You Have Enormous Potential
What is the longest sequence of numbers a person can remember? How tall can a human being grow? How long can a person live? The Guinness World Records book lists many of the greatest records set and the greatest potentials achieved. But it’s a fossil record. It speaks only to what has been done, not how much can be done, which is why it has to be constantly updated. Records are forever being broken, so it is forever out of date.
Related: How I Broke a Guinness World Record
How fast does a human have the potential to run the mile today? We honestly don’t know. That is why we hold our breath during every Olympics.
Take the fascinating case of the British middle-distance runner Roger Bannister. In the 1950s, experts concluded that the human body could not run a mile in less than four minutes. Then Bannister came along in 1954 and proved it could in fact be run in 3:59.4. Once Bannister broke the imaginary barrier, suddenly the floodgates opened; scores of runners started besting the four-minute mark every year, each one faster than the last. How fast does a human have the potential to run the mile today? We honestly don’t know. That is why we hold our breath during every Olympics.
We don’t know the limits of our brain’s enormous potential to grow and adapt to changing circumstances. All we know is that this kind of change is possible. Keep this in mind the next time you feel stuck or challenged. Just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Related: 126 Ways to Be Extraordinary
This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Shawn Achor is a Harvard-trained researcher and best-selling author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness. Get a daily dose of happy at Shawn's Facebook page.
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