The 40% Rule: Get Rich, Get Fit, Become Successful With This Simple Rule

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

I don’t know you, but I know this about you: like all of us, you have one goal you’re struggling to achieve. Maybe it’s a business venture, maybe it’s turning a passion into a source of income, maybe it’s your desire to get in better shape.

What usually happens is this: you begin to feel tired. Maybe exhausted is the better word to describe what you’re feeling.

What if the problem isn’t how much you’re trying to get done, but rather your mindset?

And this is how the 40% rule can help you achieve all your goals.

“When your mind is telling you that you’re done, that you’re exhausted, that you cannot possibly go any further, you’re only actually 40% done.” — David Goggins, Former Navy SEAL, possibly the toughest man alive

I know what you’re thinking…

There’s no possible way to do more than what you are doing right now to achieve your goals. But what if it is? What if you’re wrong? What if your brain is trying to trick you into thinking you’ve given your all when, in fact, you still have 60% left?

I used to think that there’s no possible way I could ever write more than a blog post in a day. It just wasn’t possible.

Just think. In order to write a blog post you need to come up with an idea, summon up enough creative energy to write about that idea, then you have to spend some time to build the type of mental clarity required to write something that makes sense, and then you have to rewrite your post, edit it, properly format it, add a relevant image or several.

Sounds like a lot of work, right?

That’s what I used to think, until I had no other choice but to think otherwise.

Because of a particularly annoying set of circumstances, a couple years ago I had 24 hours to write as much content as possible and schedule it. I was writing on a borrowed laptop, and I had to give it back.

Do you want to know how much I wrote? 15 blog posts.

If you take massive action, there’s no room for self-doubt.

Your brain is kind of dumb. All it wants is to keep you safe. That’s why discomfort tends to break your spirit.

But what if you knew this? What if you knew that you could do a lot more because you feeling like you can’t take another step in the direction of your dreams is just your brain trying to trick you?

What if you had no other choice?

When it’s do or die, most of us tend to do. We forget to sleep, forget to eat, and we somehow forget to feel tired.

Winners know it’s showtime when you’ve got nothing left in the tank.

What makes the difference is what you do with what you have when what you have isn’t enough for most people.

If you want to win in life, you’ve got to know that you need to do your best when everyone else around you is giving up.

99.9% of people give up when they reach 40% of their potential. They listen to what sounds like the voice of doom (What if you get hurt? What if you get sick? What if you go broke? What if this happens? What if that happens?) but it’s just your brain playing tricks on you.

Don’t whine when it hurts, don’t cry when the going gets tough.

We live in a therapy society that encourages our desire for instant gratification. In other words, we’re soft.

But the truth is, there’s no app that can do your pushups for you. And that ten minute workout routine won’t give you the body you want.

I remember doing 12 sets of 12 reps of squats with a bit less than I used to weigh a couple years ago. I remember listening to David Goggins whispering words of greatness. I remember my desire to quit.

And it went something like this: after seven sets I was done. And I was kind of proud of what I had achieved. After all, I hated training legs, and it was more than 50% of what I had to do.

As a strange coincidence, that’s when David Goggins said something about being haunted by the fact that he had always cut corners. He never did the last 2–3 sets, 2–3 reps, 2–3 miles of running. And one night he just couldn’t sleep because of this, and so he went to the gym in the middle of the night and did his workout all over again.

I kept going. I was sure that I couldn’t, yet I did. One more set. Now I was at 8. Then I did one more.

Every second was me listening to this inner monologue of just wanting to give up, yet I still did what I had to do.

There was no one to save me that day. It was just me against myself. It was me against a set of limiting beliefs that my brain was insisting they were true. They weren’t.

People expect success to just happen. They expect success to be the side-effect of being passionate.

Well, passion literally means “to suffer.” No, seriously. That’s what the damn word means.

You only have two choices in life: you either do or you don’t. You either find a way to reach your goals, or you end up somewhere you don’t want to be.

It’s as simple as that.

Anytime I feel sorry for myself, feel tired and weak, or feel like giving up, I remind myself that I’m only getting started. I’m only at 40%. I remind myself of the only two options I have — stay the same or become a better me.

I drown out the inner critic by knowing that I can accomplish more that I think it’s my absolute best, because my absolute best is something that lies outside what my brain casually defines as possible.

The best that you can do lies in the realm of the improbable, in the land of the impossible. It’s something you have difficulty even fantasizing about, but it’s very real, I assure you.

How do you know you’re at 100%?

You either puke, or faint, or die. That’s how you know you’ve given your all.

I am not advising you to mindlessly work yourself to death. I’m just telling you that you can always do more.

You can always punch the damn keys until your fingers hurt. You can always run one more mile or do one more set. You can always read one more chapter.

Do not settle for a 40% life, because you are going to die a slow and painful death long before they plant you in the ground.

Aim for 100%, aim for greatness, and always remember that what doesn’t kill often makes you want to keep going.

Originally published at


  1. This is inspiring, & man, so are those Navy Seals! I highly doubt you’re at 40% in the realm of conveying. I always appreciate the way you make thoughts dance with words when you type them.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My favorite line from this piece is “if you take massive action, then there is no room for self doubt”. This past couple months made me realize we need to push ourselves to make changes in our lives. Not worry about the am I good enough or what if’s. We only have one life and we should all strive to live up to our full potential.

    Liked by 2 people

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