Can Humans Run 1 Mile In Less Than 4 Minutes?

Can Humans Run 1 Mile In Less Than 4 Minutes? The power of belief and imagination

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the power of belief and imagination.

First a quick update:

The Breakup Test
Are you heartbroken, angry, lost, lonely, confused, depressed, hung up, or pining over your ex? Do you know how your ex is truly affecting you and do you want to benefit from personalized advice, action steps and revelations? Take my free breakup test and get your own personalized report.

Does Guilt Control You?
It is a common response that when we do something wrong, we will feel guilty or bad. What matters the most is the way we respond to our guilt. Do we choose to beat ourselves up over our wrongdoing? Do we choose to condemn ourselves, making ourselves feel only worse? Watch my video

Now, let’s talk about the power of belief and imagination.

Can a human run one mile in less than four minutes?

Well, of course, yes.

It’s already been done.

In fact, over 1,400 male athletes have officially run 1 mile in less than 4 minutes.

And yet in the 1950s, doctors and scientists believed that it wasn’t physically possible for someone to run one mile in less than 4 minutes. They said the human body could not handle it.

Then on May 6th, 1954 Rodger Bannister proved them all wrong.

Breaking the four-minute mile was the holy grail of athletics in the 1950s; there was lots of media frenzy and public discussion, along with attempts since 1886.

In the 1952 Olympics, Roger Bannister performed poorly in the 1500 metre race; he came in fourth. And after experiencing embarrassment and humiliation (he was expected and predicted to win), Bannister thought seriously about quitting.

However, he chose to not give up, and instead chose to fight back.

Although, he was a full-time medical student, Bannister still trained, and in an unconventional manner, and without traditional coaches.

When it came to the day to attempt to break the record for running one mile, Bannister age 25, was faced with cold, wet and windy conditions – winds of 15 mph. He believed he could do it!

“Ladies and gentlemen, here is the result of event nine, the one mile: first, number forty one, R. G. Bannister, Amateur Athletic Association and formerly of Exeter and Merton Colleges, Oxford, with a time which is a new meeting and track record, and which—subject to ratification—will be a new English Native, British National, All-Comers, European, British Empire and World Record. The time was three…”

The crowd roared so loudly that announcer was drowned out.

Bannister had broken the world recording finishing in 3:59.4

“There was no logic in my mind that if you can run a mile in 4 minutes, 1 and Qths, you can’t run it in 3:59. I knew enough medicine and physiology to know it wasn’t a physical barrier, but I think it had become a psychological barrier.”
– Roger Bannister recalling his victory

‘If he can do it, I can do it’
Bannister hadn’t just broken a world record, he had broken a psychological barrier and the doors opened for many more to follow suit: 46 days later, Australian John Landy ran even faster with a time of 3 minutes 58 seconds; a year later, 3 more runners broke the psychological barrier, and; since that first record-breaking act by Bannister, more than 1,400 runners have proven that the human can run a mile in less than 4 minutes. (The mile record is held by Hicham El Guerrouj from Morocco – 3:43.13.)

What changed when Bannister broke the physical and psychological barrier? Why could humans run faster than before?

The belief – the mindset and imagination changed: ‘If he can do it, I can do it.’ That belief resulted in physical changes; the brain and the body responded to open the capacity to achieve the goal.

“300 yards from the finish. I had a moment of mixed joy and anguish when my mind took over. It raced well ahead of my body, and drew me compellingly forward. I felt that the moment of a lifetime had come.”
– Roger Bannister retelling his performance.

The brain has the ability to adapt.

There are 25,000 streets in London, and thousands of landmarks. And yet, every London Black Cab driver has to know and memorize all of this information, otherwise they won’t receive their license.

How can they achieve this feat and memorize 25,000 streets and thousand of routes?

They have larger-than-average memory centers in their brains.

Were they born this way? Is it just a case of genetic advantages?


A five-year study of London Taxi drivers reveals their intensive training is responsible for the growth of brain – the hippocampus  which is crucial for long-term memory and spatial navigation.

The brain responds to the challenge – to the spatial knowledge, and not to stress, driving, or self-motion.

Consider the extraordinary things we can do with technology today – just like the fictional stories of Dick Tracy, today we can actually use our watches as phones. We can also communicate today via video on our phones to people on the other side of the world – in the same way as in the 1968 movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, where Floyd has a videophone call with his daughter while he is in space and she is on Earth.

We were able to create these things because we removed the mental barriers to what we can achieve. We believed in possibility over impossibility.

This same principle applies to every area of your life; what limits do you place? What do you believe in possible and what do you believe is impossible? What do you imagine is possible? Do you have a clear vision for what you choose to create?

The point here is not to encourage delusions but rather to shift your focus to seeking solutions – to transform your mindset to believe that you can overcome challenges and that you can create extraordinary things in your life, and tap into more of your potential!

Bannister recognized the power of the brain and went on to become a leading neurologist in the UK.

If you need help to let go of the past and limiting beliefs – book a one-on-one session with me.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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