Guest Contributor: Jeffrey McWilliams, MD
In the spring of 1954, Roger Bannister triumphed in an epic battle of man versus the elements. Banister, a runner at Oxford trained with a relentless pursuit of breaking the 4-minute mile. This feat had never been accomplished, being deemed impossible by all others. Dedication, commitment and focus paid off on that spring day, when Bannister became immortalized in history as the first man to run a mile in less than 4 minutes. Soon after this accomplishment, two other runners were also able to replicate this amazing feat. A once unheard of accomplishment soon became the measuring stick for success by runners everywhere.
An awesome history lesson, but how does this relate to our lives? What does this have to do with me? In every realm of society, there are standards. There are standards in education, healthcare and economics. In the hospital, we focus on core measures, time to treat and responses to patients’ needs. As individuals, we have unwritten measures on how we treat others based on our social expectations and affiliation with the ancient saying “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Standards are vital for a productive society.
Now I’m not suggesting we just strive harder to meet standards in all walks of life – instead I’m saying let’s take it to the next level. I suggest, like Bannister, we focus on being the standard, not limited by society’s definition or constraints. As parents, spouses and healthcare workers, let us raise the bar of what is expected. We should create the norm. Whether done at home or in the hospital, your influence can create a new standard.
Over the past sixty years, the four-minute mile has been broken many times with 17 seconds shaved off of the 1954 record. What if Bannister had said to himself, “Four minutes? That is crazy! There is no way that is possible!” What if he had not dared to question society’s constraints?
Better yet, what can we accomplish if we dare to strive for excellence? Dare to set the standards.
“If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” – Thomas A. Edison
Dr. Jeffrey McWilliams is the Director of Customer Service at Leading Edge Medical Associates in East Texas. He is a self-proclaimed advocate for changing the world one person at a time – whether it be a hurting patient or a selfless frontline medical warrior. Read more from Dr. McWilliams on http://www.advocatesforexcellence.com