Teaching Children The 40% Rule

Our bodies are capable of much more than we think. I know this because I went through 6 weeks of daily radiotherapy and chemo.

Okay, if you have a medical problem you can’t magic yourself better but you have to show remarkable resilience to get through treatment. Put simply, it’s easy to say you’ve had enough, say you are tired and throw in the towel. But there is a choice – you can dig deeper and overcome if you find that inner warrior.

For me giving up is not an option and I am reminded of the story told by Jesse Itzler about former Navy SEAL David Goggins and his 40% rule. Jesse invited David to live with him and his family for 31 days, during which he would do anything the Navy SEAL commanded. Jesse said,

He would say that when your mind is telling you you’re done, you’re really only 40 percent done. And he had a motto: If it doesn’t suck we don’t do it. And that was his way of forcing us to get uncomfortable to figure out what our baseline was and what our comfort level was and just turning it upside-down.

David Goggins has written about his experiences and his mindset in Can’t Hurt Me, and talks about pushing past your normal stopping point, take command of your inner dialogue and keep fighting. There is another 60% we can tap into in moments of exhaustion and adversity.

Now isn’t that a philosophy worth sharing with children and colleagues? If we feel like giving up in whatever area of life we are engaged in, then we can make that decision to challenge ourselves and push ourselves a little bit further and in some cases, a lot further.


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