Roger Bannister – The answer is easy. The first person to run a mile in under four minutes. It’s an inspiring story as to how he overcame the many hurdles and achieved what was considered impossible at the time. If you want to know more about the famous race, please check out the video below.
However, our story is not about Mr.Bannister. It’s about an Australian runner named John Landy.
Landy was a legend. He was one of Australia’s best and had been working hard over the years to break the 4-minute barrier, much before Roger Bannister had achieved the feat. His best times kept improving and he was getting closer and closer to the 4-minute mark but was never able to beat it. And then Roger and his team found that team effort is the secret and they made it happen. The four-minute mile barrier was broken. It was an inspiring moment indeed.
That’s not the fun part. In many attempts before the Roger event, Landy was never successful. But not because his effort, plan or approach were lacking. Just a month after the Roger 4-minute mile, it happened. Landy not only beat the 4-minute mile, but also set a new record, beating the time achieved by Roger.
So, what was so different about Landy before and after Roger’s event? The effort was the same, the plan was the same, the schedules were the same. And it seemed like the 4-minute barrier was absolutely impossible to break. After the Roger event, everything was the same but there was a new twist. An addition to Landy’s thinking. It’s called mindset. The Landy before Roger was aspiring to beat the barrier but was always thinking of it as an impossible task. And the more he saw that he was only able to get close to the target but never able to beat it, the more he believed that it was impossible.
But once he saw that the barrier was broken, that someone else had achieved the ‘impossible’, he started to truly believe that it was actually possible. When the mindset changes, the brain and the body act differently, and suddenly, what seemed impossible seems very much achievable. It’s amazing how one small change in mindset can set off a series of positive ripples and make you achieve amazing things.
There is a second video that relates to this – how we think of ourselves, and what we think we can and we cannot do. How many of you think you can draw?
Today, the post-COVID world is a very different place. We are getting used to the new normal. We are learning – each in our own ways – to keep moving, getting work done, keeping in touch with friends and family, and still looking ahead cautiously. Our thinking has changed so much as opposed to even about six weeks ago. This world we live in seemed impossible, but it is now very real. The thing is, if we all walk out of this experience staying the same, with the same skills and the same attitude as before, we will lose out on a brilliant opportunity.
What if we change our mindset to using this opportunity to learn? Is it possible for us to make a step-change to how productive we are? Is it possible for us to try out new technologies, learn new digital tools, and make work more interesting? To Graham Shaw’s point, how many things like ‘drawing’ do we think we cannot do? How much is our mindset holding us back? What will it take to set it free?
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler.
What is the one new skill set you are going to acquire?
Written by Sundara Sukavanam, Chief Digital Officer at Firstsource.