Sometimes not knowing you can’t is the best thing for you.
How many times have we been told we can’t do this or that? How many times have stopped only because we’ve been told it’s not possible? How many opportunities have we missed because we didn’t think we could do it? We’ll today I’m going to share with you the story of Cliff Young and the power of ignoring the “it’s not possible” advice.
In 1983 Cliff Young showed up to run a 543.7-mile (875-kilometer) endurance race from Sydney to Melbourne in Australia that takes place over 5 days. Being such a grueling race, you’ll generally only find world class athletes competing in it. But not in 1983. Cliff, then 61 years old, initially showed up for the race in overalls and boots to compete.
As you can imagine Cliff gathered a lot of attention before the race started. Most of it pretty negative. They told him, “You’re crazy, there’s no way you can finish this race.” To which he replied, “Yes I can.” and continued to give an explanation of why when he was younger he would run for 2-3 days at a time and round up as many as 2000 sheep over 2000 acres.
Still no one believed him. He did get attention because, well, you have to admit, it sounds like lunacy. How could this 61 year old man initially dressed in overalls and boots run a 5 day grueling race against world class athletes?
And then the race began. As you’d expect, the athletes quickly left Cliff in the dust. Not only that, but he didn’t exactly have the best running form. There was even some fear going around that he would hurt himself. But on the race went.
Now, before we go on, the common strategy for running this race by the world class athletes is to run 18 hours a day and sleep 6 hours at night. This way they can stay alert and keep running.
Not so for our friend Cliff. When he said he use to round up sheep for 2-3 days, he meant 2-3 days straight. Straight through the day and night that is. So instead of sleeping like the world class athletes, Cliff did the impossible. He ran through the night. He never really stopped (except to eat and some other basic necessities). He just kept going. He believed it was possible even though everyone else told him it was impossible.
Of course Cliff didn’t run as fast as the world class athletes, but he ran 24 hours a day for 5 days. If you do the math, running an extra 6 hours a day over 5 days adds up to a lot of time. It adds up to an additional 30 hours of running. And this gave Cliff a big advantage.
Not only did he finish the race, he won it!! And not by a slim margin. He broke the course record by 9 hours! Yes a full 9 hours. He crushed his competition.
So if someone tells you it’s not possible, just think of our friend Cliff before you resign yourself and give up. Think: What would Cliff do?