“Only those who will risk going too far can find out how far one can go.” – TS Eliot
I just saw a video of Jesse Itzler on Big Think and he spoke of his experience with Navy Seal David Goggins.
For those of you that don’t know who Jesse Itzler is, he is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Marquis Jet. He is also an author that writes about how he mixed his life up by living with a SEAL for 31 Days.
The story of how Itzler first “encountered” Goggins is pretty mind-blowing. Itzler was running a 100-mile race as part of a six-man relay team. Goggins was simply running the race alone. He was a 260 pound, ripped to shreds, gorilla of a man running a 100-mile relay race, alone.
Itzler chose to conduct a 31-day experiment because his life had become stagnant, boring, and routine. In those 31 days living with a SEAL, he learned a valuable lesson in how Navy Seals and other elite forces get through tough challenges.
The lesson is borne out of the crucible of the Navy SEAL selection process. BUDs (and its famous Hell Week) for the SEALs, the Qualification (or simply “Q”) Course for Army Special Forces, and Ranger School for many others of the Army’s elite. I would even consider the US Army Sapper School as a solid crucible for building resilience.
The selection process weeds out those unfit, physically and mentally, for the demands of serving in an elite unit.
THE 40% RULE TO OVERCOME MENTAL LIMITS
The 40% Rule is simple. When your body is exhausted and you feel like you can no longer continue to push, when you think you have reached your absolute physical limit, you haven’t.
You have really only used 40% of your total potential. There is still a hidden reservoir of energy and that energy consist of 60% of what you are actually capable of giving.
This idea doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.
Most of what you have in you will remain unused. Your body will tell you to stop, to save it for later, and to play it safe.
The hard part of this realization is the question of how does someone push past this perceived limit. How is it possible to tap into that reservoir of energy when your body is hellbent on shutting itself down?
That’s why a crucible must exist. A test, challenge, or event, that pushes you to that limit and forces you to get over it.
Mark Divine, a former Navy Seal Commander, bases his entire SealFit program on this idea. For Itzler, it is 100-mile races and his 31-day experiment.
Once you learn to get to that 40% and push past it, it becomes a weapon that can be used over and over again.
When something appears to be tough or difficult, you can always refer to that point in your life when it was 10x more miserable; the crux that you overcame.
Your reference point for “comfort” and “tough” will forever be reset. A quote from the video resonated with me:
About 99 percent of the people who start marathons in the United States finish them. That’s an astoundingly high number considering the pain and turmoil that every marathon runner faces. What each runner has in common, says author Jesse Itzler, is that they hit a wall where their mental resources are exhausted. At this point, sheer physical will maintains their strength — and this is the will that everyone has, but we seldom know how to tap into it.
The video from Big Think can be found here.