The Importance of Thinking Differently: Achieving the Impossible

Posted by: Kevin Snyder - October 24, 2013

‘Thinking differently’ is an essential and fundamental concept for living a successful, and more importantly, a fulfilling life. The way we think determines how we feel, and how we feel dictates how we act. Therefore, our outcomes and resiliency to achieve desired goals result from the power of our mental conditioning.

Here’s an example:

Are you familiar with the name Roger Bannister?

Roger was an amazing athlete who broke the 4-minute mile record in 1954. Up until that moment in history, it was thought humanly impossible that someone could run one mile in under 4 minutes. Both ‘tradition’ and experts claimed this coveted milestone would always remain and everyone believed it to be true. That is, until Roger Bannister.

When Roger broke the 4-minute mile record, he proved it could be done. He had a mindset of resilience and positive belief, regardless of what all the non-believers thought.

Here is what is even more fascinating though - within three weeks following Roger’s amazing accomplishment, the record was broken again by 3 seconds! Within a year, dozens more broke the record. Since 1954, more than one hundred runners have been able to break through that 4-minute mile milestone.

Here’s the key point - the single reason why hundreds of people, now thousands, were also able to break this record was because they knew it could be done. Roger proved to the world that the 4-minute mile barrier was only a mindset. It was only a mental limitation and boundary that he believed could be broken. He thought differently than everyone else, achieved his dream and changed history.

And Roger left a legacy through running and being the change. When it was tough, he didn’t quit.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to live daily like Roger Bannister? Imagine for one moment that every limitation and obstacle you hear about or visualize can be broken through. Envision the achievement of breaking through a barrier which everyone else sees except you. Feel the fulfillment of living your dreams before you even embark on the journey toward them.

What limitations have you placed on yourself? What has someone told you could not be done and you believed them? What traditions have you accepted because no one has yet been willing to think outside the box or comfort zone?

The next time someone tells you that you cannot do something or that some task cannot be accomplished, I want you to remember Roger Bannister. I want you to remember that Roger did what everyone said could not be done. And the moment he proved it could be done, he changed history. You are no different than Roger Bannister – you just have to think differently!

So when you hear the phrase, “we’ve never done it that way” or “that won’t work,” please remember the story of Roger Bannister. Then smile at whoever that person is and say “OK - thank you.” Then proudly allow them to watch you do it.

There are hundreds of stories just like Roger Banister’s. Your story is next!

Kevin Snyder, author and motivational speaker, is a 1998 Delt from the Zeta Tau Chapter at UNC-Wilmington. To learn more about Snyder, visit his website.