He must be cheating.
No one can ride Peloton with that resistance for that long.
That output cannot be right!
While he pedaled smoothly, controlled his breathing like a well-oiled machine, I couldn’t even move the pedals at that rate.
Sure, he was a collegiate athlete and runner, but that shouldn’t matter much now, right?
No, there’s no way that can be right.
There’s no way!
But the fact remained:
He is in better shape than me, the output was right, and he wasn’t cheating, of course.
So, I asked my good buddy, who was barely breaking a sweat as he pedaled at a near-impossible pace, if he really was in that good of shape? How on earth was he able to push those numbers?
To which he replied, “It’s 90% mental.”
It’s all between the ears. Whether you think you can or you think you cannot, you’re right, as Henry Ford famously pondered.
Let me give you a great example of that, Roger Bannister.
On the damp morning of May 6, 1954, the sinewy young British medical student crossed the finish line after running a mile on an Oxford track. When the announcer reported the official time, 3:59:04, the crowd roared fiercely.
It was the first time in history that an athlete had run a sub-4-minute mile.
Before that, it was largely considered an impossible feat for humans – even among professionals and Olympians – and doctors even considered it unsafe.
But Bannister, who was so disappointed with his fledgling career that he considered quitting middle-distance running, had instead set a goal he considered impossible – and then went out and achieved it.
Bannister’s feat was celebrated worldwide, on par with the ascent of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary the year before (1953).
Before Bannister, a sub-4-minute mile wasn’t even deemed humanly possible. But here’s the fascinating thing: Bannister’s record time was broken in just 46 days. Only a month and a half later, a rival runner named John Landy not only broke the 4-minute mark but beat Bannister’s record.
Within one year, three runners finished sub-four-minute miles – in the same race. And fast forward twenty-five years or so to 1978, and more than 200 runners had smashed the four-minute barrier.
What was the difference? The bar of expectations. The mental game and nothing else.
Our minds can push us to reach levels we would have never thought possible. However, our minds can also cripple us and put us in our beds for weeks.
We have the ability and internal resolve to push ourselves to heights never before considered possible. We just need to train our minds to listen to the right internal voices, clear out the noise, and let it happen.
The four-minute mile wasn’t realistic before Bannister. But defining our reality is all about what we believe we can do and when. Our greatest obstacle is ONLY what we think we can achieve and where we believe we can go.
Growing up, I always heard what I could NOT do. I heard what I COULD NOT be; what I WOULD NOT become.
It took years for me to change that narrative and to be who I wanted to be.
The journey, however, is not complete.
I stopped focusing on my friend on the Peloton beside me, resetting my mind to focus on the task at hand and set my Peloton to a level higher than I’d ever ridden before.
I could do this.
After all, 90% of the game is mental, and I now believed it was possible.