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The Power of Seeing to Believe

Something we talk about a lot is the power of seeing something to believe it is possible. If you’ve been to our events before, you’ll be familiar with the story of the 4 minute mile. Roger Bannister became the first person in the world to run a mile in 4 minutes. Prior to Bannister, athletes all over the world thought it was humanly impossible. Within a year of Bannister breaking the ‘4 minute barrier’, many went on to break it themselves and even beat Roger’s record.

What the runners of the world once saw as physically impossible, was made possible by the act of seeing someone do it. What we can learn from this story is that what you might feel is out of reach in your current circumstances, maybe even impossible, is down to a certain set of psychological barriers you’ve accumulated over your years, based on your lived experience. The good news is that it’s possible to totally overcome these barriers, and one way to do that is by changing your belief, and creating a new alternative belief.

The power of belief is often thrown around, but what we find fascinating is the science of how this works. What is actually happening in your brain that makes you think you can’t vs. you can?

A belief is a mental model, you will have many mental models that shape the way you look at the world, they are a set of stories and concepts that help you make sense of everything around you. They are tools for understanding, problem solving and decision making.

Our beliefs are created by external factors over time - from our carers as a child, through our education, religious belief systems, the media...basically anything that happens around us. Because of this, it is possible to change your beliefs that no longer serve you. Some of the best moments of growth can come from examining our beliefs. James Clear talks about how to train your brain in this article.

One really great way to change your beliefs to work in your favour, and something that we practice actively, is to seek out examples of people who are doing something you want to achieve and to familiarize yourself with their story, by absorbing a new perspective, a new possibility - seeing to believe something to be possible alone can be really powerful.

For the runners that came after Roger Bannister, they now had an example of something that they previously thought to be impossible, and with this knowledge alone, they expanded their mental models around their capacity to run a mile in 4 minutes, proof that mental models and beliefs alone can hold you back. At Soundboard you’ll often hear us speaking about the power of ‘seeing it to believe it’. Hearing about people’s experiences, challenges and achievements has the ability to shift and transform the mental models that you live your own life by.


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