Yes, You Can! Will you?
Yes, You Can! Will You?
By Marcus M. Mottley, Ph.D.
Some said it couldn’t be done. Those people said it was absolutely impossible for a human to run a mile in under 4 minutes… and so for years and years very few people even thought about going below 4 minutes… Why? Because they didn’t think it was possible. As a matter of fact – many athletes, coaches and pundits knew it was impossible! For many in the sporting world, that was a fundamental and accepted belief – back then!
Until a 25 year old runner proved all the non-believers wrong.
In 1954, Roger Bannister smashed the world record for the mile, running it in exactly 3 minutes and 59 seconds.
And very soon after that somebody else did it…. And then… just about everybody was doing it. In fact, Roger Bannister only held that record for 46 days, and today thousands of runners have run 4 minute miles. Can’t run the 4-minute mile… forget the Olympics because you may not even win at your high school’s athletic event!
As a matter of fact, from the 1952 Olympics until Bannister’s success in May 1954, many of his peers had been secretly and desperately trying to achieve that vaulted objective without any success. Until Bannister did it! So after all was said and done, running the 4-minute mile became no big deal — after somebody showed that it could be done!
So what’s my point you may ask? Well here’s where you come in:
Imagine, for a moment: What is the only thing holding you back from becoming a top notch leader, the only thing holding you back from being successful at that thing that you have dreamt most about for years, the only thing holding you back from becoming the Errol Barrow, CLR James, or Sidney Poitier of the Public Sector? What’s holding you back from being a transformative leader, radically changing your own public sector or organization for the better, from influencing your political or business leaders, from inspiring your staff and from being an overwhelming, jaw dropping, no-excuses force for good in your industry or country?
What’s holding you back? I think the answer is obvious: Your own self-limiting beliefs which reinforce your attitudes toward seemingly impossible ideas and keep you stuck right where you are right now. Yes… you may have experienced some small measures of success… maybe. But are you performing at a world class level… beyond world class level (like Roger Bannister did)? Do you think you can change the hearts and minds of your political leaders and influence them to do the ‘right things in the right ways for the right reasons’? Do you think you can and will help solve the multiplicity of problems which riddle our public sector organizations (and thus our countries… and the region)?
What did Roger Bannister and his coach do? They challenged the status quo. They challenged the apparently universally accepted belief of what was thought to be possible. They embraced a new possibility. They changed the way an athlete trained for the mile. (Instead of practicing to run the mile faster… they broke it into four sections or four quarter miles. Then they focused on increasing his speed for each quarter mile.) The application was simple. But it started by having a new vision of what was possible and wholeheartedly embracing that vision!
Keep it simple. What is your new vision of what’s possible? Embrace it. Now set about creating it. Set about enlivening it. Set about achieving it. And don’t take no for an answer.
Clive Lloyd did it against Australia and England. Ernest Shackleton did it when he was stuck in Antarctica. Gandhi did it when he wrested India away from England. The Wright brothers did it and changed the world of travel. Mandela did it when he defeated Apartheid! Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did it… (check what you are reading this article on… Hint: It is not a print newspaper!)
What about you? Can you? Yes… You can!