The Success Story
I was listening in on a teleseminar this week hosted by Dr. Lissa Rankin and her colleague Amy Ahlers. During the call they brought up the story about the first sub-four minute mile ever run. Well, I know my sports history quite well so I knew that this was the story of Roger Bannister who ran the first sub-four minute mile in 1954. So as they told the story, I was only partially listening. But after they told the story about Roger’s accomplishment, they went on to tell “the rest of the story”. Over the next fairly short time period, several other runners went on to also run a sub-four minute mile including a famous race just forty-six days later when John Landy and Roger Bannister both ran the mile in under four minutes (Bannister won the race). Each of these multiple runners had all been pursuing the goal of running the mile in under four minutes and was hoping to be the first to do so. There were many contributing factors to Bannister being the first, but the point that resonates with me is that some athletes came up with the goal of breaking the four-minute mile, decided that they would be able to do it and were willing to do the work to achieve it, put their minds and all their training into the task and ultimately many succeeded within a fairly short time frame.
For the longest time, many people had thought that this feat could never be achieved. Athletes had been running faster and faster over the years, but this four minute mark seemed to be a real barrier and most people doubted that it could be really achieved. From an athlete perspective, these runners obviously had strong beliefs that they would be able to accomplish the goal but they really didn’t know how. There was nobody to define the training regimen that would be best suited to achieving the goal, and as much as they were getting closer and closer all the time, I can’t help but think that there had to be some semblance of doubt even in their own minds. I’m sure the fact that each athlete knew that other athletes were also getting closer and closer to the barrier helped to propel them more and push them even harder toward their individual goal. But there’s no denying that once it happened, it just kept happening. Today’s world record time for the mile is 3:43:15, more than 15 seconds under four minutes, and virtually every athlete that competes in a world class event has run the mile in under four minutes.
To tie the success story into this blog, here’s how I see this. Prior to 1940, the breaking of the four minute mile was seen by most as “impossible”, and that represented a limiting belief. By the 1950’s as times were getting faster, the ability to break the barrier had moved to a state of “improbable”. In May of 1954, the size of the crowd gathered to watch the race made it clear that many thought the breaking of the barrier was now “inevitable”. What was once the impossible, became the improbable, and was now the inevitable, and the limiting belief was gone forever.
Over the past several years, more and more people have been exposed to the Law of Attraction as described in books like Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”, “The Secret” and by many other authors and speakers. According to Wikipedia: “The law of attraction is a pseudoscientific belief or theory, that “like attracts like,” and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results.” This blog isn’t about the law of attraction, but rather to set the background for the next section of the blog, so let’s move on to the belief system.
The belief system I have been focused upon for the past couple of years relates to our current state of health especially as it relates to illness and dis-ease. It seems to me that we are constantly being reminded that “sickness is inevitable” and that almost everyone is going to get a dis-ease of some description. We hear that “1 in 9 women get breast cancer”, on twitter someone’s status is “if you are over 40, you have a 50% chance of developing arthritis, RA, or osteoarthritis this year”, and the reminders go on and on. There are fundraisers all over the place to help raise the awareness of some of these conditions. I bet almost everyone has heard of “Mo-vember”, a campaign that runs in November of each year to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer. While this is one example, we all know of many other examples of campaigns to raise funds to battle illnesses and diseases.
It seems to me that we have created a belief system throughout society that “sickness is inevitable”. I personally have a belief system that “death is inevitable”, but I’m not so comfortable with the belief system that “sickness is inevitable”.
Let’s Shake it up Real Well
Tying the Success Story, the Law and the Belief System above together, here’s what I get. Today represents our 1954, and we’re looking at things the wrong way in our “like attracts like” model as it relates to our health. We’re focused on the problem (dis-ease and illness) and not the solution (health and wellness). And if we think about the Law of Attraction, if we focus on illness we attract illness, but if we focus on wellness, we will attract wellness. Like 1954, there are a multitude of people that believe that dis-ease and illness can be lessened significantly if we bring our attention to the other side of the picture.
“In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the existing and problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete.” R. Buckminster Fuller
To shake things up, here is a small sampling of things that we “know” today. The stories may not be that well shared but more and more people are becoming aware of the stories and are starting to examine their own belief systems:
- We know that our bodies are designed to heal themselves. They do so already after we get cuts and bruises and broken bones.
- There is scientific evidence that our beliefs affect our outcomes. Several movies and scientific experiments have been conducted that offer proof of this (look up whatthebleep.com for the water crystals experiment as an example, there are hundreds of stories available online).
- There are many cases of spontaneous remission of illness and dis-ease. In many cases it is unexplainable, but there appears to be a consistency where the patient takes on a belief system that the illness isn’t going to stay with them. You may well know someone that has experienced this.
- For many people that are diagnosed with terminal illness doctors seem to get it right many times. Gregg Braden and others propose that part of the reason for their accuracy is that people accept the diagnosis (6 months, 2 years, etc to live). Braden also goes on to describe stories where people have chosen not to accept the prognosis, visualize the illness as no longer there, and find out later that the condition has “miraculously” disappeared.
- The Eastern medical system is fundamentally based on the belief in the body’s ability to heal itself from any condition and is focused on treating the root cause of the illness rather than the symptoms. This system has been in place for thousands of years, far longer than our current Western medical system.
- The Western medical system is focused on treating the symptoms, often with a “medication first’ approach. While this has helped people relieve symptoms in many cases, there are often negative side effects that lead to other conditions.
- We know that the patient taking responsibility for their own health and doing the necessary work to maintain their health is a key to success, yet many of us look for the “silver bullet” from the medicine cabinet rather than doing the work to deal with our own root causes of symptoms.
- There are hospitals inChina(at least one) where practitioners practice healing without drugs, using a chanting approach focused on removing tumors through, and the tumors have been shown to shrink.
New Belief System
Let me close this blog with a series of “What If? questions.
- What if we had awareness campaigns that focused on our health as opposed to our unhealthy states?
- What if we had readily available statistics and resources that focused on promoting people’s returning to health?
- What if people were taught from a young age that dealing with the root cause of any condition was the real key to healing?
- What if we removed the ads from TV that focus on people getting sick?
- What if we realized that continual focus on the problem actually exacerbates the problem, and that focus on the solution speeds up the acceptance of the solution?
- What if for every “sickness campaign”, there was a corresponding “wellness campaign”?
It’s 1954 folks and the four minute mile is about to be broken as it relates to health care. Our belief system is changing. More and more people are transforming their beliefs every day. Health and happiness for all is no longer an impossible dream, and I don’t even thing it’s improbable any more. I think it’s inevitable.
Can our belief systems change? Which belief system do you have?
In closing, I’d like to add a personal note. I am working with a group of people that call ourselves “health care evolutionaries”. Some of the people are doctors, others are “ordinary” people like you and me that have transformed their belief systems, and all of us know that the time for changing the paradigm is NOW. We know that many people out there have the same beliefs because they’ve told us that they do.
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