Welcome to another Meaning to Live awareness article. You’re going to LOVE today’s topic.
Check it out, way back in the 1940’s, it was thought that running a mile couldn’t be done in less than 4 minutes. Belief systems are HUGELY influential. Turns out, our minds give us more hurdles (pun intended) than anything else in life. Here’s the story:
Roger Bannister came from a very ordinary background but had very un-ordinary dreams. He wanted to be a Doctor and knew that his family wouldn’t be able to afford him the education required. Attending University in Great Britain was a privilege for kids with more...financial fluency. See, the Bannister family was 'working class' so, clever Roger figured he’d need a scholarship if he had a shot.
Turns out, he was a pretty talented runner and was able to get in to Oxford University as a track athlete. **Seriously, there are just so many puns available here…on the right ‘track’. He ‘stepped’ up his game. He ‘ran’ into problems. So – many.** Ok, back on ‘course’. Roger became so good at running that he actually made it into the 1948 Olympics which, he ‘passed up’. I don’t know why but coming from my own 'working class' family, can easily see it having to do with confidence. "Who am I think I am – going to the Olympics. Pshaw." Or, I’m just a kid from Washington, Utah! Who do I think I am, trying to help the world become happier with a YouTube channel?" Or, "who am I to open a mental health clinic?" You know, the kind of thinking where we don’t go after something because way down, we don’t think we can do it. Sorry everyone, I keep ‘running’ off on tangents! Keep on 'pace', Jed!...admittedly, that was a little weak. So, Roger didn’t attend the 1948 Olympics but he did muster up the confidence to race when the Olympics came again in 1952 and with great expectations, the whole country of Britain watched.
Roger didn’t medal. In fact, he ran horribly which crushed him to the point that he almost decided to give up running altogether (who hasn't been there). Fortunately for this article, he flipped his victim stance around and looked into what he learned from the experience. This spurned him on to push his belief system limits and he decided to break the world record in the mile run. Because, why not? He already survived after 'dropping the ball' (wait, wrong sport) at the Olympics in front of the world.
Remember, the pro’s all said it was humanly impossible to run the mile in less than 4 minutes. Bannister wanted to prove them wrong and over the next few years he put what he’d learned to use.
He didn’t run more.
He didn’t train more.
He worked on believing more.
Roger broke the world record in 1954 while running in the wind on a wet course. Completely NOT ideal conditions.
It’s a great story, no doubt, but even greater is the fact that Bannisters record was broken a short 6 weeks after he set it! Wha?!!
The story continues...
Here’s what happened. When Roger broke the record he also broke the faulty belief system for the entire running population! And when other runners began to BELIEVE it could be done – other runners did it. Roger Bannister gave all of them the key by unlocking their minds. Turns out, our thinking is the only thing holding us back.
Now think about what this concept that Bannister taught us about the power of belief and ask yourself, “what does this mean for me”.
Maybe everyone has a unique story; even you.
Even though Roger Bannister died last year (2018), his impact continues on. Thank you, Sir.
Thanks for taking the time to read and until next time,
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
There’s a pernicious belief out there that the easy life is a lazy life. If I were a victimy man, I’d blame this pervasive idea on the 80’s Rock Band, “Dire Straits” and there hit song, “Money for nothing”. This idea only got more traction with the birth of social media because, lets face it, people post highlights so of COURSE life must be better when we’re only having fun.
Is this true? Is life better when hard work is taken out of the equation?
Oddly enough and I’m sure you already know the answer; it’s not. What you don’t probably know is that I know this for a FACT. I’ve tried it.
Fortunately for you, I won’t go into the hours and hours spent binge watching TV or the even MORE hours in the fantasy world of online gaming. This life is directly correlated to one of the 7 deadly sins! Capital vice stuff! Pride, greed, gluttony, lust, envy, wrath and “Sloth” -- the last of which is the stopping of motion and an indifference to work; laziness, idleness
I lived like this for years and even managed to attract other sloths who used me for my car but I didn’t mind because they helped me feel safe and accepted in the low responsibility life we all shared. Now that I think about it, that car actually housed me for a time. Not much room in the 1989 Dodge Colt E but it served to keep me out of the rain. Don’t feel too bad for me though, I lived in Southern Utah and washing up in the morning was as easy as finding a pool to swim in. Showering off afterwards and getting back on the street was done in less than 2 minutes. I had the procedure DOWN and nobody was ever the wiser. Eating was a bit trickier.
Ever notice that we attract other people on our same level? Before I knew it, I was living in a drug house (the Yellow house for those of you that remember) where I didn’t have to pay rent and could eat anything I wanted...if I could find anything to eat. I was there for a long time, just doing time. No noticeable life progression and before I knew it, my birthday came and 2 years had passed. I wasn't a bad person for this part of my life and neither were the people I lived with. This is just where we were and how we lived at the time.
I tried to get the ‘money for nothing’ yet somehow this fantasy life PROMISED by dire straits had eluded me! In fact, looking back - I was actually IN dire straits.
Is life better when it’s easy?
Until that point in life, I’d skillfully chosen the easy way, and, although it was a learning experience, the path of least resistance never got me very far.
The brains a tricky little thing. It’s main job is to protect humans from feeling uncomfortable - which, in life’s case is doing something hard. It accomplishes this task by weaseling up thoughts that keep us away from even trying to do hard things in life. My were, “I’m never going to be able to do that”. Or, “what’s the point?” Or, “that’s going to take too long”. Or, I don’t care about that anyway.” The one that makes me laugh is when I (my brain) came up with, "I want a girl who loves me for ME, not for my body." Good one, lazy Jed. Of course, the truth would have sounded something like, "eating healthy and working out doesn't sound like much fun...in fact, it sounds pretty awful." The list goes on and on. Do not fall for this trick!
When you do hard things now, your life will be easier over time. The opposite is also true. When you choose to skate in the easy lane now, your life will become harder over time.
It’s your choice.
Till next time - awareness up.
Jed Thorpe, CMHC