“It always seems impossible until it is done.” –Nelson Mandela
I’m recovering today.
I’ll explain why in a sec.
First, let me take you all the way back to 1954.
That’s when Roger Bannister became the first human to run a sub 4-minute mile. Up until that point all the experts had called this feat “physiologically impossible”. But Bannister was a physician. He knew that there couldn’t be some arbitrary barrier inscribed in our genes. So he ignored the critics, and concocted a clever program to float across a mile faster than anyone, ever.
And he did.
Within a year, many runners were going sub-four.
Now, it’s standard at the varsity level.
In 2013, a young upstart in the strength world named Eddie Hall predicted he’d be the first man in history to deadlift (lift a barbell from the floor to standing with it at arm’s length) 500 kilograms (over 1,100 pounds). And the rest of us went, “Pffft! Yeah right.”
You see the record at the time was just over 1,000 pounds.
Again, ignoring the critics (or indeed FUELED by them, as he claims) Eddie spread ink all over the record books. He notched up his own world best by nearly 100 pounds in two and half years and became the first lifter in history to put daylight between 1,100 pounds and the floor, successfully setting the all-time mark. Note that adding 100 pounds to your deadlift in 2.5 years would be great progress for a novice or an intermediate lifter. When you already own the world record…it’s completely bonkers.
Could the 1,100 pound barrier be broken again?
This past Friday and Saturday, at The Arnold Classic in Columbus, the world’s top pro strongmen were competing. And Rogue – a sponsor – put up 50K for anyone with the balls to make the magical limit go the way of spandex.
Former 4-Time World’s Strongest Man Brian Shaw and current World’s Strongest Man, the six-foot-nine Icelander Hafthor Bjornsson (plays The Mountain on Game of Thrones) had posted training lifts on YouTube of 1,025 and 1,041 respectively. Insert multiple “surprised face” emojis here. For a strength enthusiast, this is the World Cup Final and we’re going to penalty kicks.
Indeed, my fanboy hysteria nearly required a defibrillator.
(Or a change of gotchies.)
Though it turned out not to be the strengthgasm we were hoping for.
After a routine-looking 1,045-pound lift, Thor – as Bjornsson is known in strongman circles – took 1,105 for a brief ride but couldn’t get it above his knees. Nobody else was even close. There may come a day when 1,100-pound deadlifts are more common, but it’s not today.
Anyway, here’s what I observe about all this and that I want you to think about:
For most of us, the things we’re trying to do with our lives are nowhere near this magnitude.
No mystical or genetic barrier exists for our goals. In 99.9% of cases someone has already demonstrated the inherent possibility of what we want to do. In fact, many people have – sometimes hundreds, thousands, even millions. So many men and women have businesses they love, a partner who enriches their life, figure out a way to change their financial circumstances, or come back from illness and shed lots of weight.
It’ll do us good to remember that.
We’re all made of the same “stuff”.
Trust your stuff.
Everything you want is not only possible…
It is DONE.
Keep that in mind in those moments when you doubt yourself. Remind yourself how truly possible and doable your big goals or your PR’s really are – if you’re being objective about it.
Sometimes, all it takes is giving yourself permission to say “I got this”.
P.S. Ever wonder what an “easy” 1,045-pound lift looks like?