Recently I learned about something called the 40% Rule, used by the US Navy Seals to push themselves through the toughest of physical challenges.
The rule states that when you feel you have reached your limit; when your body is screaming at you to stop and rest, or your muscles are burning like a furnace – you are only at 40%. And that is not 40% you have left: But just 40% into your reserves of energy, strength and mental resilience with another 60% still to give before you actually collapse.
This is not a number the hardcore, elite unit simply invented as a belief system to overcome. Instead, it was discovered through scientific, medically controlled experimentation under gymnasium conditions. It appears that the human body sends a little warning far earlier than we need.
Much like the petrol warning light gives you 50 miles notice, your council tax letter lays out the entire cost a year ahead, and your tummy rumbles long before you are going to starve to death – we get a 40% warning.
But knowledge is power, and understanding what the sign means is one of the things that gives the Navy Seals their edge.
You’ve come this far: Keep on keeping on
This time last year, lots of people were eulogising 2020-Vision and encouraging each other to set out clear goals for success – come what may. That didn’t turn out quite like any of us planned. But what is more sure than the romantic view of a future that never appeared is the 40% Rule.
If you have survived all the mental, physical, financial and disruptive challenges of 2020, it is sure that you can thrive as things get back to normal – come what may. If you are thinking, but I am beat, on my hands and knees, or at the end of the line, don’t give up.
Let me put it to you that you are probably only at 40% of your strength and have a lot of fight left in the tank.
One of the most tragic things you regularly hear in accident reports is how the person involved died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. I believe this happens because people give up their fight when they perceive someone else is there to help them.
Did you know that 100m sprinters train to run 110m at their maximum speed to avoid slowing down at the end?
Retailers always order more stock than they expect to sell because returns are cheaper than unfulfilled sales, and even precision engineers factor tolerances for error.
My point is that we must keep going to get through to a better future.
The news of a vaccine is good news for sure, and even the negativity-obsessed media are talking up hope for a return to a new kind of freedom and normal.
But, make sure you don’t take your foot off the strong and resilient mindset pedal. Maintaining the inner strengths, innovative ideas and community spirit that we have all discovered over the last nine months will ensure 2021’s best chance of success.
The hard yards are the most valuable ones
At Progressive Sports, in our roles as sports coaches, we are very well aware of the benefits of the those extra few push-ups or laps of the pitch. Alongside the knowledge that you can keep going for longer than you think possible, sports science also tells us that those last few repetitions or extra miles are the most beneficial ones for our health, strength and fitness in the long run.
So, whatever you feel as we close the door on what has been a horrible and challenging year for most of us, let’s make sure we keep going and find renewed extra strength and self-belief in the next one.