Whatever The Mind Can Conceive and Believe, It Can Achieve

It was thought that running a mile in under 4-minutes was physically impossible for any human being. Until, at Oxford University’s Iffley Road Stadium in 1954, Roger Bannister completed four laps in 3:59.4. The photo of an exhausted Bannister with his eyes closed and mouth opened appeared on the front page of newspapers around the world, a testament of what humankind could achieve.

 As important as anything, Bannister broke a psychological barrier with this run. This once believed impossible record only lasted for 46 days before Australian runner John Landy shaved 1.5 seconds off of his time. By the end of 1957, 16 runners had logged sub-4-minute miles. Since that time more than 1,400 runners have broken the 4 minute mile and the current record stands at 3:43.13. An impossible task until Bannister changed that belief.

Similar to the impossible 4-minute mile, breaking the 2-hour marathon (26.2 miles) was another barrier that seemed would never happen. In fact, researchers in Australia crunched marathon world records over the past 60 years and concluded that there was a 10 percent likelihood that the two-hour mark would fall by 2032, and just a 5 percent chance it would happen by 2024.

Last week, on October 12, 2019 Eliud Kipchoge ran the fastest 26.2 miles ever and broke through the seemingly impossible barrier of two hours with a time of 1:59:40. That is an incredible sub-4:34 mile pace for the entire distance. 

Just like when Bannister broke the 4-minute mile barrier in 1954, Kipchoge has inspired a new generation to push their limits with what is possible.

“It is a great feeling to make history in sport after Sir Roger Bannister in 1954. I am the happiest man in the world to be the first human to run under two hours, and I can tell people that no human is limited,” Kipchoge said. “I expect more people all over the world to run under two hours after today.”

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

Napoleon Hill

Believe

To live the life you truly desire, the first step is to break through the psychological barriers that are holding you back. You have to believe that you can get there. 

Kipchoge believed he could break the two-hour barrier. Before the event he said, “Many ideologies [have] been going that no human will break the two-hour mark but personally, I have dared to try. I am doing it to make history.” After the race he said, “there was no point that I doubted myself.”

Look around. Your biggest dreams, the life you really want is not the 4-minute mile or the 2-hour marathon. Most likely, there’s already someone that is living that life. You don’t need to wait for someone to break through that psychological barrier before you can achieve it. That barrier has already been broken.

Your first step to achieving your goals is believing you can do it.

Barriers

Where do you really want to be? What are your big goals? Identify the real and the imagined barriers that are holding you back. It’s time to break through those barriers and reach your true potential! Stop believing your own lies.

Not knowing how to do it. Not seeing the path. Thinking it’s impossible. These are all excuses that you’ve told yourself. Kipchoge figured out how to run a sub-2 hour marathon, you can figure out how to achieve the life you want.

Your Path

Once you really believe you can achieve your goals you need to give yourself a path to follow so you’ll be able to reach the goals you previously thought were impossible.

In May of 2017, Kipchoge came up just shy of the two-hour mark during Nike’s Breaking2 project, finishing with a time of 2:00:25. After missing the mark by less than half a minute, he created the path he needed to follow to accomplish the goal a little more than two years later. This included his training and preparation all the way through to the pace setters and water delivery during the run.

Planning is key to your success. Figure out how you’re going to reach your ultimate goals and follow that plan. But be flexible so you can adjust quickly and make decisions when road blocks appear.

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

Stephen R. Covey


Persist Until You Succeed

If at times you get knocked off your path it doesn’t mean it’s over. Adjust and figure out how to get back on the path again. Brian Tracy said, “Your ability to persist longer than anyone else is the quality that will guarantee great success in life. Persistence is self-discipline in action and the true measure of your belief in yourself. Resolve in advance that you will never, never give up!”

The first step in your journey is to see in your mind what it is that you really want and to truly believe you are capable of achieving it. The mind is a powerful force and when you use it to create the life and the outcomes you desire, amazing things will happen.

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He’s actually inspired all of us that we can stretch our limits in our lives and we can do more than we think we can do.

Patrick Sang – Eliud Kipchoge’s Coach
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A Man Is What He Thinks About All Day Long

“A man is what he thinks about all day long.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The amount of information that we are exposed to on a daily basis is amazing. 

It comes through social media, television, radio, books, and the list could go on and on.  It’s great how much access we have in this day and age to information, but it is potentially dangerous as well.  I want to look at the potential impact information can have on our lives.

I’ve talked previously about the importance of being powerful creators of our own lives. As we walk through this process it will demonstrate why it is so important that we are intentional about it.

You get in life what you create.

