In 1954, a young man called Roger Bannister blasted off the starting blocks to break the 4-minute mile record.
Up to that time, no one believed that such a feat was even possible. And consequently no one broke the record; because no one believed it could be broken; until Roger Bannister brought down the barriers and demonstrated to all and sundry that it could be done.
Sure enough, six months later, 37 more athletes broke the hitherto impossible 4-minute mile record!
The running track did not change. The individuals were the same ones who had failed many times before. The circumstances were the same as before.
What was the tipping point? What shifted?
Everything in life has a cause and effect. So, what caused Roger Bannister to break the previously unbreakable record?
The change was in Roger Bannister’s mind.
He believed he could break the 4-minute mile record.
But even before he broke the record on the tracks, he had to first of all break it in his mind.
The real barriers to success do not exist out there in the field; they are etched in our minds.
Roger Bannister says of that race “I was relaxing so much so that my mind seemed almost detached from my body”.
As he run towards the last few yards, knowing that the 4-minute mile feat was within reach, he says: “I had a moment of mixed joy and anguish when my mind took over. It raced well ahead of my body and drew me compellingly forward”.
Although his feet were the ones pounding the tracks, the real running was going on in his mind. He won that race in 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds.
What you think you can’t do becomes impossible to you not because it can’t be done, but because you think it can’t be done.
When Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile record, other athletes started seeing themselves breaking it.
According to the IAAF, the current men record for the same race is a bristling pace of 3 minutes, 43.13 seconds held by Ethiopia’s Hicham El Guerrouj.
Since success or failure is first experienced in the mind before it is manifested on the ground, we need to recondition our mind to align it with our purpose in life.
But how do we do this?
Below are seven keys to unlocking your mind and unleashing your full potential.
Believe you will succeed.
If you don’t believe you will succeed, don’t even try; you have failed without even starting.
59 seconds to the finishing line, Roger Bannister realized that an under 4 minute record was attainable. So he programmed his mind to accept that eventuality.
To succeed, you must first believe you will succeed. See yourself touching the finishing line before you physically touch it.
When you believe you can succeed, you program your mind to embrace success.
Make the decision to embark on your success journey.
Making a decision commits you to your goals.
Roger Bannister did not just believe he could break the world record; he made the decision to go for it.
Remember that the processing of these first two steps, believing and making a decision, occur in your mind.
Making a decision tells your mind that you are willing to pay the cost; to do whatever it takes to succeed – that you are ready and willing to commit.
3. Have a plan
Bannister’s first game plan was to shout at the pace-setter to increase the pace. While that didn’t work, he soon realized that for the record to be broken, he had to take charge. Propelled by his mind rather than his feet, he increased the pace and raced past the pace-setter.
Believing you can succeed and making a decision to commit to success will not help if you have no strategy on how you plan to achieve your goals.
The most important document for any organization is the strategic plan, not financial plans.
4. Imagine yourself succeeding
Before you even succeed, imagine in your mind how attaining your goals will feel like. Feel it now.
How will the desired success look like? See it now.
How will success sound like? Hear it now.
Close your eyes and see yourself as having already attained your goals.
5. Look to others who have gone ahead of you for inspiration
Unless you are a barrier-breaker like Bannister, there is always someone right now who is living your dream. Someone is already where you want to get to in the future.
Seek such people for mentorship. Read the books they have written; and the books they read. Attend their webinars and conferences. Follow them on social media and subscribe to their newsletters, podcasts and broadcasts.
Remember however that when you are modeling someone else, at best you can attain the same level of success they have attained.
But to break into uncharted territory; to set new records, you need to do what no one else has done before.
It does not matter how many other people break the record after you; only you will be remember for first breaking into new territory.
6. Take action
Don’t just take action. Take massive, focused, determined action. Until you start running the race of your life, you will always stay in the realm of potential.
You know you can do it; and maybe everyone knows you can do it as well. But until you actually get out there and do it, all your well thought-out and articulated ideas will remain as mere wishes.
Don’t wait until you have everything figured out before taking action. You will actually never have everything figured out. Sorry to burst your bubble; but that’s just the reality of life.
Take action. Now!
See you at the top!!