Seven Deadly Stupidities

Train Your Brain: Change the Game If You're Not Winning

Read time: 1m10s

“It always seems impossible until its done”  – Nelson Mandela

In the 1950s, we thought it was impossible for a human to run a four-minute mile. Yet, it was accomplished by a medical student named Roger Bannister. How did a guy studying to become a doctor have time to train to become one of the world’s top athletes? He didn't have the time to train, so he needed to solve the problem differently.

Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile

The one-mile race is four laps around a quarter-mile track. The prevailing wisdom at the time was that a runner should conserve as much energy as possible during the first three-and-half laps and for that last half lap, run full speed and get to complete exhaustion at the finish line. This is referred to as the runner’s “kick” and was the quick and dirty roadmap that runners lived by.

Bannister understood the whole kick thing, but he tried a different approach. He thought that running the exact same pace for each of the four laps would give him the best chance at winning the race and breaking four minutes. During his lunch breaks at medical school, Bannister and a few colleagues would hit the track and run one-lap “repeats,” trying to run the same time for every lap. 

On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister became the first man to run the one-mile race in under four minutes.

What should we learn from Bannister?

Following the crowd and trying to do things a little better than everybody else is not a path to success. 

Train Your Brain

The three keys to changing the game to get to success.

  1. There are no shortcuts to get the things we want. Start using your brain and think creatively about how to achieve a goal. 

  2. If an existing approach isn’t working, be like Bannister and devise a new approach instead of trying and retrying something that doesn't work.

  3. Avoid the tendency to go for the quick fix. It may sound good, but it rarely works out as planned.

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