“The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful will win.”
“The reason sport is attractive to many of the general public is that it’s filled with reversals. What you think may happen doesn’t happen. A champion is beaten, an unknown becomes a champion.”
“The mile has all the elements of drama.”
This Sunday, May 6, marks a legendary day in sports and human history. Here’s why: On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister, a British medical student, made history by breaking the four-minute mile barrier. Just about everyone thought it was impossible: The medical community warned that a runner’s heart would explode at the pace needed to run a mile in under four minutes. Even Roger thought this might be true, but he ran it anyway.
But here’s something even more amazing I’ve learned about Roger, thanks to my friend and mentor Rob Gilbert’s fabulous Success Hotline (973.743.4690): he only trained 45 minutes a day! That’s right: his rivals were practicing long hours, but Roger trained under 60 minutes a day. After all, he was a medical student with a full work-and-study schedule; he didn’t have any stray minutes to spare.
But as Rob says, “It’s not how much time you put in, it’s how much you put in the time.” Roger made up in intensity what he lacked in quantity. He’s surely a beacon of inspiration for all of us who have limited time to write each day. If Roger could run his way into the history books footfall by footfall, well then, we can write our way in word by word. And as Roger proves, we don’t need tons of time to do it, we just need commitment, focus, intensity, and discipline.
There’s more to Roger’s story to inspire us: When he ran his way into history, he was rebounding from a huge defeat: He had recently competed in the Olympics, but failed to medal, though he was England’s great hope. After wiping out in going for Olympic gold, instead of giving up, he set an even bigger goal: becoming the first man in history to run the four-minute mile — and dedicated himself to it. Now that’s persistence!
Soon after Roger broke the four-minute mile barrier, other runners started breaking it as well. What once seemed impossible became doable. What personal barriers are you trying to break in your writing? Let’s take Roger as a beacon of inspiration and all write on!