Don’t Let the Word “Impossible” Stop You. by James Pond on Unsplash

How One Man’s Courage Might Set Your Heart Free

Don’t Let the Word “Impossible” Stop You

Is there something you deeply desire to do, but are afraid to try it?

Is fear holding you back from accomplishing something you feel a deep inner calling to do?

Are other people telling you that your heartfelt yearnings just pipe dreams and that you should be more practical?

If so, Roger Bannister just might be able to set your heart free.

He had a dream of running a mile in under four minutes. People said he was crazy. People said it couldn’t be done. People said he was wasting his time chasing rainbows.

For many years, physiologists regarded running a sub 4-minute mile an impossible goal. They said the human body couldn’t move that fast.

No one had ever done it, at least not under race conditions with a stop watch ticking. I suspect bears or tigers helped some of our ancestors achieve it. (LOL). But that wasn’t in the record books.

In fact, prominent physiologists of that time claimed that it was DANGEROUS to the human body to even try to break that 4-minute mark.

They said something terrible might happen if you pushed the human body that far. Science claimed the body would be pushed past its limits. We aren’t meant to go that fast. There will be dire consequences. “You’ll be sorry…” Experts agreed a sub 4-minute mile was impossible.

On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister proved all the physiologists wrong. When he crossed the finish line with a time of 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds, he broke through a psychological barrier as well as the physical barrier. And there were consequences: Roger Bannister became famous. He was knighted and became Sir Roger Bannister.

And if you understand what he did, he set your heart free.

Equally amazing, once Mr. Bannister had done so, by the end of 1957, 16 runners had logged sub-4-minute miles.

Isn’t that interesting? This thing that was supposed to be impossible for any man was suddenly possible for 16 men.

Turns out it wasn’t that hard with proper training and a mindset that said, “This can be done, and I will train until I can do it too.”

Are you interested to know how Mr. Bannister accomplished this impossible goal?

There were many factors, including rigorous training. Bannister did all the normal training an athlete intent on breaking a record would do.

But perhaps the most important thing he did was during the race. He used running companions to set a pace for him that would break the record.

He had one companion run the first half mile with him. Then a fresh companion joined him during the second half of the mile to help him keep up the record-setting pace.

This was a brilliant strategy.

And clearly, rather than tell himself during the race that he couldn’t do it, he instead told himself he could do it. Meanwhile, he kept running as fast as he could!

Can you see how everything he did kept him focused on what he wanted, rather than on what he didn’t want?

If you have a dream or an impossible goal, here’s how to achieve it.

First, examine the deep desires of your heart. Get crystal clarity about what you want. Why you want it. What having it will mean to you. This is how you set your heart free. Allow it to speak to you!

Give yourself permission to want something that might seem impossible to you in the present moment.

Dare to believe that heartfelt desire is there for a reason. Trust it, even if it is leading you into uncharted territory.

Let’s look at another example: the Wright Brothers. Wilbur and Orville wanted something impossible. They wanted to fly. In those days everyone knew they were crazy. Humans don’t fly. That was reserved for birds.

There were engines that had enough power to get an aircraft off the ground. That was the focus in the aviation world at that time. But the Wright brothers had a different focus: how to the control the aircraft once it left the ground. They were the first to invent a mechanism that made fixed-wing powered flight possible.

The second step in pursuing your dreams and desires is to take effective action. Acknowledging your dream is important, but comes to nothing without action.

The Wright Brothers were tireless in taking action. From research, to design, to testing, to re-design, to testing again, they remained focused on their goal. They faced huge, seemingly unsurmountable obstacles. But they didn’t quit.

They were told they were crazy. Every time they tested their aircraft they risked their lives. And this occurred regularly. They tested their aircraft over 100 times each year.

“We learn much by tribulation, and by adversity our hearts are made better.” 
David McCullough, The Wright Brothers

So what the Wright Brothers accomplished brought the unprecedented experience of flight into our modern world and forever changed the transportation industry. They overcame untold obstacles and challenges by taking action toward their big idea: Humans can fly.

Most worthy endeavors require many small steps in order to fully achieve them. Keep your eyes on the big picture, but create a plan to get where you want to go one step at a time. This kind of plan will keep you moving forward when you can’t see all the steps between where you are and where you want to go. You don’t need to know all the steps. Just take the one in front of you.

