In late 2018, just after summer, I was reading about a man named Roger Bannister. Bannister was an English neurologist and Olympic runner back in the 1950s. In that time, it was unheard of and even deemed impossible for anybody to be able to run a full mile in under 4 minutes. The mile run is a unit of length equivalent to 5,280 feet (1,760 yards, or approx. 1, 609 meters) and is said to have existed since the times of the Roman Empire. It was used by the Roman Army to signify the length of one thousand paces of a Roman legion with each pace equaling 2 steps. For thousands of years it seemed nobody could crack the 4 minute mark leaving sportswriter and some scientists to feel that human evolution indeed had certain limitations we couldn’t break, and running that mile under 4 minutes was one of them.
Then one day Roger made history. With a new approach to his training, putting less emphasis on strictly running and instead put focus on shorter and more intense sessions, Bannister did the impossible and broke the mile record. His time... 3:59.4!
He finally did it! What no one else could. Defied all odds, wrote his name in the history books & proved he was super human. No one could believe he had accomplished something so incredible.
However, something happened after this wonderful milestone. Without time for the hype around his name to die down, Roger Bannisters record was broken only 34 days later. Then oddly enough, THAT record was broken, then it happened again, and again, and again.
Why was a record that seemed impossible to beat, all of a sudden look more than possible, even easy in comparison to recent scores?
Sometimes we don’t know that we could be our own enemy. A lot of our barriers are mental, and those mental barriers can put physical and emotional limitations on what we can actually achieve in reality.
Another example of this is in Valley Uprising. A rock climbing story documenting the Yosemite valley and the lives of rock climbers pushing the limits in order to accomplish what’s never been done.
El Capitan was a mountain never scaled until finally conquered by a man named Warren Harding. El Capitan is about 3,000 feet (941m) from the base to the tallest part of the mountain. Harding and his team, using rope, tools and a ladder made their way up the mountain taking breaks when needed and camping out in the air to continue the next morning. Around 2 years later the team finally made it to the top of El Capitan, an accomplishment never seen before at the time. Fast forward to this generation and you have Alex Honnold. A man who climbed that exact same mountain in under 4 hours using nothing but his hands and chalk. No rope, no ladder, no tools.
What we choose to believe is impossible is exactly that, our choice. Our mind is what limits us. In order to make a change in our lives we must start with the mind and build from there as it’s the foundation to everything we do. From your attitude, to your diet, to the kind of information you choose to consume. You need to believe you're worth the change you want to see happen for yourself.
A good way to begin strengthening your mind is via meditation. To begin, simply sit up straight or lie on your back, as long as you're comfortable. Allow your breath to have a soft rhythm and focus only on that rhythm. If you feel other thoughts come into your mind, calmly acknowledge them and then return to the breath. It may seem difficult at first to keep your focus but over time you will see improvement in your mental and the effect it has in your everyday life. Start off meditating for 2-3 minutes. When it becomes easier move to 5, then 10, then 20, eventually growing to 45-60 minute sessions. Be the change you want to see happen.
“Whether you think you can or you can't, you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford