For more than one hundred years, runners tried to break the four-minute mile barrier.

It was considered the Holy Grail of track and field. Many said it couldn’t be done. In fact, doctors wrote articles in medical journals explaining why it was physically impossible for the human body to run a mile in less than four minutes.

Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done, and why. Then do it.

~ Robert A. Heinlein

However, in May 1954, a British medical student named Roger Bannister ran the mile in 3:59.4. His amazing accomplishment made headlines around the world. Yet what happened afterward is even more amazing. The four-minute mile was broken again the next month…and then again…and again. It has since been broken more than 700 times, sometimes by several people in the same race.

What happened? They weren’t training any differently, but for the first time they believed they could do it.

The barriers to the mind had come down.

Mind is consciousness which has put on limitations. You are originally unlimited and perfect. Later you take on limitations and become the mind.

~Ramana Maharshi

This story has been a good reminder to me on those occasions when I’ve dealt with my own mental fences which come across as certainties of what I cannot do. Do you have any mental barricades too? You have good news; you’re not alone. Almost everyone has some flimsy barricades which set the limits for them.

These limits are like you telling yourself how big your sky would be, how deep your ocean. You may count the number of seeds in an apple, you can even count the number of apples in a tree, but how are the number of apples in an apple seed to be counted? Setting a limit to your own capacity is similar to wanting to decide how many apples an apple seed will produce!

These mental barriers take many forms. They could be procrastination which keep you mired in a vicious cycle of inactivity as your self- confidence plummets. It could be self-doubt which creates a terrible and unceasing internal noise which bears, as harvest, a belief that you don’t deserve success. There could be a million variations of the theme, but the result is the same. You stay stuck behind the four- minute mile.

One of the most powerful questions I have ever read- and answered- is: How do I limit myself and how do I stop?

When you ask better questions, you get better answers.

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