Change Your Reference Point…

I love delving into the historical archives and pulling out stories of success…

History is resplendent with people doing what was once considered impossible and in that story are lessons we can all extrapolate and use for our own, very individual, success…

One of the stories I love to tell is that of Sir Roger Bannister.

Back when he was a studying medicine (he went on to become a neurologist) at Oxford, he was also a British middle distance runner who set a British record in the 1500 meters at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki.

This gave him the idea that he could improve and compete at the highest level and that just maybe, with the correct training and pacemaking, could break the mythical four minute barrier for the mile…

This was a barrier that, at the time, was deemed impossible – in fact, the foremost scientists and doctors of the day didn’t believe that the human body was physically capable of such a feat.

They claimed that a human’s lungs weren’t big enough, that to attempt it was to induce a heart attack as the heart wouldn’t be able to pump enough oxygen into the working muscles, and so on…

As a result of this, the prevailing self-talk was, “it cannot be done!”

Fortunately, Bannister didn’t buy in to it, and on the  6th May, 1954, Bannister clocked an ‘impossible’ time of 3.59:4 which is even more remarkable considering he did it with minimal training!

Fortunately, Bannister understood something about the mind – He changed his self-talk and only focused on, “I can do it!” As a result, he did it and the prevailing self-talk and belief about what was possible changed that overcast day in May…

In fact it changed so much he only held the record for forty-six days!

And what’s the lesson we can learn from this?

Well… What’s your self-talk? What are you telling yourself you cannot do? You know, if you can hold it in your mind, and you can get emotionally involved with it, and it appears real to you, you CAN DO IT!

All you need to do is change your reference point.

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