People used to believe that it was impossible for a person to run a mile in under 4 minutes. For decades, people tried to achieve this record, but experts agreed that it was impossible. Then in 1954, Roger Bannister ran a mile in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds. So, he beat what people believed was impossible by 0.6 seconds.
But what is really interesting is that just 46 days later, Bannister’s record was broken by a man called Landy who took an additional amazing 1.5 seconds off the record and achieved a time of 3 min 57.9 seconds. Then later in the same year, Bannister again smashed that record by running a mile in 3 min 43.8 seconds.
Within a few years, hundreds of other runners had also broken the previously impossible 4 minute mile limit and changed people’s beliefs for ever.
Bannister himself left us a lovely quotation.
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or a gazelle–when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”
Incidentally, and interestingly for NLP folk, Bannister went on to become a neurologist for 40 years and considered his work in this field to be far more important than his amazing achievements on the running track.