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Navy SEAL Has a '40 Percent Rule' And It's the Key to Overcoming Mental Barriers

Published on Nov 27, 2015
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.
Itzler's way to break through his own mental barriers was to invite a Navy SEAL to live with him and his family for a month. First item on the agenda? Doing over 100 pull-ups. The lesson wasn't about physical fitness, but about mental fitness and how we each have an unused reservoir of strength and determination inside of us.
Itzler is the author of Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet and/or his site
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Transcript - I first met SEAL at a 100 mile run in San Diego and I was running this race as part of a six person relay team with friends and he was running the entire race by himself. And the run was unsupported so you have to bring your own supplies. So we had, you know, we overdid it a little bit. We had a tent and we had masseuses and food. I mean we were ready for like in case we had to stay there a week. And he had a folding chair, a bottle of water and a bag of crackers. And I just thought to myself like who is this guy. I’ve never seen anything like it. And during the race I kept an eye on him and around mile 70 he weighed probably 260 pounds which is quite large for an ultra runner. He had broken all the small bones in both of his feet and had kidney damage and he finished the race. So when it was done I Googled him. He had a fascinating life story and I decided literally to cold call him. And I flew out and met with him and after sitting with him for a couple of minutes I realized that I could learn so much from a guy like this that what makes him tick and various buckets in my life would be so much better if a little bit of what he had rubbed off on me. I asked him to come live with my family and I for a month. So at the time that I invited SEAL to come live with us I had an 18-month-old son. I was married, still am. Two more kids since. And I had sold a couple of businesses. I was in a great place professionally in my life but I was also in a routine. And routines are great but they can also be a rut. And I found that I just wasn’t getting better. I was doing the same thing every day like so many of us. Wake up, go to work, come home, you know, have dinner, repeat. And I just wanted to get off autopilot. And I thought that he would be a great way to get in good shape but also to just mix up my routine and get better.
The first day that SEAL came to live with me he asked me to do - he said how many pullups can you do? And I’m not great at pullups. I did about eight. Just getting over the bar eight. And he said all right. Take 30 seconds and do it again. So 30 seconds later I got up on the bar and I did six, struggling. And he said all right, one more time. We waited 30 seconds and I barely got three or four and I was done. I mean couldn’t move my arms done. And he said all right. We’re not leaving here until you do 100 more. And I thought there’s no - well we’re going to be here for quite a long time because there’s no way that I could do 100. But I ended up doing it one at a time and he showed me, proved to me right there that there was so much more, we’re all capable of so much more than we think we are. And it was just a great lesson. It was actually the first thing that we did. It was just a great lesson that we have so much more in our reserve tank than we think we do. One of the things that SEAL said to me and it’s in the book and one thing that people have said that really resonated with them. 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. The 40 percent rule maybe it’s give or take a little but look at a marathon. Most people hit the wall in a marathon at mile anywhere from 16 t0 20. And, you know, 99 percent of the people in this country that run marathons finish and they all, predominantly all of them go through this hit the wall. So where does that extra 50 or 60 percent or whatever the number is come from? I mean it’s their brain saying I’m done, I don’t want to continue but their will saying you know what?


  • David Goggins?

  • Wanted a better job, willpower gave it to me basically.

  • Fuckin Goggins

  • David Goggins? Haha

  • came here to comment about the seal banging this guy's wife. read the comments and realized I don't have original thoughts anymore

  • Sounds like David Goggins

  • ‘60% of the time, it works every time...’

  • He is taking about David goggins

  • He’s talking about David Goggins isn’t he

  • 99% of people in America who start marathons finish them? Ah, I think you better check that stat.

  • I came to hear the 40 percent rule not your life story

  • My phone is at 39%

  • 16 to 20 miles??????????? I can nearly do 1.5 in 9.5min and I KNOW I'm D0ne.

  • soy

  • Maxing out on squats. Me: “Man I barely got 350” Seal: “That’s only 40%” *Continues to put another 525 lbs on bar* My spine: *L I T E R A L L Y S N A P S*

  • David Goggins?

  • This is fucking stupid thanks

  • 260 pounds? Hes a monster

  • It's so lame how he refers to him as seal. Just say his name

  • Sounds like David Goggins

  • David *motherfucking* goggins

  • His name is David Goggins, who da fook is seal?

  • David goggins

  • *Passes out*

  • David Goggins for everyone who wants to know who the seal was

  • if you push too hard in workouts you will harm your body.

  • Came to find out this 40 percent rule and had to hear this guys entire life story shut the fuck up dude your annoying get to the point

  • Automatically knew it was david goggins

  • Well this 50 or 60 percent are for emergency a seal is doing that during the selection days and sometimes in the training afterwards.....and later on in fight if it is necessary but if you do that the whole time you will have some serious health problems simple as that. The main thing is that you are able to do more than you think in any situation in your life BUT if you do it the whole time it will have an impact on your life physical or psychological and not a good one.

  • Boy I wish I could pull that 40% everytime I struggle

  • He reminds me of snoke.....

  • Using the same principle for gaming and youtube. I know its not even funny

  • I’m pretty sure the seal was David Goggins. Makes sense the dude is crazy

  • Are you talking about A seal as in a navy seal or "seal" the musician?

  • Goggins

  • The SEAL dude is David Goggins.

  • White trash with writing skills

  • Wow, so Goku has so much more forms left

  • So basically this guy got an American Alfred Pennyworth

  • David goggins

  • This has to be David Goggins!

  • To be totally honest, this was a pretty bad. Total waste of time.

  • Guys, what do you think about this adage I just created from the video? "No pain, no gain." Pretty good, right?

  • Life's tough when you have an IQ under 85..... try being bad at literally everything you do. You'll want to kill yourself to.

    • ForOne814 your wrong. We can think just not well. I have a real hard time visualizing anything in my head. Everything needs to be laid out in front of me. Pretty much makes everything you do hard. I'm smart enough to know I'm dumb. It's depressing.

    • Actually life is pretty good when you have such a low IQ. You just don't think. Literally.

  • @1:41 Grab your brush and put a little makeup?

  • His name is David Goggins. Look him up

  • 40% done sounds reasonable if 100% done means being dead

  • Goggins

  • This makes me want to do 300 pushups on my next day off

  • Kamaru usman does fine at just 30 percent

  • So when you beat your dick and you think an hour was enough you’re only 40% in. Very nice.

  • He was david goggins

  • David MFing Goggins!


  • David Goggins ! :)

  • I have applied this to great effect in gaming..........

  • I dunno bout breaking all of your small bones and damaging your kidney though. That sounds like a 140% to me.

  • Goggins!!!

  • hes talking about David Goggins

  • I needed to hear this AGAIN..its been 15 yrs.since I cared...this is a way of life mentality that can be lost or forgotten..thanks it really clicked a light on .at least for me.n that's enough

  • Hooyah Goggins

  • My phones at sixty percent. You all know what that means..

  • When you put it all in and she’s says “Is that it?” and you reply “It’s only 40% in”

  • I have applied this to my bank account, now I'm only 40% poor

  • I must have done something wrong, this doesn't work with my bank account

  • Serial killer hair

  • This guy is a scam.

  • I bet the seal was cuckin his wife while he was at work

    • +Jiminy Lummox I can't tell if your joking.

    • So SEAL is a jobless welfare queen?

    • +Max McCoin beat me to it

    • The guy went to work with him. David Goggins

  • David Goggins is the Seal.

  • You can learn so much, like how NOT to act.... bones and organs damaged....... helloooooooo

  • This is entirely bullshit

  • Very informative, thanks.

  • video got boring, skipped. watch 40% only. more like 2%

  • Was he the Seal that turned woman just asking.......

  • SEAL weighs 265? Whole thing is fiction...

    • +Mason Levey Goggins has never been a 265lb seal dinker dong.

    • look up David Goggins. quit making excuses and calling people out.

  • If it doesn't suck, don't do it. I came twice and I was done. But I persisted and came three more times. This video rocks!

  • this is actually a crock of shit. 'most' people is bullshit. They mean people who have never done any sports or study.

  • me ** sleeps 8 hours a night ** “only 40% done!”

  • Fuck I can’t even focus on what this guy is even saying cuz these comments are so funny lmao

  • I just got an ad for some fucking sex stream shit... how does US-tv allow something like that to be advertised on their “wholesome” platform, especially on a navy seal video lmao

  • Im pretty sure the ex seal is David Goggins. He’s now a motivational speaker and ive watched a lot of his stuff and he’s told this story before but obviously from his point of view

  • Damn, the comment section here is brutal

  • Honestly I think this dude is gay and had a crush on him so that's a big reason he invited him to live with him.

  • David Goggins

  • 40^0÷0rule?

  • God damn this guy bought a Human for a month..

  • people are selling anything in the name of motivation. lets makes sure we buy only what is genuine

  • its one of my favorite video, not because of content in the video because of the comments

  • So, this millionaire takes this Navy SEAL's life experiences and make money off if him?

  • The SEAL hes talking about is "David Goggins" in case you guys didnt know upon first watching this, but understandably that would be difficult to miss if youve seen this video already. His spotlight on the Joe Rogan podcast is probably his best presentation of himself

  • This is the survivorship bias fallacy. Special forces are heavily screened both mentally and physically to achieve this result in the first place. The end result is a small pool of individuals who fit the 40% rule. If it was this easy, why the fail rate and medical screenings? It's like taking a pool of nobel prize physicists and saying that everyone can do calculus if they just try harder since the sample pool discovered that math is easy for them.

  • This morning when my alarm went off, i returned to sleep again because i was only 40% done

  • 40 is just a number, trues that you are not ready for achieve your goal

  • Waffle waffle waffle

  • I came back here just to read the comments😂. I though I had only 40% fun last time

  • How to waste your health. Ignore the boundaries your body makes to protect you.

  • Stop using methamphetamine...

  • Overtraining is a problem too

  • David Goggins true fucking savage

  • He forgot to tell us about the part where the Navy seal was banging his wife behind his back