For decades, athletes sought to break the four-minute mile. Sports writers wrote off this potential feat, claiming that human athletic prowess had reached its zenith. Then along came an Englishman, Dr. Roger Bannister, and without realizing it, propelled human potential to dizzier heights. He also heralded the mind-over-body movement that continues to dominate current thinking about wellness, success, and personal achievement.

Not only did Dr. Bannister run the first official sub four-minute mile, but he spawned a host of runners who quickly emulated his success and went beyond it. In quick succession, John Landy from Australia surpassed Bannister's time, only to see another Australian, Herb Elliot, better this, and then there was no stopping it. The self-imposed boundary had been truly breached in a period of a few short years — a speed barrier that had held for over a century. Today's American runners make the Elliots and Landys look positively sluggish.

There are several plausible and perhaps compatible explanations. The first is that barriers and boundaries of achievement, be these of mind or body, are self fulfilling prophecies. To the extent that we believe something is possible, this sets our self-imposed limits. If we do not believe in success at the exam, interview, problem solving, we will invariably live up to these negative beliefs. The result is stunted growth.

By choosing to believe in our infinite potential — the capacity to achieve more, and succeed further — our boundaries are pushed outwards, and the sky is the limit. When other runners realized that the sub four-minute mile was clearly achievable, they began to believe in their own enlarged capacities — a belief that drove them beyond their previously self-imposed limits. Hence the spate of successes that stole the headlines on the heels of Bannister's accomplishment.

Another explanation draws from the eminent social psychologist, Sheldrake, who postulated in quite different studies, that whenever success takes place, a subliminal message is "sent through the ether of space". This message creates a subconscious awareness in others who can then draw from the success — almost a spiritual construct. Whether Landy, Elliot, or others chose to believe in themselves, or drew their capacities from a "Jungian-like collective unconsciousness" is an open question.

The Kabbalists teach that we possess a level of potential called bechol me'odecha ("with all your infinity"). This level transcends the levels of bechol levavecha ("with all your passions") and bechol nafshecha ("with all your spiritual capacity"). It draws from our infinite potential — the spiritual umbilical cord that connects each one of us to the infinite potential of Creation itself. If we draw from this inner source, there is absolutely nothing that can stand as an obstacle to our dreams, hopes, and aspirations. The key lies in belief in one's inner infinity, and to draw from the spiritual space in which all possibilities reside simultaneously.

MASTERY: Take time to think about your own self-imposed limits. These may have to do with life achievements, or happiness and fulfillment, or success in the world of profession or business. Rethink the possibility of breaking out of these limits. The best way may be to use others' successes as inspirational examples. Read books and articles that demonstrate what self-belief and commitment to new goals can achieve. We have the capacities to surpass all our crippling self- imposed limits.

MEDITATION: Focus on a specific goal that you want to achieve but have been held back by a sense of inadequacy. Consider in depth what it would take for that goal to be achieved. Create a vision of a strategy of success. Revisit this vision frequently, and at least each morning and just before you go to sleep. Keep embellishing the strategy in your mind and literally see yourself successful at each step. The important thing is to utilise your inner eye deeply and profoundly. Create the template within and the reality will appear without.

Follow-up Resource: The Healing Light - Ohr HaShem Meditation and Activating Your Higher Self (audio) available at Rabbi Wolf's Website (see link below).