If you follow sports, you may have heard of Roger Bannister. He began his running career when he was a student at Oxford University in 1946. Prior to that time, he had never actually run on a track. Back in those days, no one had access to the expert training skills that are offered today. But, in 1947 he showed incredible promise when he ran a mile in 4 minutes and 24 seconds. At that time, he had only been training for three weeks! He was selected as an Olympic possible in 1948, but he did not feel ready for that level of competition. However, he did attend the Olympics in 1948 and set his eyes on the 1952 games which were to be held in Helsinki.
He continued to train over the next several years and saw great improvement. By 1950, he was running the mile in 4 minutes and 13 seconds. As time passed, he trained harder and more seriously. In December of 1951 at the Penn relays, he ran the mile at a rate of 4 minutes and 7 seconds. Forty-seven thousand people were in the stands cheering him on and with their encouragement, he felt that he could break the barrier.
Over the years, there had been many speculations about the possibility of the 4 minute mile. Some believed that it was impossible, claiming that a runner’s heart would explode if they ran that fast. Roger Bannister, who later became a medical doctor, stated that many of the propagated myths had been created by sports writers who wanted to profit from the stories. The world record had been 4 minutes and 1.4 seconds for over nine years. However, Bannister still thought that the 4 minute mile barrier could be broken and on May 6, 1954, at the Iffley Road track in Oxford, Roger Bannister broke the record.
I wanted to give that background to honor his achievement, but that really is not the purpose of this Tip. The fact of the matter is that, although Roger Bannister broke a record that had been held for over 9 years, the more amazing thing is what happened afterwards. Forty-six days later, on June 21, Bannister’s record was broken by John Landy, of Australia. He broke the record by almost 2 seconds!
In the days ahead, Bannister and Landy met and raced each other. Although Landy led in the beginning, he made a fatal mistake towards the end of the race by looking back over his left shoulder to see where Bannister was and Roger Bannister ran past him to win the contest. That was a costly mistake which would serve to remind us that we all should keep our eyes on the goal and prize ahead of us, rather than on what might be going on around us. But, that is still not the purpose of this Tip!
I suppose by now you are wondering, “Well, Dr. Rohm, what IS the purpose of this Tip?!” The point is this; barriers can be broken!
Since the time that particular barrier was broken, there have been runners all over the world who have run the mile in less than 4 minutes. As a matter of fact, there are children in junior high school who have done it! What was once thought of as an impossible barrier by the greatest runner in the world has now been surpassed even by junior high kids. I find that to be remarkable!
What I want you to get from this Tip is that often barriers exist only in our mind. What is a barrier to me may not be a barrier to you at all. The things that hinder me in my life may seem very simple to you. I may let things bother me that are very insignificant. You may run right past them; and in record time. Barriers can be broken!
My friend Gary had a goal to make 5 million dollars in 5 days. He only made 4 1/2 million and was bummed out about it! I will let you think about that kind of mindset for a while! When I was growing up the minimum wage was $1.65 and hour. I remember thinking to myself, “If I can ever break the $2.00 an hour barrier, I will be one rich dude!” Growing up in Yazoo City, Mississippi, Zig Ziglar’s goal was to one day own his own grocery store! See what I mean about mental barriers?
I will always be amazed that what was once thought to be impossible is now something that has been accomplished by junior high school kids all over the world. Isn’t that startling? Their attitude is just, “Go ahead and do the best you can and see what happens.” There is nothing wrong with thinking positive and trying to do the best you can do in every endeavor of life!
It worked for Roger Bannister in his life; it works for junior high school kids today; and it will work for all of us, too. Go ahead, do the best you can and see what happens!
Tip: Break your mental barriers!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm
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