Storytelling, Turkish Get -Ups and Riding a Bike Backwards

The Turkish Getup is an exercise, most commonly done with kettlebells, where you are required to lift the weight overhead whilst getting up from the ground.

storytelling Unlike most weight lifting exercises, Turkish Get-Ups require you to remember a sequence. I think there are around 14 steps involved in doing one Get-Up.

So, the real frustration in learning to effectively do Turkish Get-Ups is not the weights you have to lift but the sequence you have to remember.

The only way to get the sequence embedded in your memory is by doing it  over and over again. Somehow, even though you theoretically know what to do, when you start doing it you keep forgetting.


Knowing what to do is not the same as being able to do it.

Another great example of such an experience is shared by Steve Denning in his article, What’s Missing In The Agile Manifesto Mindset.

There’s a really funny video on YouTube about someone riding a backwards bicycle—it’s a bicycle where if you turn the handlebars left, the wheels turn right. The rider knows what he has to know, but he simply cannot do it. His body will not execute the actions.

It’s funny watching people try to ride this bicycle and knowing what they have to do yet fail at it repeatedly. The author of the video tried to learn it and it took eight months of daily practice before he succeeded. Day after day, for eight months, he tried to ride it and couldn’t. Then suddenly one day, he found that he could. It was an overnight thing. The day before he couldn’t. The day after, he could. Suddenly he could ride the bicycle.

Knowing intellectually what you need to do is not the same thing as knowing intuitively and instinctively what you need to do and execute it fluently.

So, what is the point I am making? 

Storytelling is just like Turkish Get-Ups and riding a Backwards bike, the only way to learn it is by doing it over and over again.

I have made an observation in my work in storytelling that you become a great critique of storytelling very quickly but becoming a great practitioner requires practice and takes time.

The only difference between a successful storyteller and a non successful is that the successful practitioner kept going until one day it just naturally came, it worked.

Share this article:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Why the QR Code? The answer is in the request below we received from a regular blog reader.

"I attended your story telling course some time back. And I've enjoyed keeping up my knowledge with your blog. You may not have realised however, that the Whole of Government is implementing Internet Seperation. Hence I'm not able to access the links to read your articles. Could I suggest including a QR code in your emails so that I can use my mobile to scan it and gain immediate access to the article? It would be most helpful"