The Bannister Effect
The most potent example of reframing that I can give you is what's known as the Bannister Effect, and if you've ever read Rye's Superman you've heard this story. So Roger Bannister, first man to break the four minute mile, ran a three minute, 54 second and .9 second mile. People thought it was an absolute impossible. There were op-eds written by doctors in the New York Times that said the first person who runs a four minute mile, forget the ticker tape parade, they're gonna need a hearse at the finish line. (coughs) And it took forever, took forever. If you look at mile times, it dropped like a half a second a decade for 70 years leading up to that four minute mile. But something funky happened. As soon as Roger Bannister ran that four minute mile, then a month, somebody else had run another four minute mile and had broken his time. Within three months, a couple of people had done it. Then five years, a teenager had done it. What the hell is going on, right? Running a four minute mile ...
still requires running a sub four mile. The physical challenge has not changed. All that changed is the frame we built around that challenge. What used to be impossible has become possible. The Bannister Effect is what this is called. This is how researchers refer to this. It means there is extremely tight coupling between our brain and our body. And to break that down, I'm gonna just read this to you so you don't have to read it. I won't do a lot of this today. This is the only long quote, but this is Mike Gervais kind of breaking down the Bannister Effect. "If you wanna understand the Bannister Effect, "you have to understand the brain tells stories. "When most hear about an impossible feat, "our first reaction is: 'Not real, no way, not possible.' "But we have a very strong need to make meaning "out of experience and this new reality forces us "to change our story. "We move to, 'That's crazy, far out, unreal.' "Pretty soon, we accept this new reality "and shift our paradigm further, "and this engages imagination. "We start imagining the impossible as possible. "What does impossible sound like? "What does it feel like? "What does it look like?" Where am I? "And we start to see ourselves "doing the impossible, that is the secret. "There is an extremely tight link "between our visual system and our physiology. "Once we can actually see ourselves doing the impossible, "our chances of pulling it off increase significantly." This is one of the reasons athletes practice visualization so much. Inventors, same thing. They see the impossible is possible, pull themselves towards it. All right, let's answer some questions.
We do have some questions. I want to throw it out to our studio audience first. Any questions on what we touched on in this first module? If you do have one just grab a microphone, yeah in the back?
Get on the mic, Mike (laughs)
Yeah, this is going back to the seven agreements. I was wondering, so as creative types, a lot of times we're somewhat ephemeral, you know, kind of head in the clouds
I don't know what you're talking about. (crowd laughs)
Do you find that in some of those agreements it helps to have partnerships, surround yourself with people, you know, grounding forces, mentors, partners, people to help you with things like having your strategy with learning how to, you know, sharpen your arrows. All of these other things, how much do feel like we rely on other people for those things?
It's a great question, and I think it's got a double-sided answer. The first portion of it is, absolutely. You're gonna need a support network. It's too hard; it's too difficult. You can't go solo as a creative for too long. There will be huge periods of being solo, but you are gonna need other people. Equally important, especially with flow work, especially with the stuff we're talking about today, you have to have your discussions with your partners, with the people you love, ahead of time. Even with your bosses, if you're gonna start doing this. Things are going to change. You're going to need long periods of uninterrupted concentration. You're gonna need to stay in your creative world a lot. You're gonna be difficult to be around sometimes, right? It may be good. You may feel on top of the world, and filled with energy, right? It still may be difficult. Have discussions ahead of time. If you're gonna start increasing the amount of flow in your life, these are high energy states, they will change you. You will start acting differently. You will start living differently, and you start being more creative, you gotta let the people in your life know what's going on, cause otherwise they're going to really start your changing, you're becoming somebody different. What happened to the person I fell in love with kind of thing. That person is going to change and grow, and it's going to happen, if you start applying this stuff we're talking about today, it's gonna happen fast, and they're gonna be big shifts. Have your conversations ahead of time. You need people in your life, but you have to let them know what's going on. Otherwise, bad things are gonna happen. Anybody else?
Jared wants to know specifically what strategies creatives can use to reduce that external stimulus? You mentioned how the external stimulus for creatives can be really intense. Is there anything that people can do to kind of reduce that, any tactics you can give people?
Well, I mean, I, you know curtains, earplugs
Earplugs. Earplugs are big.
In all honesty, like if you look at my office, my office has an amazing view. I've never seen it. (crowd laughs) The curtains are always closed. Gertrude Stein used to say "I love a room with a view. "I just want to sit with my back to it." Reducing stimuli, I mean, you know, when you sleep, put something over your eyes, you know, et cetera, et cetera. You really are gonna want to reduce stimuli sometimes. Anything else Chris?
Yeah, I'll wrap up on this one here. This was from Vera. She had a quote and wants to get your take on it, but she says "They say a poet needs to be hungry "meaning most artists in the past created their best work "while living, while having to earn their living "via their art on the edge of financial survival." I know you kinda started things off with that story in Cleveland, but Vera wants to know "Can you comment on that statement? "Do you believe that, that a poet needs to be "hungry to create good art?"
I think, and there are massive exceptions to this case, but I think being born with a lot of money is a disadvantage for a creative. Struggle is really really really helpful along the way. I think if it's too easy, cause this is too hard. This job is too hard. You have to really want it. You have to ache for it on a daily basis, and if you can do other things, if you have other options, they're gonna, sooner or later, this is gonna be too difficult. So I think the hardest, the hardest, the person in this room who has the biggest bank account right now, you're probably in the worst shape for being a successful creative overtime. It's just the way it is, cause it's just too hard. And if there are other options available, you will sooner or later take them. So, I don't think it's a fundamental, but I do think being born on third base is a tricky way if you really wanna be successful as a creative.