By Dr. David Lieberman
Experts all agreed that human beings were not physically capable of running a four minute mile. We didn’t have the endurance, they claimed, much less the speed. Scientists even conducted studies that proved we could never run that fast—and no one ever did. People ran 4:03, 4:06, 4:04, but no one ever broke a four-minute mile.
But then, in 1954, Roger Bannister ran the mile in 3 minutes, 59 seconds — and everything changed. Within months, five other runners accomplished the same feat. The next year, dozens of other men did the same thing, and the following year, hundreds. Today, simply to qualify as a world-class runner you must break the four-minute mile barrier.
There weren’t any startling improvements in running shoes, pavement, or uniforms, and the law of wind resistance wasn’t repealed, yet a mental barrier was broken down.
In our own lives, we have sold ourselves on a self-sustaining story—“This is who I am, and this is all I can do.” But what if we are wrong?
The Torah does not allow a person to count on a miracle, but it does require us to count on ourselves
We are obligated to to ask ourselves, “Why have I been telling myself that story?” When we think, “I cannot,” or “This is just the way it is,” we must ask ourselves why we think this is so.
We may come to the stark realization that we have been following a decades-old script, playing our part to perfection, and we may decide that we have had enough — that it’s time to rewrite our role.
The Torah does not allow a person to count on a miracle, but it does require us to count on ourselves, to believe in our God-given potential, and to know that God believes in us.
Our personal transformation begins the moment we choose to challenge the thoughts that define us and the story that confines us. When we ask ourselves, “Why do I believe this to be true?” then, like our forefather Abraham, our journey to remake ourselves and the world begins.
Copyright © 2015 by David Lieberman. This excerpt is from Dr. Lieberman’s newest book, How Free Will Works, which is available at Jewish bookstores everywhere and at Feldheim.com.
David Lieberman, Ph.D., is a noted speaker and award-winning author with a renowned insight into the human condition. His 11 books, which have been translated into 26 languages and include two New York Times bestsellers, have sold more than three million copies worldwide. Blending the wisdom of Torah with the psychological process, Dr. Lieberman’s writings and lectures captivate both scholar and layman alike, and are enjoyed by people at all levels and from all backgrounds. Visit DrDavidLieberman.com for more information and TorahAnytime.com to watch his lectures.