If 6’5 100 meter dash world record holder Usain Bolt grew up in the U.S. instead of Jamaica, he almost certainly would have been a basketball player instead of a track athlete.
This means there are probably several Usain Bolts in the US that could compete with the Jamaican, but went a different path as a child, simply because of where they were born.
This level of randomness shows how it is never a good idea to compare yourself to others.
Every circumstance is so different from another, and we’re all fighting different battles.
You look in the lane next to you and you see someone pass you, and at a good clip.
Does that make you feel bad? Like, “What am I doing? That 70 year old woman just zipped by me, I’m terrible!”
Well it means nothing. She could have 55 years of competitive swimming experience, and you have 2.
The amazing thing about swimming or running is that so much is in your control to outdo your former self.
The barriers to your potential are mostly in your mind.
Before 1954, when Roger Bannister became the first human to break the 4 minute mile, this was widely considered an impossibility.
“Can’t be done”.
This belief meant that, after Bannister broke through, many more runners followed soon after and also broke 4 minutes.
Now, in the US alone, 10-20 runners per month are going under 4 minutes.
Seeing Bannister break through what was previously thought to be impossible led to the breaking of a mass psychological barrier.
Perhaps you are not trying to achieve a 4 minute mile.
But you have something you are trying to achieve. You know what it is, and it’s meaningful- to you.
Your personal “4 minute mile” is within you. There is both a psychological barrier and a potential to move past it.
You can unlock your potential by breaking down whatever is stopping you. Or you can cling on to a false limitation.
What is your 4 minute mile? Let’s take it down this year. 🙂