Often there are so many ways to accomplish a thing. As we have said, making decisions and taking action is the way to learn what works and what doesn’t work.

Being willing to make decisions and take action will allow you to fail fast. This process is the best way to figure out what works in the quickest way possible. Do your due diligence, of course. Then pick a direction and take action. If you need to, you can course correct later.

Whether you are doing research, phoning someone, emailing, or scheduling a meeting to achieve the next steps, these action steps move you toward your goal. Doing what you plan to do helps you begin to trust yourself, so you can move one step closer to your goals while building self-confidence.

The third key component of setting your heart free is to cultivate a success mindset.

A success mindset contains of beliefs that cultivate self-confidence, self-esteem, and effective decision-making. It leads to taking action and it regards failure as part of the success process rather than a reason to quit.

If you don’t currently have the mindset and habits of successful people, don’t worry. You can re-program your mindset and build habits of success by consistently applying these five main practices.

Fuel The Passion Burning In Your Heart

You do yourself a disservice if your goal is not something you passionately desire. Passion is the fuel that keeps you motivated during the challenging times of learning when giving up begins to look attractive.

If your heart isn’t in it, then even achieving an outcome that is not heart-centered will not be satisfying. The most successful people have failed often and remained undaunted. This is the spirit you need to cultivate. Imagine your success when times are tough and use that vision to re-ignite your passion for moving ahead.

“Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping… waiting… and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir… open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us… guides us. Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love… the clarity of hatred… the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we’d know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion, we’d be truly dead.” — Joss Whedon

Break Your Goal Down Into Manageable Steps

Most worthy endeavors require many small steps in order to fully achieve them. Keep your eyes on the big picture, but create a plan to get where you want to go one step at a time.

When you want to accomplish something big you must avoid allowing yourself to waste time being overwhelmed and unable to act. Focusing on a manageable step that can be accomplished in a relatively short period of time is an essential part of your success mindset.

You can chunk down a goal by creating segments of time and assigning tasks to each segment. You can chunk down a goal by creating quantifiable chunks and doing one chunk at a time. Or you can chunk down a goal by creating steps to complete it.

Encouraging Self-Talk

What you say to other people makes a difference for sure, but what you say to yourself is far more important. Critical self-talk that destroys your confidence and self-esteem sets you up to fail.

The first book of the famous Harry Potter series was rejected by publishers 12 times before it was accepted. Had J.K. Rowling been unable to speak to herself in a way that allowed her to continue to submit her book again and again the world would have been denied what has become a treasure chest of entertainment for all ages.

“Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.” — J.K. Rowling

You must take responsibility for the results you create, but blame and shame do not have any useful part of that process.

Look at the outcome and the process you took to get there. Sort out what worked and what didn’t work. Get feedback and/or input from others that have had success in this area.

Identify what did work. Congratulate yourself for the attempt and for doing the parts that worked. Don’t leave out this piece! It is important that you reward yourself for making the effort!

Own your power by speaking to yourself in a way that activates your best self. Self-doubt, criticism, blame, shame and punishing yourself only leads to paralysis, and delay, if not outright quitting. Avoid taking this route.

Stay Focused On What You Want: Deny Distractions

When you attempt difficult goals it can be a challenge to keep yourself focused on your intended outcomes. Distractions are lying in wait everywhere, competing for your attention.

Visualizing your intentions as already a reality helps you to stay laser-focused on the perceptions and choices that will lead to that outcome. Generate the courage to aim high by trusting the potential that lies within you.

As you allow yourself to go for more than what you have now you may experience some failure as you move toward that outcome. Keep in mind that this is how the learning process works! Fail fast, dissect the experience, learn what worked and didn’t work, create a new strategy, and go for your vision again.

Once you know that there is no obstacle which you cannot overcome and you intentionally develop a mindset that keeps you moving forward toward what you want, no matter what, you will unlock the unlimited potential which is your birthright.

And yet, it must be something that you don’t know how to do.

For this reason, I call this setting an Impossible Goal.

Running the sub-four-minute mile was Roger Bannister’s impossible goal.

He risked his life to achieve this goal.

And when he achieved it he knew that there was nothing that he really wanted that he could not obtain.

He became unstoppable.

You, too, can become unstoppable.

To accomplish this you might consider setting an impossible goal.

The reason to set an impossible goal is so that you focus the power of your mind on becoming the person who can achieve that goal, even though it might seem impossible today.

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