The change didn't come from inside the athletes: they were responding to something outside them. The seventeen runners had received a clear signal—-you can do this too—and the four-minute mark, once an insurmountable wall, was instantly recast as a stepping-stone. This is how ignition works. Where deep practice is a cool, conscious act, ignition is a hot, mysterious burst, an awakening. Where deep practice is an incremental wrapping, ignition works through lightning flashes of image and emotion, evolution-built neural programs that tap into the mind's vast reserves of energy and attention....
Dr. Geoff Cohen of the University of Colorado. “Everything depends on collective effort and cooperation. When we get a cue that we ought to connect our identity with a group, it's like a hair trigger, like turning on a light switch. The ability to achieve is already there, but the energy put into that ability goes through the roof.” Cohen is one of a growing group of psychologists who specialize in uncovering the unconscious mechanisms that quietly govern our choices, motivations, and goals. Officially this area of study is called automaticity,
“When we praise children for their intelligence,” Dweck wrote, “we tell them that's the name of the game: look smart, don't risk making mistakes.”