This question pops into my mind the moment I think “I’ve had enough”.
Have I really?
Our bodies are capable of incredible feats far beyond where most people give up. People survive and endure the harshest conditions in war, famine, and even extreme athletic events. We can do the impossible, we just need to draw upon our most primal instincts to push farther.
The 40% Rule and Pushing Our Limits
The 40% rule highlights how our inner resources are usually under-utilized.
A man referred to as “Seal” (because he was a Marine) taught this lesson to Jesse Itzler during an ultra marathon. He broke all of his toes and even suffered kidney damage while running the race. He still finished.
“About 99% of 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.” – Jesse Itzler
Your mind will often quit far before you’ve actually exhausted all of your physical and mental resources. Even when our bodies are literally breaking, using the power of the mind to ignore these pain signals can propel us much farther than we often allow ourselves to believe is possible.
Imagine you’ve hit the wall. It’s a race, maybe you’re in the gym, or you don’t feel the courage to talk to an attractive woman. What if you had 60% more power, courage, and will power than you thought was possible?
Could you do it then?
The good news is that you do, but a mindset shift is the only way to bring it out.
It’s easy to do just enough work and take the momentary endorphin rush as a prize instead of working through till really hitting the wall.
If a man can finish an ultra marathon with broken toes and kidney damage, how can you say you’re too tired to keep working under ideal circumstances?
Usually when we think we’re done, we’re only 40% done. Our bodies and minds are capable of so much more but when listening to the fatigue and doubt we can instantly kill our potential.
“Some legends walk among us, but they’re not born, they’re built. Legends are made from from iron and sweat, mind and muscle.” ~Arnold Schwarzenegger
In the gym when your muscles start to burn that doesn’t mean it’s time to put the weight down; that’s the time to squeeze out another 3-4 reps.
I learned this when I started asking, “Have I done all that I can do?”
Suddenly I had more energy and strength than I thought because I was no longer working out till I felt tired; I was working out till I literally couldn’t lift the weight.
Progress soon followed.
I added an extra inch to my biceps within 30 days. Previous to this mindset shift results felt like they were really slow.
I was leaving each set without doing all that I could do because I listened to the burn in my muscles, instead of focusing my mind to use my innermost resources.
Are You Losing Money by Not Going All Out?
Now apply this idea to business: how much are you leaving on the table?
Only using part of my potential was killing my result in the gym, but think of how much money you could potentially lose if you’re not truly putting 100% in.
We usually walk away leaving the majority of our energy, creativity and strength on the table. Imagine getting an extra 30-50% more work done every day instead of calling it quits. What could you accomplish then?
If you’re results are mediocre, and you’re wondering why business isn’t where you want it, then look at:
How many hours could I have worked today?
Of the hours spent working, was I actually working or did I spend my time on email and Facebook?
Am I taking vacations? If so, why?
“Holidays are for poor people.” ~ Dan Pena
I used to finish working in the evening and then “take a break” when in reality I had no excuse to do so. What else was I going to do with my time other than work on my dreams? Nope, I needed a “break” because this idea is the norm, and I bought into it. This norm is only good if you plan on going to a job every day for the rest of your life.
That stunted the progress of my business until I started a new routine; working until one hour before bedtime.
It was no big surprise when I started finishing TONS more of work, and suddenly my web traffic started increasing, along with media request popping up that didn’t exist beforehand.
I was treating my business like a job instead of my passion, and the doorway to greatness. Even if you have a job you like, what dreams are fading away while you kill your free time?
Fear Stopping You?
Often times it’s our fear that compels us to leave a job half done.
When I’m training students on how to meet women, they’ll often come to a point where “it’s enough” for the day. What’s really happening is that they are trying to relieve the pressure from getting pushed outside of their comfort zone.
As soon as they make progress and get a high from a major breakthrough, all of a sudden they’re back on their feet and ready to tackle the world. Go figure…it’s all in the mind.
