The story of Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile barrier in 1954 is often cited as proof of the power of positive thinking. The fact is, however, that Bannister’s realism, not exuberant faith, can easily explain how Bannister achieved the feat.
The typical telling of the story is a conflict between negative and positive beliefs. The good guy is Roger Bannister, who uniquely believes that he can beat the four-minute time. The bad guy is everybody else, including the other runners of the world. Bannister’s faith in himself propels him across the finish line, breaking the barrier, proving that the positive is stronger than negative. He wins over converts to his faithful cause, who then proceed to smash the barrier themselves. (more…)