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The Power of Believing

Roger Bannister about to cross the finish line, Oxford, England, 1954. He became the first person to run the mile in under 4 minutes, with a time of 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. Photo by Norman Potter/Central Press/Getty Images

In the world of track and field, it was long thought that no one could run a mile in under 4 minutes. …

However, [in 1954], one person raised the bar. Roger Bannister, a British athlete, broke through the steel wall of the 4-minute mile [finishing in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds]. Interestingly, after this one person broke through this wall, others soon followed. [Just 46 days later, Bannister’s record was broken.] …

Today, running a mile in 4 minutes is standard for male middle-distance runners.

In other words, if your brain thinks that something is impossible, you cannot muster the strength to break through that wall of impossibility. This is the danger of preconceived notions.

In the world of sports, improving one’s skills and athletic abilities are of course important. But in the end, in the midst of competition, everything comes down to a battle of the spirit, of human will.

This story of the 4-minute mile eloquently expresses how a single individual can open up an unprecedented path. (Ikeda Sensei, February 2017 Living Buddhism, p. 3)

Valuing My Mission

Q: I moved to a new place thinking I would have a better life, but it’s just been one setback after another. How do I decide whether to leave?