May 6, 1954, on a windy spring day, Roger Bannister ran a mile in 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds in Oxford England. He crossed the finish line with a time of 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds, and broke through the “four minute mile” barrier. He demonstrated that the story about the impossibility of the four minute mile was only a myth, not a reality.
In less than 60 days, John Landy beat Roger Bannister’s record with a finishing time of 3 minutes and 57.9 seconds. Within the year several other runners managed to run less than a four minute mile. The current record holder is Hicham El Guerrouj from Morocco, with a time of 3:43.13.
For years, the four minute mile eluded runners, and was thought to be impossible. I am sure people documented the reasons for why this was impossible. So, why try? What lessons can we learn about the nature of breakthroughs? Remember, in my last blog I said that a breakthrough is an extraordinary and unprecedented result. Most people believe that breakthroughs are accidental. This is conventional wisdom. We believe breakthroughs can be created intentionally, if you know how to do it. What stops you from creating a breakthrough? YOU!
How many of us are constrained by our own stories of impossibility.
Some say seeing is believing – I say, you have to believe to see
As you can see by looking at the video below, we proved this last Wednesday. Approximately, thirty people came together to experience the power of belief for the purposes of creating a breakthrough. This was to demonstrate that, properly lead by Eric Best Ph. D., they could bend metal spoons and forks with just the power of their mind. You might say the demonstration was a trivial example. However, it was not for the people who overcame their traditional belief system. For them, it was a potentially life changing experience. 84% of the people were able to bend their spoon or fork.
Our belief system defines for us what is possible and impossible. Beliefs or what we call mindset (our rules of engagement) shape our actions because we see them as true. Or worst, we don’t even see our beliefs, but nonetheless, they shape our behavior like an automatic pilot. Our mindset shapes what we attempt or do not attempt to do in our everyday personal and professional life.
Success and failure begin and end in what we believe is possible. Roger Bannister must have held the belief to make it happen. Once he demonstrated the possibility, it was “easy” for others to make the commitment and to improve on his results.
The first step that a leader must take to create a breakthrough is to change his/her mindset and the mindset of his/her team. Some time ago Eric changed his mindset. Last Wednesday he changed the mindset of almost everyone in the room.
Just like the four minute mile many of the barriers that hold us back are self imposed. They exist only in our mind.
What are your four minute mile type stories, that you hold as true, but do not really know are true, that are holding you back in your personal and professional life? If you at the event Wednesday could you have done this.