what has worked in the past. Instead, approach your initiatives with a beginner's mind. Imagine you are approaching it for the first time, then find unique solutions.

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Leverage new technology

Leverage new technology

The best athletes and coaches use technological advancements to gain an edge. For example, new spikes on cleats help sprinters to run faster.

But the immediate performance gain is just the first step. Technology also opens the door to revise commonly-held approaches on how something is done. Dick Fosbury could only jump over the high bar backwards after the thick cushioned landing pads had been introduced a few years earlier.

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Train your mindset to attempt new techniques

Train your mindset to attempt new techniques

The flip-tun stayed the same from 1936 to 2015. Then Ryan Lochte attempted a new style of turning where he would remain on his back much longer, earning him multiple gold medals.

If you play the game the way you've always played, you will get the result you've always expected. To improve your outcome, change how you approach the game. Develop a habit of seeking new approaches while looking past accepted solutions.

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