Your Mental Model Of What Is Achievable Is As Important As Your Actions

On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister broke the four minute mile.

At the time, no one thought this was truly possible—runners had been hiring specialized coaches and tuning their bodies since the 1800s and still hadn’t broken the barrier.

Bannister was criticized because he was a full-time student vs. full-time athlete, didn’t use coaches and was essentially a lone wolf. Plus the experts back then had decreed that only under “perfect” conditions—i.e. 68 degrees with no wind—was it even remotely likely to happen.

And yet Bannister broke the record on a cold, wet track. But that’s not even the most amazing part.

Just 46 days later, John Landy broke four minutes too. An “impossible” feat for decades was accomplished twice in 46 days.

A year later, three more runners did it and they did it in a single race.

Was there some magic training secret that everyone started copying?

Nope. The only thing that changed was their mental model of what was possible.

If Bannister could do it, surely someone else could too. And they did.

Your mental model of what is achievable counts as much as—and perhaps more than—all the experts and all the research.

So why not start with your mindset?

Believe that what you’re aiming for is possible—and then do the heavy lifting to get you there.

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