Roger Bannister became the world's first four-minute mile on May 6, 1954. Photo Credit: Associated Press
He inspired multiple generations with his courage and determination to go where no man had gone before. His willingness to challenge the status quo of his day is still a lesson for all of us today. He taught us to break through our barriers in life regardless of the perceived limitations placed on us by others. His accomplishment was compared to the first conquest of Mt. Everest.
Roger Bannister's pursuit of the first ever sub-four-minute mile is the subject of countless motivational books, newspaper articles, quotes, Church sermons, and breakthrough thinking discussions. His story is one of the most powerful peak performance examples in history.
Bannister's first ever four-minute mile also illustrates the power of belief and the impact it has on the lives of others—both in the short and long term.
Several decades ago it was thought by experts that a sub-four-minute mile was impossible. It was assumed that no human could run that fast. Some medical professionals thought a human would die trying to run that fast.
For decades, men tried to prove the experts wrong. For years, the experts were right until one blustery day in England.
Roger Bannister did not believe the experts. He refused to buy into the status quo thinking of his day. Bannister set out to become the first man to break the sub-four-minute mile barrier. By working hard and smart, Bannister was ready to go after his goal.
We all know the ending to his story--or do we? Bannister, of course, proved the critics wrong by running the first ever sub-four-minute mile in history. As great as Bannister's record was, it was not the most amazing part of his life story.
Within about six weeks of Bannister running the first sub-four-minute mile, John Landy of Australia broke Bannister's world record. Within about ten years, hundreds of runners ran under the four-minute-mile "barrier"!
The greatest thing that came out of Bannister's record and story was his ability to inspire others to go for their dreams and goals. When Bannister broke a long-standing barrier, he unconsciously gave others permission to break through their own perceived barriers and go for their dreams.
Bannister taught us that by believing in and acting on your unique God-given talents, you'll set others free to pursue their dreams and goals.
Your accomplishment may not be as dramatic as Bannister's first sub-four-minute mile; however, people will stand up and take notice when you give it your all by reaching a personal best in life. You may even inspire future generations to go for their dreams when you break through a long-standing personal barrier.
We can always do more than we initially believe. Go beyond the artificial barriers that live in your mind. Tear down those imaginary thoughts that are holding you back from your dreams and goals.
Rest in peace, Dr. Bannister. The world is a better place because of your example of going where no man had ever gone before. By having the courage to go for your goals, you inspired others to climb their own Mt. Everest.
Copyright 2019 Larry Weber