Be Limitless: Embracing The 40% Rule

the 40% rule

Be Limitless: Embracing The 40% Rule

The widely populated theory that humans only use 10 percent of their brain’s capability has been debunked as a myth by scientists.

The belief that large parts of the human brain remain unused and can be stimulated lives only in myths and legend; not in science.

However, here’s something you can bank on: the 40 percent rule to mental strength.

In his book, “Living With A Seal” , Marquis Jet founder Jesse Itzler tells the story of how he learnt about the 40% rule of mental toughness from spending 31 days with a Navy Seal.

In the space of time, Jesse Itzler writes, he would do anything he was asked of.

It was a gruelling process of training under very harsh conditions like snowstorms and frozen lakes under the tutelage of a navy seal he met while running a 100 mile 6-person relay race.

Get this: this 260-pound man with a kidney problem and broken bones in his feet was running this 6-person relay all by himself.


The 40 percent rule.


The 40 percent rule was first coined by David Goggins, an ex-Navy Seal.

He explains that when you’re carrying out a physical or mental exercise and you begin to feel tired and ready to give up, it is an indication that you’ve only covered 40 percent of what you are capable of doing.

It means that the ability of our mind or our bodies to prevail over difficult or stressful situations is all in the mindset, not our abilities.

Generally, the human brain creates mental and physical boundaries to protect us from situations that could be potentially harmful or dangerous.

It does this by instinctively making you tired or creating limiting scenarios for you.

He explains that your brain knows you and all your limitations and is always looking to protect you hence it will try to stop you when it perceives you could be reaching a pre-conceived breaking point.

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The 40% rule as previously explained is a limitation placed on your abilities by the human brain, if you seek to break the limitations then you must build mental and physical strength.

Here’s how.

1. Remove Negative Thoughts

Like earlier established, our brains in a bid to protect us will create limitations mentally and physically. The first step to mental toughness is to limit negative thoughts.

You have to learn to move your focus from negativity to building a positive mindset and dwelling on the positivity as your fuel.

You need to put a lid on overthinking and focus your energy on what is possible as opposed to what can stop it from being achievable.

2. Leave Your Comfort Zone

Wikipedia defines a comfort zone as “a psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person and they are at ease and (perceive they are) in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress.”

What is to be noted about comfort zones is that they require a specific level of impact and productivity and nothing more.

While most people can survive in a comfort zone, they do not strive or improve productivity or even become successful.

To make the 40 percent rule work for you, you have to be willing to break out of your comfort zone.

As an exercise;

  • start by trying out new things for a different outcome.
  • persevere in difficult circumstances and persevere without over-applying yourself
  • do things that scare you and overcome your limitations.

Do not stay comfortable in your comfort zone.

Conquer Your Fears — 6 Ways of Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

3. Find Your Motivation

One thing about stepping out of your comfort zone is that you will find yourself in difficult situations and waning to just step out of your comfort zone is simply not enough to keep you going or build mental toughness.

However, when you are motivated by a specific goal it serves as the fuel to keep you going.

So, determine what your goal is and allow it to motivate you.

What is the underlying motivation for this path?

Are you looking to hit a body goal? Raise money for a project? Improve your earning potential? Buy a new car? Get a new mentor?

You need to figure out your motivation and allow it to guide you through difficult times.

4. Build Willpower

While knowing your motivation is valuable, it sometimes cannot keep you going. Some days you wake up and simply cannot move from point A to point B, this is where strong willpower comes into place.

Willpower refers to a strong ability to stay determined and control yourself in tough situations. Building willpower and discipline is going to keep you on your path and serve as our accountability partner when the time comes.

A good way to ensure determination and willpower is at an all-time high is to build routines and habits. Create a schedule with activities that can be repeated and measured for success.

The way to do this is to break down the big task into small actionable assignments and measure your progress as you go.

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5. Motivate Yourself and Stay Up

Know this, life is going to throw you curveballs. You could follow all the rules listed in this guide and you will still meet unexpected circumstances, and this is when you need to motivate yourself.

You will hit a few failures on the way and you might encounter a whole mountain of ‘NOs’ but you need to keep your eye on the prize, motivate yourself and never give up.

A good thing to do in these circumstances is to speak to your Mentor Africa Foundation mentor to guide you on the best possible routes.

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