A Navy SEAL's 40% Rule

PMI Mile-Hi Chapter

Over the past 10 years, Chris Cook has spent his career in the construction industry. He has a Bachelor's of Science in Industrial Technology Management with an emphasis in Building Construction Management and Master's of Science in Project Management. He is an accredited PMP. Follow more of Chris's insights at his blog EntrePMeur.

“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 every day forcing us to get uncomfortable to figure out what our baseline was and what our comfort level was and just turning it upside down. We all have that will. It’s just a matter of how we apply it not just to the once-a-year marathon, but to a variety of things in our daily lives.”
– Jesse Itzler, Living With a Seal: 31 Days Training With the Toughest Man on the Planet

Most people who start marathons finish the race. Also, most marathon runners experience a feeling of “hitting the wall,” where all mental resources are exhausted. So how does one hit a wall yet continue to finish? It’s the physical will to persevere that is in each one of us.

As described in the above story, people begin to quit at 40 percent of their ability. A human’s reserve tank possesses far more fuel than given credit. This mindset is mostly applied to physical exercise. We witness individuals lifting heavy weights or running long distances and think to ourselves, “How can someone do that?”

In gymnastics, routines have a maximum score. A difficult routine will start as close to that score as possible, then deductions are taken from …

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