One Way to Gain Navy Seal Mental Toughness

Tough As They Come

In 2015, entrepreneur and current co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks, Jesse Itzler, and six of his friends decided to run a 24 hour, 100 mile relay race in San Diego. Each took a segment of the race. And each came prepared. They had tents, family support, supplies, and even a masseuse. As they started the race, Jesse noticed another man running alone. Where Jesse and his team had split the race into six segments this man was doing the entire thing by himself. He had almost no supplies; all he brought was a folding chair, a bottle of water, and a box of crackers. And the guy was big. Roughly 260 pounds. By the 70 mile mark of the race, the guy had broke all the small bones in both of his feet. And sustained kidney damage. But didn’t stop. He didn’t slow down. He kept going. Jesse was blown away. Who was this guy? What was his secret? The guy was David Goggins, an ex-Navy Seal and one of the most badass men on the planet. And his secret? The 40% Rule.

The 40% Rule

The 40% rule states that when you think you’re done, when you think you’re completely spent and you’ve given everything you have to give, anytime you have this feeling, you’re only 40% of the way there. More importantly is what the converse of this rule implies.

The 60% Rule

The more important converse of this rule is the notion that when we think we’re done, we actually have 60% left to give. Always. It is David’s contention that if we always remember this, we can keep going and push through any work. This goes for work outs, projects, or tests we face. No matter what we always have 60% left in our tank.

So where does this reserve come from? Obviously we don’t have endless physical energy. And just as true, we don’t have endless mental energy either. So, what makes the difference? The answer is our will. The will to complete a task. The will to succeed. This reserve is always there. And if you want it, remains full at all times.

Putting It Into Practice

Life is hard. Life will test you. And at times, life is going to suck. Prepare for it. Expect it. And know, you can overcome it. That’s a Navy Seal attitude. After the race, Jesse asked David to move in with him and train him. The first day Itzler worked with Goggins, the ex-Seal had Itzler do some pull ups. At first, Itzler was able to complete eight. Right away Goggins made him do it again. This time he could only do six. Then again. Just four. It was then that Goggins informed Itzler they were staying until Itzler did 100. It seemed impossible but soon Itzler surprised himself. And pushed through. He did all 100.

According to Itzler, roughly 90% of people who start a marathon finish it. Taking into account how difficult it is to complete a marathon, it’s astounding that this number is so high. Why is this? The number of people who reach the marathon’s finish line is so high for the same reason they reach the marathon’s starting line: they have a will to get there. And are prepared to push through. It could then be said that it’s harder to reach a marathon’s starting line than it is to reach the finish line. This is what set the people who run the race apart from the ones who stand along the sides of the road cheering them on. It’s their will to achieve.

Don’t Forget It

So the next time you start into something demanding, whether it’s a work project or just an exercise, remember: when the going gets tough, and you feel like you want to give up, you still have 60% left to give. Remember this, and you’ll be astonished by how much you’re able to achieve.