Create > Life

This is why you see people from all different backgrounds, countries and races doing amazing things in the world, regardless of where they start out. We’ve seen people rise up out of poverty, from having absolutely nothing and becoming extremely successful and wealthy. At the same time we’ve seen people who would be considered privileged, create amazing things in their own lives. 

On the other hand, we’ve watched people on both ends of the same spectrum create un-powerful lives and end up even worse off than they began.

The things that you expect in your life are the things you create. What you expect to happen, drives your creative capacity.

Expect > Create > Life

But now, taking one more step back, where do your expectations come from?

You expect what you think about.

Think > Expect > Create > Life

Life is a result of what we think about. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “There is a deep tendency in human nature to become precisely like that which you habitually imagine yourself to be.”

This philosophy spurred the writing of books such as Think and Grow Rich, As a Man Thinketh, The Power of Positive Thinking, The Magic of Thinking Big, and others.

But if you go another level deeper, what is it that influences your thoughts?

It’s the things you allow yourself to hear and see. The inputs that you are exposed to

Inputs > Think > Expect > Create > Life

This is why it’s so important to be conscious of the things you allow yourself to be exposed to. 

In such a fast paced, chaotic world, all of the different media outlets are fighting for your attention. 

Have you ever wondered why there isn’t a news station that just reports on the good things that happen? The happy, feel-good stories? It’s because they would go broke. It’s the stories of fear, tragedy and disaster that catch our attention. 

Your brain’s job is to keep you alive, not make you happy and the media understands this. That’s why they don’t use the happy, feel good stories to grab your attention. It’s the tragic, shocking stories that get your attention. It’s the same reason traffic comes to a halt as people rubber-neck to see an accident, but at other times those same people don’t think twice about looking at the most beautiful sunset they would have ever experienced as they are making their commute home.

When you look at the path of how the inputs in our lives impact our thoughts, which impact our expectations, our expectations turn into our creations which results in our life you can understand why it’s so important to pay attention to the inputs we allow into our lives.

When you look at the path of how the inputs in our lives impact our thoughts, which impact our expectations, our expectations turn into our creations which results in our life you can understand why it’s so important to pay attention to the inputs we allow into our lives.

You have to protect your mind. You have to be vigilant about what you expose yourself to because every single input matters.

So what does this mean to you? How do you do it?

You have to consciously choose what you are going to allow yourself to be exposed to.  According to a Nielsen Report, US adults watch 5:04 of TV per day on average (35.5 hours/week, slightly more than 77 days per year). It’s time to cut back. Make a choice as to what you are going to give your attention to. Are you going to focus on the good or the bad? The things you can’t do anything about, or the things you can impact?

The first time I trained for a marathon I did all of my training on a treadmill and my routine was to watch the news while I ran. I knew about everything going on. Politics, the markets, the wars and all the other dark, dirty and fearsome content. But then one day I decided I didn’t need to know all of it and continue to fill my mind with all of the garbage and I quit watching the news. The result?

  • Not watching the news didn’t limit my capacity.
  • It didn’t end or cause the start of any war.
  • I wasn’t uninformed because the things I needed to know came to me in different forms.
  • It drove my parents crazy when they said something to me about something in the news and I had no idea what they were talking about. 
  • It cleared my mind!

A number of years ago I listened to Darren Hardy speak on this topic and the following are his thoughts combined with my own on how to best manage the inputs you let into your life.

Selective Listening

Be specific about the things you let in. You don’t have to give it all your attention, just the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that impact you and your family and ignore the rest.

Remember, what you give your attention to becomes your reality. Focus your attention on what is good – ideas, knowledge, talents and skills

Low Information Diet

Limit your intake. Filter your news so you’re only getting the things that are important to you. Do not over-consume!

Mind Your E2E Ratio

Your E2E Ratio is a concept from Brian Tracy, which stands for Entertainment to Education Ratio. Recognize how much of your time is focused on Entertainment vs Education. One study stated that 95% of people spend their extra time on entertainment, while 5% (the successful) spent their extra time focused on education.

Feed Your Mind

As you feed your mind with high quality content, your thoughts and ideas become more powerful. 

I enjoy good music, but I rarely listen to it. I prefer to spend any time I can listening to books or podcasts online. 

For example, last week I wrote the article, Dealing With Negative People. This morning at the gym, with TV’s on every wall broadcasting news stations and ESPN, I had my headphones in listening to, “Talking to Crazy,” a book that someone suggested to me after reading my article.

Separate yourself from the average. Use your extra time to fill your mind with positive and inspirational material.

When we are fully aware of the impact the things we allow as inputs have on our lives we can be more conscious and selective to ensure we are letting only the best things in. Be intentional in all you do and live the life you most desire.