Breaking Through the Mental Barriers
For most of humanity the world believed that it was not physically possible for humans to run a mile in 4 minutes or less. This was a universal belief because the challenge had been attempted by athletes across many generations throughout human history but no one had ever succeeded. 🙁
But then something miraculous happened in 1954. A man named Roger Bannister stunned the world when he ran an entire mile (1.609 km,) in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds! 😀
Later that year during the British Empire and Commonwealth Games hosted in Vancouver, B.C., Roger Bannister and Australia’s John Landy both ran a mile in less than 4 minutes. The race’s final moment is memorialized in a statue of the two placed in front of the PNE entrance plaza.
But here’s the amazing part. Since 1954, over 1,000 people, including high-school students, have successfully broken the 4 minute barrier. Nobody could run a mile in 4 minutes prior to 1954, but now new runners are joining the 4 minute club every year. So what the heck changed in the last six decades? 😕 I don’t think a bunch of people suddenly developed super-human speed and endurance, although that would be pretty cool. 😉
What actually changed was people’s beliefs. Bannister didn’t just become the first person to run a 4 minute mile. His most significant achievement was changing the world’s perception about what a person is capable of doing. Prior to 1954 a 4 minute mile was simply considered impossible. But after 1954, everyone knew it had been done, so it must be possible. The psychological barrier had at last been shattered. Everyone believed that if someone else can do it then I can do it too. If someone else can make their dream into a reality then so can I! 🙂
The biggest barriers to financial enlightenment that most people face are not physical, but rather psychological in nature. Michelangelo once said, “the greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” This is why it’s important to set ambitious goals.
“Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I’ll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I’ll give you a stock clerk.” ~James Cash Penney, Founder of JC Penney.
There have been many rags-to-riches stories so we know it’s possible for pretty much anyone in Canada or the U.S. to achieve financial wealth, early retirement, and a positive relationship with their money. We shouldn’t allow the fear of failure to keep us from reaching our goals. We may not have an abundance of time, support, or resources now. But all we have to do is make the mental leap.
“There is nothing more powerful than a made up mind “- Lewis Pugh
We must convince ourselves that it’s possible to get what we want. Because the way we operate and function in this world is a manifestation of what we believe is possible for us. Actually, the word impossible itself spells out ‘I’m-possible’! 😀 As motivational speaker Les Brown once said, “everything you need is already inside.”
Two young boys were skating on a frozen pond when one of them suddenly fell through and became trapped under the ice. His friend tried to break through the ice by punching it but he couldn’t get through. In desperation, the boy hurried back to land, climbed a tree, and broke off a large branch. He then went back and used the branch to smash a hole in the ice and pulled his drowning friend out of the water. When the paramedics arrived they were baffled by how a scrawny little boy could have broke off and used such a large branch to beat and break the ice to save his friend’s life. They were dumbfounded. Then an old man who was passing by ? walked up and said, “the boy was able to do it because there was no one here that told him he couldn’t.” ~Author Unknown
The popular short story above illustrates that too often we allow society’s limited beliefs dictate what we can or cannot do. But the truth is we don’t need anyone else to approve our goals and aspirations because our dreams are our own. The critics can’t see what we’re trying to achieve because it is not their dream, it is ours. So we have to own it, embrace it, nurture it, and give it everything we have to make it come true. For example, my personal dream is to become a millionaire in my 30s without relying on inheritance. I have seen others do it before me so I know it’s possible. And I believe it with all my conviction and resolve that if others can do it then so can I! You can achieve your dreams as well, despite what other people tell you. 🙂
Think of all the times that a great idea or initiative was dropped before it even started because somebody was told it wasn’t possible. Think about what you could accomplish if you didn’t have any naysayers in your life. Imagine how different the world would be if everyone had an expanded idea of what is possible. 😀
Random Useless Fact:
The average adult needs about 1200 to 2000 calories a day to maintain a healthy body weight.
That photo with the horse tied to the chair made me laugh out loud. Great post!
Thanks. Glad you liked it.
Great post! Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what is holding us back, but once it’s found, it’s forever!
Yup. That’s one way to look at it.
A form of survivorship bias.
Sure, there are SOME rags-to-riches stories, but there’s a heck of a lot more rags-only stories which should be studied to know what not to do. It’s hard, though, because no one wants to read a boring, feel-bad failure story so very few are ever brought to light. But they important.
Also reminds me of Tony Jaa of martial arts film ‘Ong Bak’ fame. He grew up in the countryside in poverty but was still managed to watch all the classic martial arts movies and decided that’s what he wanted to do with his life. So he practiced and trained for years like a mofo out in the back woods of Thailand.
When he finally started to audition for stunt work in movies, everyone was stunned at what this guy could do. Why? Because no one had told him that many of the moves he was replicating in the classic martial arts movies were originally performed with wires and special effects…and he was performing them with just his natural will and skill!
Of course, financial markets are a completely different story.
Tony was really good in the Ong Bak movies. I really liked the first one. The third movie was okay but not as good as the first 2. Speaking of martial arts films, I recently watched the trailer for the Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon sequel. It’s getting mixed reactions on the internet so far.
You are very right. We can do anything. Only thing that hold us back is our own perception and negativity.
Not strictly true.
The chance of an African American being the President of the United States in the 1800’s was effectively zero.
The same with an Ancient Greek astrologer who longed to go to the moon, not going to happen.
Reality states that sometimes there are forces and circumstances we simply cannot overcome no matter our perception or positivity.
Oh my goodness, this is all so true and such a great reminder.
When my husband and I bought a house in 2009 we decided that we wanted to pay off our mortgage in full within 7 years. I thought this was impossible. Once we started at it, it became clear to us that it was not only possible but we could do it in 5 years. When 5 years started to feel possible, we upped the stakes and said 5 years without using any of our invested stocks. And we did it. It’s amazing what you can do when you start to believe you can.