Before accomplishing great things, one must have belief – belief in the opportunity, belief in the potential, and most importantly, belief in oneself.
This is true regardless of the goal. Think about star athletes striving for a world record, entrepreneurs building a new venture, or astronauts making discoveries in space. People who accomplish great things think big and have an unwavering belief in themselves and what they can accomplish.
One of the best illustrations about the impact of belief is the story of the four-minute mile.
It was the middle of the 1900s. For decades, runners had been attempting to break the four-minute barrier. The mile record had stood at 4:01 for 9 years.
Medical doctors and experts claimed it was impossible for a human to run the mile in less than four minutes. Impossible! In fact, data and tests were used to “prove” that the human body just wasn’t physically capable of running that fast.
On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile. Roger, a 25-year old medical student from Oxford, ran the mile in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds.
How did this happen? How did Roger achieve the impossible?
Yes, Roger had practiced and practiced. But practice alone didn’t cut it. Many other runners had practiced more than he had.
Roger had extreme belief. He had huge confidence that he could do what others considered undoable.
He didn’t just have raw, unfounded belief. He solidified this belief by breaking down his goals into bite-sized chunks. He practiced each leg of the race, managing what was within his control. Roger knew and tracked his best times for each split. When he added all his best splits together, the sum of the parts showed the time was feasible.
Roger broke the four-minute mile and shocked the world. But, the most interesting part of this story isn’t Roger’s accomplishment. It’s what happened next.
Just two months later, another runner broke Roger’s record and ran 3:57. Then, one after another, additional runners broke the legendary four-minute barrier. In the last 50 years, the four-minute mile has been lowered by 17 seconds. The current record now stands at 3:43.
Roger not only broke a long-standing record. He busted through a belief barrier. Often, it’s our own beliefs that hold us back. Similarly, it’s our own belief system that allows us to accomplish incredible achievements. Once Roger broke the four-minute mile, he proved the human body could indeed run that fast. The rest of the world saw what was possible. Other runners now also believed.
There is a concept called the Law of Belief. This law of belief asserts that if we believe thoughts for long enough, we are more likely to make those thoughts a reality.
As you set your own goals, how are you solidifying your belief? How are you breaking down your goals into believable, bite-sized chunks? How are you convincing yourself that your goals are possible and realistic?
Since our beliefs become our reality, we should be paying a whole lot of attention to these beliefs. Henry Ford summed it up well, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”