“Fact: 99 percent of people who start marathons finish them… the real lesson, according to entrepreneur and endurance athlete Jesse Itzler, “is that we have so much more in our reserve tank than we think we do.” – Jessica Stillman
EXPLORE | The 40% Rule
Jesse Itzler invited a Navy SEAL to come and stay with his family for a month, which is how he became aware of the ‘40% rule’. He was first introduced to this SEAL during a 100-mile race, and his initial interest was to understand the secret to mental toughness. Itzler was running the race as part of a relay team, while the SEAL was running the race–alone.
It’s the stuff that movies are made of. Digging deep to find that ‘extra’ you didn’t know you had, to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. If anyone would know what that is like, it would be a SEAL. Even in my prime as an athlete, I still don’t think the odds too great of finishing a day of the kind of training our military goes through. But how does this apply to us as we care for families, employers, and churches?
Itzler described the 40% rule as what remains when you’re mind is telling you you’re done.
“It turns out that the 40 percent rule is why so many people are able to finish marathons. When you hit that wall, you’re really only 40 percent through your stores of energy and determination. When your body complains, your will still has a lot to give. And as the success rate of runners makes clear, that’s true of just about everyone.”
EXECUTE | Don’t Give Up, But Know When To Stop
There are at least two considerations here. First, we do need to keep in mind that we probably have more to give than we’re willing to admit. But on the other end, we also need to know our limits. When I first read ‘40% remaining’, I thought that kind of high, did you? Feeling like you want to quit after only giving 60% seems a little wimpy. I know I would have never admitted to my hockey coach that I wanted to quit after having given only 60%! What happened to ‘leaving it all on the field/rink/ring/arena’?
Consideration 1: Don’t believe yourself the first time your mind or body tells you to give up or stop (barring any health reasons of course). You have some left. According to this SEAL, about 40% left. You’re not done. One motivation for me to keep going, if my family or the need isn’t enough impetus, all I need to do is look at the number of people facing far greater difficulties, most of which they battle on a daily basis, and it makes the little bump in my day or week seem almost unworthy of being a real reason to give up. I am reminded of the ant in Proverbs 6:6. If anyone has a reason to quit, it’s an ant. The comparison is to a lazy person, but his methodical, intentional, and continuous effort against all odds (everything is bigger than he is, stronger, faster–geesh).
Consideration 2: Know your limits. Have you ever bonked? It happens to runners/endurance athletes. They run until they ‘hit the wall’ and simply can’t go on (unless a king-sized snickers bar is close by). I guess the upside is that you know you’ve given all you have. Though there are probably gentler ways to find your limits, knowing what you’re capable of can also give you a clearer perspective on how far to push yourself. You of course don’t want to push yourself too far, but you if don’t know how far to push, you may be giving up too soon.
[Original article: a Navy Seal’s secret for pushing yourself way beyond your supposed limits]