Is Human Potential Contagious?

How is it possible that humans keep breaking world records and when, if ever, will this stop? Surely the fellow who started the ‘Guniess Book of Records’ saw his business as a small 10 year investment documenting the records in human achievement. Today, I’m sure that the 2016 volume is already out-of-date and the guy’s probably rich. Is this simply human evolution – getting faster, stronger, smarter, or is it one person’s potential affecting our collective consciousness by causing us to psychologically ‘lift the bar’ in our own mind and re-define our notions and beliefs of our own potential?

Look at ‘The 4 minute Mile’. In all of human history prior to 1954, no one had ever run a mile under 4 minutes (that’s a LOT of years – and us humans have been running for a while!). In the 1940’s the record was almost hit as someone ran the mile in 4 minutes and 1 second, but it stagnated just there for 9 years and the consensus was that it was impossible for humans to achieve a mile under 4 minutes.

On May 6, 1964 a very fast gentlemen by the name of Roger Bannister finally broke the record. Less than one year after this, someone else broke the record, and then a wave of several others followed in the years after that, to the point where the four-minute-mile is now considered the standard of professional runners.

Why is it, that as soon as Bannister broke the record, several others swiftly followed. It’s as if the perception of human potential that it could not be achieved at the time, affected the actual potential of humans to break that record. The belief that it was not within our reach became a self-fulfilling prophecy, infecting our minds and eating away at our arbitrary perception of human potential – in this case, speed.

I find this story interesting as I really do believe our potential is based on our belief as to what that potential is – and that limiting thoughts, beliefs and dogmas are dangerous and self-limiting and cause people to live their lives without ever reaching their full potential.  Our minds are incredibly powerful in controlling the physical world around us and what we’re capable of doing. Bannister himself credited breaking the record to visualising it in his mind first. Studies show us that when such visualisation happens, it activates the brain in the same way that physically doing the visualised activity does. For example, runners who visualise running has shown to activate the same neural networks in the brain that are active when one actually runs a race, using all the associated muscles in their legs etc. Imagine what we could achieve if we all broke the shackles of perception of human potential – nothing would be impossible.

Thinking about all this has me pondering:

Is potential contagious?

I think yes. The fact that breakthroughs in sports, medicine, science and even crossword puzzles (I’ll get to that in a moment) are usually followed by a series of breakthroughs leads me to think… there’s some connection that either; 1. someone else’s breakthrough allows us to realise our own potential which dismantles any previous barriers of self-doubt and re-wires the mind knowing that ‘it can be done’ which then has a flow on effect to brilliant results. Or, 2. there is a collective consciousness, and energy that we share and just like a buzz on a new topic in the Twitter-sphere, there’s also a buzz in the universe where as humans we progress together.

There was an experiment done by a man with a very un-scientific name of Rupert. This experiment was done with the London evening crossword. Two groups of people were given the crossword to solve in isolation. The group who were given the crossword days after it had been published – after tens of thousands of people had already solved it – found it much easier to solve and did so in a quicker time… As is the knowledge was already there – somewhere in the universe, in our collective psyche! Does this mean that somehow new knowledge or potential – even if it’s just answers to London’s crossword – somehow spread across the collective human consciousness and effects anyone in-tune with it?

Just like animals pick up on a natural disasters hours before they happen and leave the area – perhaps we as humans also share collective psyches and can sense collective knowledge and potential. Rupert calls this morphic resonance which asserts that “memory is inherent in nature”.

Perhaps human evolution is not just about humans adapting to the environment, but also adapting to each others potential?

Food for thought?

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