Can you run as fast as Roger Bannister? – November 2014

Roger Bannister is human, made up of bones, connective tissues, and muscles like everyone else. But Roger has a trait that only the most driven, the most focused, and the most successful individuals have: an unwavering mental capacity to achieve what was previously unattainable for thousands of years, an attainable goal met by many.

You might be asking yourself, “Eric, who is Roger Bannister and why should I care?”

My response: Roger Bannister was the first person to run a sub 4:00 mile and the reason that I believe this is important has to do with Human Psychology. The invisible barriers that we, as humans, place upon ourselves and our belief system have been ingrained in us since the beginning of our existence.

These barriers are mental and it takes visionaries to overcome. Once one of these visionaries, like Steve Jobs did with the Apple II and later the IPad and IPhone, envision a new inventions it is only a matter of time until the impossible is now possible. Steve Jobs didn’t wake up one day and invent the computer (Apple II). He visited Xerox and saw that the technology was available, but it was Jobs vision of the future that turned the available technology into a computer. This article is going to take a different tone than my typical ‘monologue,’ but it is something that I think is important and want to discuss.

History of the 4:00 Mile

The following quote was taken from an article I recently read entitled ‘What We Mortals Can Learn from the 4- Minute Mile.’ By Matt Frazier.

According to legend, experts said for years that the human body was simply not capable of a 4-minute mile. It wasn’t just dangerous; it was impossible.

Further legends hold that people had tried for over a thousand years to break the barrier, even tying bulls behind them to increase the incentive to do the impossible.

In the 1940’s, the mile record was pushed to 4:01, where it stood for nine years, as runners struggled with the idea, just maybe, the experts had it right. Perhaps the human body had reached its limit.
Then the Breakthrough Occurred

On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister broke the 4- minute barrier, running the distance in 3:59.4. As part of his training, he relentlessly visualized the achievement in order to create a sense of certainty in his mind and body.
Barely a year after Bannister’s accomplishment, someone else ran a mile in under 4 minutes. Then an increasing number accomplished the feat. Now, it’s almost routine. Even high-schoolers today run 4-minute miles.

The First Time is Always the Hardest

This is common knowledge, but I encounter these ‘firsts’ nearly every day in my personal and professional life. The unknown, and the fear of failure can have a crippling effect on most people. Once someone has cracked that barrier, or you have achieved a new personal accomplishment, then doing it a 2nd time is easier, and the 3rd, 4th, 5th, times become exponentially easier. And not only that, you become more efficient and better at the accomplishment each time. So what might have taken years to get up the nerve to finally try (personal fitness/wellness, business or job related, cooking a new recipe for the first time) after that first time you have broken through the psychological barrier and having that accomplishment behind you the next step is to improve on that accomplishment on set a new goal.

Let’s go back to the quote above and some key points that I want to expound upon:

Experts said that running a 4-minute mile couldn’t be done… and humans had tried for thousands of years to accomplish the feat. This hits home for many of us. There are always doubters and negative nellies to whom status quo is good enough. Individuals that are happy in their day to day lives and don’t stretch their imaginations and test their personal barriers. And that is fine, wait for someone else to make the breakthrough. I recently read ‘The Apple Experience,’ a book about Steve Jobs and in this book it mentioned that only 3% of humans have this ability to stretch their comfort level and achieve these ‘breakthroughs’. Without those 3 percenters, the ones that push the limits, that ask the tough questions, that keep society moving forward, we would still be riding horses to our jobs and would not be able to ‘fly’ to save time and have world travel available to everyone. We wouldn’t have computers and cell phones.

“As part of his training, he relentlessly visualized the achievement in order to create a sense of certainty in his mind and body.”

It’s the ones, like Roger Bannister, who set their mind to achieve something and have such unwavering laser-like focus that they will not stop until they accomplish their goal. If Roger had listened to the ‘experts’ he never would have achieved the 4:00 minute mile feat. It took 9 years for someone, Roger, to shave 1 second off the mile. This was a mental hurdle to everyone that tried to achieve the unheard of accomplishment and, because no one had done it prior, it was deemed ‘impossible’ for THOUSANDS of years. However, once Roger broke the barrier, the mental hurdle was overcome, and, within a year, many more accomplished the 4:00 mile. Today, a 4:00 mile is commonplace even with runners in high school.

