In 1853, New York City was the first to host the World’s Fair!  This was an opportunity for the world’s latest and greatest inventions to be showcased.  This was also an opportunity for Elisha Otis to pull off one of the most remarkable stunts in the fair’s history.

Otis was the inventor of the safety elevator brake.  You can imagine how difficult it would have been for him to make his 30 second “elevator pitch” (lol, see what I did there?)…anyways…At that time, there were only a handful of buildings taller than five floors in New York City.  No one wanted to walk up that many flights of stairs and renting out top floor real estate was next to impossible.  

At the World’s Fair, Elisha Otis stood on an elevator platform high enough for everyone to see him.  He had an axeman positioned above the elevator and cued him to cut the rope.  With a gasp from the crowd, Otis secured the elevator with his safety brake and pronounced “All safe, ladies and gentlemen.  All safe.”

In 1854, Otis installed an elevator in a building on Broadway and the rest, as they say, is history.

By 1890, there were 10 buildings that were taller than 10 stories.  By 1900 there were sixty-five buildings taller than twenty stories.  And by 1908, there were 538 buildings in New York City that qualified as skyscrapers.  

Elisha Otis had put the world into motion.  Top floor real estate started producing higher revenues as residents wanted the best view in the city, and without needing to walk up stairs to do so.  According to the Otis Elevator Company, the equivalent of the world’s population rides on their products every three days – and all because he had the courage to cut the rope.

While cutting the rope doesn’t seem to be the safest option, in order to progress forwards, it’s often the only option.  It’s about taking calculated risks and looking at a risk:reward ratio.  Perhaps the greatest risk is not taking any risks at all.  That would be a recipe for mediocrity.  All too often we feel tied down to what we know.  What we feel comfortable with.  And we’re not willing to take that step (or leap) forward to see what else we are capable of.  

Each of us has so much stored potential that is ready to be unleashed if you were to just take the next step.  

What are you being held back from?  What calculated risks need to be addressed?  What rope do you need to cut?


If you’d like to check out the book that I’m working through, here is the link!  Win The Day
Batterson, Mark. Win the Day: Seven Daily Habits to Help You Stress Less and Accomplish More. Multnomah, 2020.