“When you think you are done, you are only at 40% of what your body is capable of doing. That’s just the limit we put on ourselves.” —NAVY SEAL
This is a great quote and concept used by the Navy Seals referred to as The 40% Rule. It is pretty self explanatory and easy to understand, but it is rarely used by everyday folks. Have you ever seen someone close to the end of a 5K race, walk across the finish line? How about the person pumping iron in the weight room who is aiming for 8 reps but only did 7. The 7th rep was kinda tough and you felt like they could have squeezed one more out. This tends to happen all the time.
Why Most Stop Short
I am not 100% sure why most people will stop short of what they are trying to do. But if I had to guess, I would refer to that old saying, “You don’t want it bad enough.” Or as Simon Sinek would say, “It starts with your ‘why’.” We have to have a reason to want to see something through, to push hard towards the end. If we don’t have a strong enough “why”, we will never follow through on pushing ourselves harder. If you find yourself stopping short most of the time, ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing to begin with. If that is not reason enough, then you need a better reason. You need a better “why.”
How To Use The 40% Rule
I tend to use The 40% Rule when I am either running or lifting weights. I have read this quote so many times, that now when I feel like I am hitting a wall, this rule just jumps into my mind. It gives me the power to say, I can do at least one more rep or I can run this 5K race without walking. Whenever I am in the home stretch of a 5K race, I am always sprinting as hard as I can through the finish line. I put it all out there and, when I feel like stopping, I say to myself, “You are only at 40% right now. You have more!!!”
Make It Automatic
It may be hard to remember the rule and have it come to mind automatically. In order to make it automatic, repeat the rule for one minute each day until it becomes automatic. It shouldn’t take more than a week or two to engrain this in your mind. When you are repeating it, either in your head or out loud, envision yourself hitting your max and pushing through. Envision using The 40% Rule to push through to higher levels. This is how we grow. We need to get out of our comfort zone and push a bit more. You can do that by believing, when you are at your max, that you are only at 40% of what you are capable of.
I know The 40% Rule can be easier said than done. When we feel like we are maxed out, we think we have done our best and stop. This is where we need to challenge ourselves to do just a bit more. It tells us that we have to hold out a bit longer, push a bit harder, and finish a bit stronger. Don’t settle for what you feel is your max. Push through that max by remembering The 40% Rule and use it to help you squeak out at least one or two more reps. Use it to help step on the gas a bit on the last mile of that race and really use it to turn on the after burners when heading down the home stretch. We don’t get stronger by reaching our perceived max and stopping. We get stronger by pushing past that max every chance we get.