According to Catholic doctrine, being pope is the ultimate gig (and therefore) the last thing you can ever be, and every pontiff for the last 600 years has honoured this tradition by dying on the job.

Does he get a retirement package?

Can he keep the title like retired US presidents do?

Can he write a tell-all book and flog it on Oprah?

Does he still get the big burial in St Peter’s?

The 265th pope has exposed the crucial difference between what is forbidden and what has simply never been tried. And that makes him a game changer, because he’s forced the scholars to rush back to check the Holy Rule Book only to come back with; ‘Ummm… actually, there’s nothing that says he can’t do that.’

That’s the moment we realise that some of the rules that inhibit us aren’t really rules at all.

When Olympic high jumper Dick Fosbury shattered the World Record in 1968, the sporting world was stunned, not just by what he’d done but by how he’d done it.

Whereas every jumper there ever was had applied the frontal ‘scissor jump’ Fosbury chose instead to hurl himself over the bar backwards in a peculiar move the commentators mockingly dubbed the ‘Fosbury Flop’. It was weird, it was unprecedented and it worked way better than the old way.

The sporting world held its breath as the officials and judges trawled the regulations. The verdict? ‘Ummm… actually, there’s nothing that says he can’t do that.’

Which is why every jumper ever since has flopped their way into the record books.

Bill Richmond was one of the greatest bare-knuckle boxers of the late 18th century and the first fighter in the 400 year history of boxing to think about moving his head out of the way of a punch, much to the shock of his opponent, the spectators and the officials who could find nothing in the rule book that specifically said you had to get hit in the head.

Much of what we think of as ‘rules’ are really just traditions and habits and assumptions that don’t get challenged until some new kid comes along who really doesn’t see the value of dying at the office or getting punched in the head, just because everyone else has.

So here’s a rule worth writing down: ‘Unwritten rules’ don’t count.

By leaving the Vatican on foot and not in a box, Benedict XVI has changed the game for whoever puts on the Big Hat from here on in.

So next time someone tells you ‘that’s not allowed’ ask for a copy of the Holy Rule Book and check it out for yourself.

Who knows? You might find something else that isn’t actually forbidden.

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Written by Jason Clarke

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Celebrated author, adventurer, gold medal Olympian and popular TV chef; Jason is none of these things. He is, however, one of the most sought-after creative minds in the country. As founder of Minds at Work, he’s helped people ‘think again’ since the end of the last century, working with clients across Australia in virtually every industry and government sector on issues ranging from creativity and trouble shooting to culture change and leadership.