It is very hard to know for sure if no human had run the distance of a mile in less than four minutes before May 6, 1954, but it was widely considered that it could not been done and therefore no athlete ever even attempted to do it.

But then a 25 year old Roger Bannister came along and run a mile in only 3:59.40, and he did it officially while the world was watching, shattering humans’ perspective of what was deemed as possible in the athletic universe. Well, not long after he did it, and only six weeks later John Landy ran a mile in 3:58.0 beating Bannisters world record and setting a new one. And the following year many more, including high school students, went on to run a mile in under 4 minutes.

What had changed? All of a sudden even high school kids where achieving something that was thought of as impossible only a year earlier on.

Well, their mindset had changed.

They had all seen that it had been done and before every race they all knew in their minds that it was possible to push their own bodies to an extent where they can run a mile in under 4 minutes, and that thought alone changed everything. Sir Roger Bannister may not have broken any world records after that but he did set a new standard in running.

He showed everyone that it was not impossible; it had not just been done yet.

Now, how many times in your career have you heard someone say, “that’s impossible — it simply can’t be done.” Perhaps even you have been guilty of uttering such a phrase.

As Sir Roger Bannister showed, impossible is simply a ‘state of mind.’

Nothing is truly impossible. Impossibility only exists when we lack the proper knowledge and experience to comprehend how something can be possible.

Here’s the thing, if you wish to be a trail blazer then you need to switch your mentality a little bit and change your way of thinking. Great leaders that have lit up our history books with inspiring achievements have had the same mindset. They have all gone and achieved what may have been deemed impossible before they came along.

They never thought it was impossible; they just went as far as their minds could conceive as possible.

The fact that something has yet to be accomplished is rarely evidence of impossibility, rather it usually means whatever “it” is just hasn’t happened yet. Put simply, a lack of a particular outcome signals a lack of accomplishment, not impossibility.

Imagine what the world would be like if the Wright brothers thought that flying would be impossible? We would probably still be using ships to travel overseas. And what if Gates, Jobs and Bezos focused on what was instead of the possibilities of what could be? Or what would happen if our next generation of researchers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and academics fail to challenge conventional thinking?

There would be nothing knew and no progress for humanity.

We are living in a world where glass ceilings are being broken almost every other day. And therefore if we want to achieve what is great we need to take on more of what we think cannot be done. We need to push beyond our current boundaries and take on the ‘UN-achievable’. Only then will we be able to change our lives and the lives of others. As a society we cannot afford to embrace theory as fact, fiction as truth, or good enough as good enough. The burden and privilege of leadership simply demands more.

As long as we believe we can make it happen, it will happen.

Very soon teleportation will be the new air travel. Humans will be able to walk on water. And there will be a cure for cancer. These things will happen eventually because, quite simply, the nature of progression dictates that they must happen. And because there are people on this planet who believe they can make them happen.

If we can find the patience to see the world for what it is — dynamic, flexible, and loaded with untapped potential — and if we can accept the fact that change is an inevitable and brilliant part of life, then we can partake in the thrill of progression, and help shape a world in which the impossible becomes possible.

Don’t you think human beings are unique in our ability to achieve the impossible?

Well, Lions don’t do it. Antelopes don’t do it. Dogs don’t do it. Yet, we humans live in a world where everything falls but we say, let’s make things fly. We live in a world where we have found a way to communicate with people who are a thousand of miles away from us with a mere click of a button. We live in a world where soon the prospect of not living in this world will be a reality.

To challenge the norm and disrupt the status quo is the burden of leadership.

When we disrupt mediocrity and raise the standards of what is possible we will inspire others to automatically raise their standards and take on heftier challenges, just like Sir Roger Bannister did.

So every time you are faced with a situation where you feel something is impossible, change your mindset and as opposed to saying it is impossible, choose to say:

‘It is not impossible it just has not been done yet.’

What are your thoughts on this? How has thinking something is not impossible helped you? Get in touch using the links below and let us share our ideas.

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