Whenever I’m in a conversation about winning and the importance of the right mental attitude, I am always drawn to the story of Roger Bannister.
For thousands of years, people held the belief that it was impossible for a human being to run the mile in less than four minutes. In ancient Egypt it was said that they released lions to chase after slaves in order to break the four-minute mile. These attempts proved to be futile. The best time ever recorded was 4:06, and there was no way the barrier would be broken.
Scientists, doctors and experts declared that there was no way, a man could run a mile under four minutes. They said that if any person should try, ” His heart will jump right out of his body“. This negative belief continued until a man by the name of Roger Bannister decided not to believe in the experts, and others. Roger Bannister believed in himself. He went through a systematic training program and on the 6 May 1954 he ran the mile in less than four minutes, 3:59.40 to be exact.
Thus the barrier was finally broken, and within eighteen months, 12 other runners also broke the four minute mile. The real story here is not the achievement in itself, although that of course was ground-breaking, it is the mental toughness that Bannister displayed in pursuit of his goal.
Roger Bannister, chose not to believe in others, but to believe in himself. He had to change his own belief about the possibility of the four-minute mile. He got into shape physically and mentally. He actually visualized himself breaking the four-minute barrier, since no one had ever done it before. The greatest aspect of his breakthrough was what it did for others. If Roger Bannister can do it, so can we!
I wonder how many ‘ground-breaking’ moments you’ll have in the next 12 months? Will you do the impossible, at least once, maybe twice? Whatever the outcome, Roger Bannister showed us that the first imperative is to believe that you can do it! Time will tell…
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