What is The Bannister Effect??

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

It's the phenomenon of one person showing others that something thought impossible could be done and, thus, prompting others to believe and achieve.

If you want to understand the Bannister effect, you have to understand that the brain tells stories.

When most hear about an impossible feat— like the sub-four-minute mile— our first reaction is: ‘Not real, no way, not possible.’ But we have a 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 feel like, sound like, look like. And then we start to be able to see ourselves doing the impossible— that’s the secret… . . . .




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