Courage Discipline Dreams Mindset Performance

Who says you can’t?

Our body (and mind) are capable of a lot more than we think.

There’s a 40% rule.

It’s been out there already for a long time, but I only heard about the 40% rule last week.

It comes out of a book about navy seals. I’m not a fan of navy seals, so books about navy seals don’t interest me that much.

When I think about navy seals, I imagine tough guys in the army, and then I can’t help to think about Jack Nicholson.

“You can’t handle the truth.”

That was another story that you can read here.

Back to 40% and the book.

The book is called ‘living with a navy seal’ in which the author, Jesse Itzler, describes how he decided to hire a navy seal for a month to live with him and his family.

I haven’t read the book, so I can’t answer the following question:

Why would somebody hire a navy seal for a month?

Because your family needs a little mental toughness?

Because your kids don’t do their homework?

Because your partner is the one who makes the calls?

Because the dog is whining all the time?

Because you’re tired of brushing your teeth twice a day?


Maybe I should read the book to get the answers. Perhaps I’ll be surprised and learn something. I mostly do.

My guess is the guy did it to be able to write a book about it.

I’m considering inviting Putin and Trump for a month to my house, but I doubt they would accept.

Plus, our village would not be able to handle all the media. But you’ll agree that it would be an exciting book.

I digress.

So what’s the 40% rule?

Here’s what I found online in a Forbes article:

The 40% rule is simple: When your mind is telling you that you’re done, that you’re exhausted, that you cannot possibly go any further, you’re only actually 40% done.

Forbes Magazine

The message is clear.

Our body (and mind) can do a lot more than we think they can.

I’ve been aware of that for many years but experienced it most vividly when I ran the New York City marathon in 2009.

When I was about 25k into the race, I had to run north through Manhattan towards Harlem up 1st Avenue for about 6.5k, slightly uphill, and into a significant wind.

That’s the part of the race I remember most. Because the avenue never seemed to come to an end.

The final stretch of the race when you enter Central Park is challenging, but then you’re almost there. Plus, the crowds help you move forward. Your mind is ok at that point.

Those 6.5k on 1st. Avenue were the biggest test for my mind.

It never felt that I was done only 40%, but apparently, I was.

Here’s why I put this title above today’s insight.

We often deal with people around us who tell us we can’t do something.

People who talk us out of our dreams and keep us on our path to boredom, predictability, and oblivion.

The biggest obstacle in living our dreams are we.

We often find the reasons ourselves why we can’t do something, why something won’t work, or why now is not the right time.

We’re telling ourselves those stories.

So next time, start by looking in the mirror. You’re only achieving 40% of what you can achieve. Says the book.

Your turn: Who says you can’t?

Do more of what makes you happy!


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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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