The 40% Rule

share this post

spot-862274_1920Maybe you’ve heard of something the Navy SEALs call “the 40% Rule”.

It goes something like this: the moment that your brain tells you that you’ve had enough, you’re actually at only forty percent of your capacity. You’ve got sixty percent more to give to whatever endeavor that you’re doing. They apply this rule to all the physical endeavors we undertake, and it applies when it comes to Martial Arts training also.

Here’s what it means for us…

In the summertime, the moment that your body says that you’re hot in class, you’ve got 60%  more heat that you could withstand. The moment that your mind tells you you’re really frustrated with this, you’ve got 60% more answers to give the problem.

And this is what I found about it in “the real world”…

When I ran the marathon in ’04, I was sure that I was well-prepared. I was heading into the race having trained properly, plus I resting and eating well. You may know that they say there’s a “wall” you hit at mile 16, where your body tries to shut down. I thought I was going to climb the wall, not hit it. But hit it I did.

And I kept going…somehow.

What got me to the finish line was that “other” 60%. I thought the tank was empty, but it turns out I was only down 40%.

If you really think about it, there’s another, more interesting – and complex and difficult – side of this 40% Rule. What about when it comes to our relationships? What about all the energy we put into our emotional endeavors?

My experience is this: the minute your best friends do something to make you mad, you’ve actually got 60% more patience for them. The minute you’re frustrated by some moronic thing that a family member said, you’ve got 60% more understanding for them. The minute someone violates your expectations, you’ve got 60% more compassion for them.

This is a powerful concept for us. It’s a gauge with which to measure how much more we could give to a situation, whether that be in the classroom or in a relationship or anywhere else in our everyday lives.

The applications are all around. Start looking for them now. The possibilities for your productivity and problem-solving just became greater because you know about this. It’s exciting stuff.


For more about our larger project of cooperative Jiu-Jitsu and martial arts training, visit the Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Brooklyn BJJ) website here.

Share This:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *