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The 3-Minute Mile

A four-minute mile means completing a mile run in less than four minutes. First achieved on May 6, 1954, by Roger Bannister in 3m 59.4s, the elusive "four-minute barrier" has since been broken by over 1,400 male athletes, and is now a standard for male professional middle distance runners. For years the four-minute mile was considered impenetrable; the longer the limit remained the harder it became for anybody to believe it could be broken. However, just 46 days after Bannister broke the barrier John Landy, an Australian runner, broke the barrier once again with a time of 3 minutes 58 seconds. Then, just a year later, three runners broke the four-minute barrier in a single race.

In the book The Power of Impossible Thinking, Jerry Wind and Colin Crook explain how your "mental models stand between you and reality, distorting all your perceptionsand how they create both limits and opportunities". The runners of the past had been held back by a mindset that said they could not surpass the four-minute mile. When that limit was broken, the others saw that they could do something they had previously thought impossible."

The four-minute mile wasn't the first time a collective conscious imposed arbitrary and shallow-minded limitations on the human condition; there was a time where crossing the Atlantic was impossible, heavier-than-air flight was never going to happen, and harnessing nuclear energy would "never be obtainable" (quoted on 29 December 1934 by Albert Einstein himself in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). The list goes on and on.

Anything is only impossible until it's not. Even those on the frontline of innovation are often blinded by self-imposed limits; Orville Wright said in 1920 that "No flying machine will ever fly from New York to Paris".

"Extraordinary is the opposite of what everybody else is doing" isn't derived from what a business does, but also how it thinks. Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools.

Forget about that utterly ridiculous and arbitrary 100m volume. Thing big.

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