The last ski boot I will ever wear!–Innovation stops when the imagination ends

February 13, 2010

“$1,700 for ski boots! OMFG, that is three times as much as I have ever spent on a pair of boots!” That was my inner monologue after getting fit for the most amazing ski boots I have ever worn. These are not the Lexus of boots, they are the Ferrari! They are high performance and great comfort–a combination you rarely find together. When making a turn, you simply anticipate the direction of the skies, and your legs and feet move in synchronization with the thought. You change course with no effort, no resistance, no delay. You become the boot, the ski, the turn.

These feet have been skiing for 44 of 48 years. They have been in leather-laced boots, rear-entry boots, light-weight boots, pro-form boots (from the days of teaching skiing), and boots that have traveled to ski mountains all around the world. Skiing is part of the identity of these feet and yet for some reason the owner of these feet needed to justify the purchase of such high performance boot to his friend by saying, “These are the last boots I will every wear!”

He said, “Don’t you say that. Take it back! What are you talking about? The last boot you will ever wear….I am going to go out and buy you a new pair of boots if you don’t take it back.” It was clear I hit a nerve. Kayle did not want to believe that our ski years were limited to one last pair of boots. Nor did he think that his friend, me, would start offering statements on the back end of life.

After great discussion, I conceded. It was pretty easy to persuade me. Kayle knows that I find it difficult to work with people who do not have facile minds. He shared a story of a skier that he recently saw wearing laced boots and straight-edged skies. The skier said, “They don’t make skies like this anymore.” Kayle thought, “That’s right! They make them so much better, more responsive, more dynamic and way more forgiving.”

The innovations in ski equipment have been amazing in the past 10 years, and they’re likely to be even greater in the years to come. Innovation stops when the imagination ends. Our minds become rigid when we do not increase the amount and accelerate the pace of change that we can tolerate.

Are you of a mind that this is the last job you will every have? The last upgrade I will ever need on my system? The last technique I will learn to improve my sales? The last business book I will ever read? If so, you better have a great answer! And I’d like to hear what it is, so please share it in the comments of this post.

Don’t let this be the last anything that you will do, own, or be! Keep adapting, keep facile, and be young!

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