Why Give a Damn:
Setting goals high, ignoring common wisdom in the process, and working relentlessly towards your goals is the only way to change the world.
The author of this post, Pascal Finette, is Director, Office of the Chair at Mozilla. His focus is on expanding the scope of Mozilla into new constituencies and supporting Mozilla’s Chairperson with the ongoing work of modernizing Mozilla project governance structures, raising Mozilla’s visibility globally, and generally governing the Mozilla project.
Have you ever tried to run a mile (for us non-imperial distance runners that’s 1,609 meters) as fast as you can? How fast were you? Seven Minutes? Six? Probably five if you are trained and worked hard.
Roger Banister broke the magic four-minute-mile in 1954. That is – he became the first human being to run a mile in less than four minutes.
When Roger set out to break the four-minute-mile, people believed that the human body would never be able to run that fast. Doctors were of the opinion that the heart would explode if you ran that fast. And despite all this, Roger knew that it was possible – he aimed his goal that high. Then he went on to work. Bannister approached the task scientifically, setting a fierce training schedule for himself with workouts conducted each day for one-half hour during his lunch break. On a gray, cloudy day in 1954 he set out with his team colleagues Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher to write history.
Only weeks after he broke the four-minute mark, other runners broke the same barrier. That same year Bannister and the Australian runner John Landy faced off in what became known as “The Mile of the Century” – a race in which both raced the mile in under four minutes.
The magic barrier was only in their heads.
You can’t change the world if you don’t set out to do so. Barriers are as much physiological as they are psychological. Be bold. Dream big. Who would have thought that we could put a man on the moon? Or that a little social network for Stanford students could have become the largest website on the planet?
You have all the ingredients for doing amazing work in you. You just need to believe and persevere. That is the only way you will change the world.
“The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.” ~ Roger Bannister
What is your magic four-minute mile? Find it, develop a plan, and then push through it.