Human Psychology- We are amazing creatures and are only held back, as evidenced by Roger, by the physical and mental limitations that we place upon ourselves.

This is an extreme example of ‘being the first’ to accomplish the previously unattainable. There are goals and milestones that we achieve daily which move us forward personally and professionally. Achieving a breakthrough is uncomfortable, but once you accomplish that goal, it creates a lifelong memory.

Just recently, Anthony achieved riding a bike and he couldn’t have been more excited. My brother-in-law, David, and his family were over for a Sunday dinner, after dinner David went outside to play with the boys, 15 minutes later David helped Anthony break that barrier of riding his bike. Within days Anthony was riding around our house, taking his bike to my parents and riding, and became a much more accomplished rider. This brought back my memory of my first time riding. I was with Mama-Page and Pagie’s home. They were an older couple.  Family friends.  They were my 3rd set of grandparents and they watched me a few days a week. Wobbly and unsure I started out on their driveway and went up a slight hill. It might have been only 20 feet, but I did it, after months of trying. The sense of accomplishment of riding a bike on my own, what was unattainable, was now accomplished, and like, Anthony, I became a much better rider quickly.

Breakthroughs in Real Estate

Writing this newsletter has been an accomplishment that was scary and uncomfortable at first, but something that has become enjoyable and I have become better at writing as the months have passed by. When I first started writing the content to ‘The Eric Verdi Letter’ about 18 months ago, it took A LOT of time. Between thinking about the content for the articles, jotting down ideas, writing, editing, and formatting, it took me about 40 hours a month. Now, after months of practice, I spend around 8-10 hours a month on this newsletter. I believe that the content and insights that I provide to you on a monthly basis are better now than that first couple of months of writing.

About 6 years ago, I started using Annie, my professional photographer to visually tell my listing’s story, and almost 4 years ago Stacy and Sharon started Staging each of my listings. I was the first agent in the area to exclusively use Annie, Stacy, and Sharon. Over the last few years I have been constantly asked by my fellow Real Estate Agents how my homes look so good online? I freely give out Annie, Stacy, and Sharon’s contact information and tell the agent that it is ‘my team’ that helps me help my sellers. This has helped ‘my team’ grow their respective businesses as there are 20-30 agents that used them, maybe not on every listing as I do, but on a significant amount of their listings. As the old saying goes, ‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.’ I’m thrilled that these agents are doing what they can to help their sellers present their homes in the best light.

Just within the last few months I have started adding written ‘stories’ to each of my listings. I learned this from studying and reading some of the best copywriters in history. I’ve read the books by Dan Kennedy, David Ogilvy, Joseph Sugarman, Jay Abraham and others. The common denominator in their writing is being able to craft a compelling ‘story’ and to be able to create intrigue and an emotional attachment between whatever products they are selling and the potential purchaser. Once a purchaser can envision themselves with that product, can imagine how it would feel, taste, and smell, then the barriers to purchase are removed. These product stories are written to create an emotional attachment. Most agents use feature sheets with number of beds, baths, etc. No ‘emotional attachment’ is formed and, thus most homes are just viewed as a structure with 4 walls. Buyers have a hard time building an attachment. Our stories are different, written to help buyers envision their family living there. To check out some examples of these property stories click here: and you will see what I mean. Much like my newsletter, the first property story I wrote took about 12-15 hours and now a few months later after writing 6-7 stories, the process is down to about 4-5 hours. The stories have gotten better and more compelling.

Like Roger Bannister taught us some 50 plus years ago, once you can envision your goals: (breaking the 4:00 mile, riding a bike, writing a newsletter, cooking a new recipe whatever you want to do), set your mind to it, and visualize the achievement, the battle has been won, and it’s only a matter of time until the goal is accomplished.