How You Can Make the Impossible Possible

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In the early 1950s, many people believed that it was impossible for humans to run a mile in under four minutes. Runners had been trying to break the four-minute barrier since the late 1800s. The world’s top coaches and most gifted athletes had been trying to go sub-4:00 for years. They were dedicated, and they’d tried all sorts of training plans, but the milestone was believed to be out of reach — that the human body just couldn’t go that fast.

Then in 1954 Roger Bannister ran the mile in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. A month and a half later, John Landy ran even faster. Then a year later three more runners broke the 4-minute barrier. Today high school runners break the barrier routinely, and Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco holds the record of the world’s fastest mile at 3 minutes and 43.13 seconds.

Here are four things to keep in mind to make the impossible possible:

1. Your negative beliefs are powerful.

If you believe something is impossible, that belief will erode your confidence and turn that impossible belief into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

2. Positive beliefs are even more powerful.

If you believe you can and will do something, you will find the means to make it happen. For proof, look at our history: Imagine how the world would be if U.S. President John F. Kennedy believed that it was impossible to put a man on the moon. What if Martin Luther King Jr. had believed it was impossible to achieve civil rights in the United States or if Mahatma Gandi had believed it was impossible to overthrow the British occupation of India without violence. Could Barack Obama have become the first African-American president of the United State if he’d thought the quest was impossible? Highly unlikely.

3. Authority figures don’t always know best.

If a person with authority tells you that you “can’t” do something, you will likely believe it-or at least have less confidence in your own abilities. And once you believe it, you will behave as if that prediction is true, by default making it come true. For instance, if I told a patient, “You are a mess. There’s no hope for you,” it could cause the patient to stop trying, even though there really is hope.

4. Believe in what’s possible.

It’s the first step towards fearlessly reaching goals. Fearlessness is a state of mind, not a genetic trait. You can acquire it and strengthen it. Start to build your courage now by reminding yourself of all of the amazing feats you’ve already accomplished in your life. Chances are, you have probably already made the impossible possible several times in your life. What have you already accomplished that you once thought could never be done? Write it down. Keep this list handy and read it whenever you are tempted to believe that you don’t have what it takes to begin to make changes in your life.