Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Whack on the Side of the Head

Sometimes the most surprising things can get you thinking. Even the newspaper. I was sent an extraordinary story recently and whether it is true or not is kind of beside my point. It appears that during a speedway race, a Czech rider named Matej Kus fell off his bike and was badly concussed. Nothing surprising there. It was what happened next that was extraordinary. As Kus regained consciousness, it was discovered that he could speak perfect English, something he couldn’t do before the crash. Immediately I was reminded of a great Spike Milligan joke. A patient about to be wheeled into the operating theater asks the surgeon if he will be able to play the piano after his operation. When the surgeon reassured him that of course he would, the patient beamed. “That’s great. I couldn’t before.” Put Kus’s concussion and Spike’s joke together and you get close to the fantastic power that shaking up assumptions can have in getting you to new and unexpected places. It is what Roger von Oech famously described as A Whack on the Side of the Head. Although Mr Kus probably took it a little too literally, in my experience, the best way to have an idea is not to sit down at a meeting and talk endlessly at each other but to take yourself out into the world. A speedway perhaps?


Piotr Jakubowski said...

I can just see you falling off that bike and putting into play Kempton's idea of SISOMODORPOT.

I've always wondered why the sport of speedway hasn't really caught on too much outside of Europe, even though there are American riders in the competition.

As for your last comment. How can you discover without going anywhere or doing anything? Personally, I think the process would be hindered.

Susan Plunkett said...

There were two similar cases within weeks of each other. Intriguing.


Speedway is big stuff in many parts of Australia and certainly in larger rural country towns. It's big in the US too I thought. However, what vehicle are you discussing? Speedway here and in the US means cars (or that's my experience).

"How can you discover without going anywhere or doing anything?"

How did Plato et al arrive at what considerations and philosophies of life they did when their geographical experience was so relatively limited?

Piotr Jakubowski said...

Speedway in Europe is with motorcycles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorcycle_speedway

As for discovery, I think more often than not people are forced to go somewhere or do something that stretcheds their perception and thought process, paving way for new ideas to flow.

Susan Plunkett said...

We have motorcycle speedway.

I again pose about Plato etc.

Anonymous said...

or perhaps consider the trials and learnings of those who have had a whack to the head without going anywhere at all.

After a febrile illness I was left with a french accent for a period of 5-6 months. One of only 12 documented cases in the world. The accent cut in and out over time. Very awkward when mid conversation.

I learned all about how a person is treated when percieved as not understanding english.

I learned how fragile every day of good health can be and compassion without needing to understand anothers situation fully.

Things can happen to any of us at any time at all. Passes are not given to the attractive, successful or wealthy.

My concept of balance and success in business also includes ensuring that I include small ways to support causes I dont understand.

I agree with stretching. My random experience will always stretch exactly what I would see at the speedway.

BobS said...

Hmmmm..I am learning German and look forward to the day some years down the track when I can converse quite meaningfully. Just wondering, if I bought a BMW motorbike and deliberately fell off taking care to have my head struck - might I wake up speaking fluent Deutsche mienen Gute freunden? Ja oder nicht?


Kevin Roberts said...

Anon – Thanks for your comments on this, really makes you wonder about reincarnation / past lives and the like. It’s good to hear this story from you.