“Over the Falls”

Jean Lussier was the ultimate entrepreneur. In 1928, he went over Niagara Falls in rubber ball six feet in diameter, seen here, lined with inner tubes.  He survived the falls – or, rather, Falls – and proceeded to sell pieces of the inner tubes for $.50 each.  When he ran out of inner tubes from inside the rubber ball, he sold pieces of inner tubes from those he bought from a local hardware store.

To date, fewer than a dozen people have attempt to go over Niagara Falls. The first one was an unemployed school teacher, Annie Edison Taylor, in 1901. She went over in a wine barrel with cushions. After she recovered from her trip, she was quoted as saying “No one ought ever do that again.” (Really?) Ten years later, Bobby Leach, a stuntman for a travelling circus, gave it a go. He went over in a steel barrel and survived – only to die from gangrene generated by – are you ready for this? – slipping on an orange peel in New Zealand.

Anyone can go over Niagara Falls.  It just takes six inches of bone instead of brains. But that is not the point. There will always be people willing to take the plunge. It is easy to become locked into your daily life. What is not easy is taking a chance.  This does not mean you should go whole hog.  You start small. In your garage. On your word processor. On a canvas you bought at the Salvation Army store.  In life, there is only direction of travel: forward.  The moment you stop moving forward you are retired whether you are still drawing a paycheck or not. As to success, think of it this way.  There are about 6,000 companies on the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ and every one of those companies started in someone’s kitchen or garage.

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