The pressure of doing something new and uncomfortable can feel like it’s suffocating us, and it can initiate a flight response in our body. The mind wants to relieve this pressure to feel comfortable again sticking to the norm, and in doing so our potential gets wasted.
Pushing back against this pressure is how growth occurs.
For example: I’ve always had a fear of heights.
One day I was hiking with my girlfriend going up a steep mountain trail which was covered in snow.
We hit a point along the way that was extra steep; steep enough to kick in my fear of heights and cause me to have serious doubts about continuing.
To make things worse, it was slippery because of the wet snow, even with crampons (spikes on out boots).
My girlfriend decided to test out her luck and went up.
Well sh**, now I had no choice.
I started climbing up, and about one quarter of the way where it became the steepest, I froze.
I looked back but going down didn’t look any more inviting than continuing.
My muscles tightened up.
I literally grabbed the snow; my hands contorted like claws for a sense of stability.
My breathing became shallow and every cell in my body was firing off alarms.
I had never had a physical reaction like that before and I’m glad the only witness was my girlfriend. Luckily there’s no record for failblog either.
In any case, I couldn’t just stand there, and my resolve was more powerful than my fear so I used my claw-hands and fought against my body’s own resistance to make my way up.
That wasn’t the best part though; the best part was encountering more steep banks on the way up and not having any reaction at all. I had broken my fear by challenging it.
This was a major breakthrough and I haven’t had the same experience since. I’m now planning to learn rock climbing to further push my limits.
If I would of listened to my irrational fear I wouldn’t have grown as a man. The potential to do more would of been left up there on the mountain, and the fear would’ve been strengthened.
“It’s not possible to be training harder or more consistently, or more dedicated than me because I couldn’t give a single ounce more to any aspect of this thing that I’m doing. So, that makes me feel pretty powerful and pretty confident because I know other people are slacking sometimes; or maybe they didn’t have a great workout today, it was OK. Mine was great every time because I put everything into it.” – Dorian Yates, 6 time Mr. Olympia
10 Steps to Maximize Your Potential and Actually Do Your Best
To maximize your potential utilize these steps.
1) Effort – When you feel “done” ask yourself, “Was that all I could do?”
2) Time – How are you using your time? It’s easy to fool ourselves thinking “I deserve a break” but if you’re not putting your efforts into your dreams at every available moment then you’re wasting your time. There’s no such thing as free time, only time.
3) Study – Do you know all you could know about what you’re trying to accomplish? Talk to an expert, get a book or buy a course to expand your knowledge on the topic.
4) Do it anyways – You may not know everything, but you have to take action to get experience and make progress.
5) Challenge fear – Being scared or uncomfortable isn’t an excuse. If you feel fear take a small step to start, and build it up. Anytime you feel any fear confront it.
6) Condition yourself to tolerate pain – To develop success you’ll have to experience some sort of pain. It may be fatigue, anxiety, or even physical pain in the case of working out. Learn to tolerate it by working through the pain instead of dropping everything to be more comfortable.
7) Create habits – Using your willpower non stop is exhausting, so turn things into habits. That means doing it consistently everyday. If working out sucks right now, make sure you do it every single day as part of your daily routine. You won’t have to use willpower for long.
8) Train your mind – Allowing your mind to stray and think about things that put you in a bad mood, or take you away from the present moment or goals will sap your energy, and use your time. Every time your thoughts stray, refocus on your goals or on feeling the present moment. Mindset training will pay off in a huge way.
9) Do more – Remember the 40% rule everyday so you don’t throw in the towel early. Chances are that you can do more.
10) Use leverage – Get a coach, trainer, or partner who will keep you accountable. When somebody knows you have something to get done it’s a lot easier to push yourself.
the vast majority of the time when we want to quit or call it a day we’re just giving into laziness. It’s a bad habit.
When you start training yourself to go further, stay longer, or “do one more”, you’ll soon find that your previous limits were an illusion.