There are a number of motivational things to inspire and motivate. And I believe that both positive and negative motivators can fuel your productivity to reach beyond what is possible. But this post is not about WHAT motivates us, but a story on the EFFECTS that has pushed the impossible into the surreal...
Though having seen more days than most will ever see, today is still special. It is his birthday. At 83 years young, this modest British man, is anything but average. Many of the younger generation have probably never heard of him. His name is Roger Bannister, and his feat can be claimed of only a handful of people. Only 19 in history, in fact, have run a mile in under 4 minutes, and he was the first.
A crowd of 3,000 people were there to witness this race. Bannister had come close to breaking the 4 minute mark several times before, and he knew that soon it would happen. It was a decade since he first began his running career, and for the last 2 years before this event, Bannister had trained specifically for breaking the 4 minute mile. Despite this lofty goal, which few thought was even possible, on May 6, 1954, the impossible happened.
Bannister collected his thoughts before the track meet. The wind was howling at nearly 25 miles an hour outside before the event, almost taunting. Several times that day Bannister mentioned that perhaps he should not run. Perhaps he should conserve his energy to break the 4 minute barrier another day. But when the winds became calm, he knew he was ready. And he ran the fastest mile of his life.
After the race, the crowd grew quiet and anxious. They eagerly awaited the announcer to confirm the miracle that they had just witnessed. While the announcer, knowing the surreal accomplishments that had just taken place, built the anticipation as long as possible before telling the spellbinding truth:
"Ladies and gentlemen, here is the result of event 9, the one mile: 1st, No. 41, R.G. Bannister, Amateur Athletic Association and formerly of Exeter and Merton Colleges, Oxford, with a time which is a new meeting and track record, and which—subject to ratification—will be a new English Native, British National, All-Comers, European, British Empire and World Record. The time was 3..." The roar of the crowd drowned out the rest of the announcement. Bannister's time was 3 min 59.4 seconds. -Wikipedia
Bannister didn't go on to win a gold metal in the Olympics, though he wanted to. He ended up pursuing an education and became a distinguished Neurologist and Head Master of Pembroke College in Oxford.
Only fragments of your lifetime will speak toward how you lived. For Roger Bannister, it was exactly 3:59.4. Imagine that someone could define a legacy and push the boundaries of human potential in the amount of time it takes to read this post. Believe the impossible, then do something about it.
Happy Birthday, Roger.
Remember this quote:
"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." ~ Roger Bannister
Recent article on the Bannister.