Weekly Intention – The Power of Belief!

02.07.13 | Posted in Weekly Intention

The last blog titled I Believe was a set up for this edition of the Weekly Intention.

Let’s start out with one of the more famous stories of achievement and accomplishment that most of us have heard of and where there is no controversy surrounding the events. I’m talking about then 25 year old English medical student Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile barrier in the one-mile race. On May 6, 1954, Bannister accomplished what everyone had BELIEVED was impossible – run a sub four minute mile. We may have heard that story, but do you know the “story behind the story? Roger Bannister set the goal to be the first person to break the four-minute mile two years prior with all of his training and focus on accomplishing the record. And, did you know there were actually two other men that were seeking to break this barrier? Yes, there was an Aussie named John Landy and an American farm boy from Kansas, Wes Santee. What did these three men know that others didn’t? Why were they willing to go beyond the so-called experts that claimed the human body wasn’t capable of going any faster? My question at this point is – Why not? And, within two years of Bannister breaking the record, it’s reported that 37 more people accomplished the previously believed impossible time.

Here’s another giant that went against conventional wisdom. Capernicus theorized in a small book called Little Commentary in 1514 that the sun was the center of our galaxy and that the earth revolved around it, not that everything revolved around the earth. Heresy for its time and roundly rejected by the Catholic Church. In fact, his theory at the time was so controversial he didn’t even put his name on the book that he authored and initially only circulated it within his circle of friends.

And, another popular belief in ancient times, and in most ancient civilizations was that the earth was flat. Some Greek philosophers in BC times were postulating the earth was a sphere and in 330 BC Aristotle wrote about his theory, but the flat earth advocates continued into the 1st century before the belief began to take hold and become widely accepted.

Most of us today can’t even imagine belief systems so strong and imbedded like the earth being the center of the universe or that we live on a flat earth and could fall off if we walked too far! Maybe we can relate to the four-minute mile story though. I’ve brought all three examples out to make a point and ask you these questions: What’s your flat earth belief? What barrier is too tall or high that you can’t imagine breaking through? What center of the universe do you believe in that keeps you in your comfort zone?

 One philosophy that I’ve had for most of my adult life is “there is always a way.” Some of you are saying right now, “yes, Ed there is always a way, BUT……!” How did I get that belief? Trial and error and having some true four-minute mile breakthroughs myself. Here’s a quick version of a long story, but one that has become a “secure base” for me that allows me to believe anything is possible. I was training to run the Disney Marathon in 2001 with my daughter Stacy. Three weeks prior to the race I pulled my right groin muscle. Very painful, indeed! Initially, the thinking was “there’s no way I can run the marathon now.” But, I began to ask myself how could I still run and finish the marathon (notice the power of a question directed toward reframing the possibility?). The short version is I did. I ran it in 5 hours and 40 minutes, about hour and 40 minutes slower than my training was geared toward. How did that feat happen? Iron will, believing that there was a way, and training my “mind’s eye” on the goal and not the pain.

If each of us is honest, we all have limiting beliefs that hold us back from achieving what we want to achieve. The obvious ones are “I’m too old,” “I’m not qualified,” “I don’t have enough education,” and my favorite “that’s just the way I am!” (not really!). Do you know what those beliefs allow you to do? Stay where you are in your comfort zone. You don’t have to risk anything, you just keep doing what you’re doing setting up those beliefs that keep you safe.

And, for a lot of us, we don’t even realize the negative self-talk we’ve allowed ourselves to parrot. We have so many statements that come from our minds and then our mouths that are just limiting beliefs. My challenge to you is for the next seven days notice yourself and others making statements of “fact” and ask the question “is that really true?” You see, it is really true if you believe it and speak it. I wrote about this in the Mental Dimension. Your brain does not know the difference between fact or fiction. It only knows what YOU tell it to believe.

And, here’s a key lesson for all of us to accomplish any big goal or dream we have that requires breaking through limiting beliefs – find people who believe in you and that will help you achieve your goal or dream!

Remember Roger Bannister? Here’s Page 2 as Paul Harvey used to say! He had three other runners in the race that paced him to his goal. They had strategized and knew the exact split times they would have to run to propel him across the finish line in under four minutes. Each pacer took a turn until the last 350 yards when Roger took off to finish in 3:59.4! He didn’t achieve his record by himself. He did it with others who believed in him!

Sometimes we need to stop asking what, how, why or when and ask WHO can help me achieve my dreams? Bannister did and 60 years later we’re still talking about him breaking through a barrier MOST believed was impossible!

Now it’s time to apply the ARIA model. Instead of me asking you the questions this time, if you’ve started the journey of the Weekly Intention, then you know the drill. If not, go back and read one or two of the first editions to understand the Awareness, Reflection, Insight and Action concept and process that will help you move toward growth as an UnCommon Leader!

Onward & Upward!

Ed Chaffin

Here’s some resources for you to expand your belief about beliefs!

Steve Aitchison – UK’s #1 personal development blogger


The Quest For The Four Minute Mile


Psychology Today



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