The Picture Comes First

The Picture Comes First

Sept. 20, 2019

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For too many people, it’s over before it ever gets started.

For example, most people don’t invest because they think they’ll lose all their money.

Most people don’t ask someone out because they’ll definitely say no.

Most people don’t try a new sport because they’re sure they’re not athletic.

If we can’t see ourselves with big investing accounts or amazing partners or winning the club championship, guess what? It’s not going to happen.

One of my favorite stories is the story of the 4-minute mile.

For the entire course of history, it was believed that a human could not run a mile in less than four minutes. A human’s anatomy simply wasn’t strong enough to do it.

For a thousand years, people had tried. No one succeeded.

Furthermore, many believed even attempting a 4-minute mile could be deadly. They were convinced that a person would die trying to break 4-minutes.

But, in 1954, Roger Bannister did the impossible. On a cold day in Oxford, England, Bannister ran a mile in 3:59.4.

For a thousand years, everyone knew it couldn’t be done.

And then, as soon as the world saw it could be done, another runner went under 4-minutes about a month later.

With no picture of success, nobody could do it. With visible proof, it happened again 46 days later.

That’s why I always spent a lot of time with my students telling them stories about kids who had done amazing things. It wasn’t so I could brag about me or the superstars, it was done to help my student form a picture.

“I can’t get my ranking that high.”

“But so-and-so did it last year.”


And then, magically, their ranking got that high.

The key to anything is a very clear picture. The more details, the better.

The easiest way accomplish any goal is to find evidence of your goal being conquered.

For a sport, find out how many kids have reached that level in your city, state, or region. And see yourself (or your student) holding trophies.

For a partner, list out all the reasons why you can end up with them. And see you both at dinner.

If it’s doable, it will be done by you. All self-imposed limits fall away in the face of visual evidence.

Bannister didn’t know the limits of what he could run, and he didn’t care. He only trained minimally before that historic day and spent a lot of his time working as a junior doctor.

But he thought it could be done. He saw it even though no one else did.

And a miracle happened.

To accomplish a goal, find a way to see it clearly.

Doing the impossible is just a picture away.

“Whatever you can hold in your mind on a continuing basis, you can have.” -Brian Tracy

My book is called The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.