Running the 4-Minute Mile

Reads: 346  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A dash of inspiration...

Submitted: July 29, 2009

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 29, 2009



"Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love… true love never dies. You remember that, boy. You remember that. Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in."

That's a quote from Second Hand Lions, one of my favorite movie quotes of all time. I can remember hearing that line for the first time, and thinking "this may be one of the greatest things ever said in a movie."

We live in a world of facts. Our reality is a controlled idea; it has become ruled by test tubes and defined by research papers. If it can't be tested, calculated, or quantified, then it can't be real.

And reality tends to be hard. Abstract concepts like mercy or generosity don't have a place in nature. There's no logic in sacrificing your welfare for a complete stranger. Survival of the fittest usually frowns on helping your enemy- not when they could return and harm you in the future. Reality is a place of lions and wolves, and there's no room for words like "bravery," "love," or "sacrifice."

However, sometimes the things that are the most real, the things that matter more than anything else, aren't "real" at all— at least, not in the traditional sense. You can't touch those things. You can't go to a bank and deposit your extra compassion. There's no machine that measures your blood pressure, takes your temperature, and rates your courage on a scale of 1 to 10.

But there should be. Because there's a certain magic in these things- in doing something that might fly in the face of logic, just to follow your beliefs. There is a power in them that surpasses that of any other act. Perhaps it's giving up security to chase a dream. Or maybe it's standing up against thousands, defending what's right even when all the odds are against you. These are the acts that inspire others. These "illogical" moments can change the world. They can brighten someone's day or lead nations to stand against tyrants.

This is the single greatest failing in the design of man— our tendency to forsake wisdom, logic, and our own well-being in order to follow a simple feeling. Yet that great character flaw is perhaps the strongest thing in the universe. It is what took the physically weak, ape-like creature known as Homo sapiens, and transformed it into something human.

I forget that myself sometimes. All too often, I get lost in the shuffle of the real world. I find myself concentrating entirely on success, forgetting everything else in favor of the power I'll one day have, or the expensive things I'll own. I forget that money and power aren't the most valuable things in life; and while I someday plan on having them, there are much more important things for a person to possess.

I'm blessed to have some of those things- I have a wonderful family, and an unbelievable amount of amazing people I get to call friends. Yet I'm still missing some things. For instance, I can honestly say that just about every girl I've cared about has somehow made me feel like a complete idiot. I just haven't been very lucky as far as that goes. Heck, I've driven hours out of my way just to be rejected without the girl even knowing she was doing it.

And I can tell you from personal experience that it doesn't get easier. Things like that don't magically stop hurting after the fifth time, or the tenth, or the hundredth. Logically, I should give up- the simplest way to avoid getting hurt would be to just stop trying. But I keep plodding along, because part of me will always believe that one day it'll work, that eventually all the hard times will have been worth it.

I have friends who won't read fiction books. They don't like to read about magic, or imaginary places and people. Because those things are impossible; they have no affect on reality.

But I love fiction. I love the thought of magic, of doing the impossible. Of heroes who stand alone against the might of armies, and win through sheer courage and perseverance. The idea that life without honor is worthless. That a man can die for the woman he loves, and that single act would have made his entire life worthwhile.

Those are the foundations on which I have built my life. My beliefs come from books. They come from stories. From heroes, both real and imaginary. They come from greats acts of recorded history, and from legends as old as time. They have taught me things that defy logic, yet are more important than any scientific law. And I will be damned if I allow anyone to tell me those values are any less real just because they are not based in fact.

Because life isn't always sunbeams and rainbows. A single mother can work hard all her life and never get out of poverty. A child in an orphanage might never get adopted. Two people who are perfect for each other in every way may spend their entire lives apart. Life is unfair, and bad things can happen to the best of people.

But even if the best dreams aren't always true, well by-God they should be! And that simple fact makes believing in them worth it. It's that hope that lets us push ahead when all seems lost. Because even in the darkest of hours, we can still hold on to the knowledge that the sun will someday rise. We can laugh at reality's attempts to hold us back. We can face down hardship and we can conquer fear. We can attempt things that we know, to the very core of our beings, to be impossible.

And because we had the guts to disregard the facts and try anyway... sometimes we can succeed. Occasionally, we can make our own magic.

For years, it was a commonly accepted fact that a human being was incapable of running a sub 4-minute mile. The way our muscles connect, our lung capacity, and past record times all made it impossible.

May 6, 1954: Mile time for Roger G. Banister- 3.594 min.

Since then, thousands of people have broken the "impossible" four-minute barrier... all because one man took something impossible, and decided to do it anyway.

Nothing is ever real until you believe in it.

© Copyright 2018 Bionic_Possum. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments: