The 40% Mental Barrier Rule

There is a concept in the Navy Seals that whenever your mind says to stop, you are only at about 40% of your physical capacity.  Which is an interesting and useful paradigm to have when faced with a plateau or wall in other areas of life.

Here are a few random thoughts about it.

1.) Every article I read about it has a disclaimer that the 40% varies by person.  And my initial thought was I probably have a higher mental barrier.  But after a while, I realized I’m probably at the 40% …or lower.  Because they apply the 40% to Navy Seals for crying out loud!!!!

2.) It creates a connection between mental and physical toughness.  Which is a very real thing, but one I don’t focus on enough.  I’ve recently been reading more about mind-muscle connection, so this is connecting some dots for me.

3.) It speaks to how we have two parts of ourselves.  The first says to stop at 40%, but we have a higher, “executive function” that can over-ride the other one.  Once I am listening to both, I feel like I can make better decisions.  When it comes to investing, exercise, getting up early, focusing on a project, etc.

4.) Maybe it can be applied to the rest of our lives.  Are I’m living at only 40% capacity?  Maybe I need to “bring more”.  And not think of it has “trying harder”, but instead as simply living up to my potential.

I’m not sure where I got this concept, but when I was in my teens, I created an inner mental place called “my superman”.  When I was in a really tough situation, I would mentally tell myself that I had to go inside and “find my superman”.  Maybe I’m disclosing too much, but I would invite him to come out and help me.  I would picture him resting in his cold, calm fortress of solitude and emerging all rested and powerful to help me.  And sure enough, it helped.  I can remember doing it when I was surfing some waves that were outside my comfort zone, or exercising, or working on a really physical house project or working 100+ weeks for months on end when I worked in public accounting.

5.) When I’m working on things that impact my finances, like investing, the proper psychology and discipline are needed.  So, how can I tap into my executive function and avoid immediate fear/greed motivators?


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