Do you feel like your well-established routines and beliefs are your greatest resource or your greatest hindrance? It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and believe all our self-imposed limitations.

But what if you actually have 40% more resources than you think?

Today, we look into a topic that may bring our potential into sharper focus. And maybe by the end of this article, we’ll be inspired to push past the ruts we are in, both physically and mentally.

Image: Woman climbing up a tall wall with mountains and clouds in the background

Source: Pixabay

The 40% Rule reminds me of a great quote:

“If you want something different than you’ve got, you have to do something different than you’ve done.”

That statement fits the definition of common sense, and yet we all know a few really smart, nice people who don’t seem to understand that insight at all.

They complain about their circumstances and yet their routines and beliefs keep them running in place.

So what if we all had the ability to welcome an inspiring person into our lives for 30 days; someone who would essentially observe us every waking moment and offer feedback that introduced a whole new level of grit and possibility into our lives?

This would be someone who could take an impartial look at our habits and then point to things that are glaringly flawed. And what if we gave them the mandate to challenge some of our firmly held beliefs about what’s possible too? They could insist that we push past what we think are our limits.

Let’s start with a short video by thought-leader Jesse Itzler brought to us by an incredible website, Big Think, to give you a little taste of where we are going today…

Via: Big Think 1

Interesting, huh? If you want to see more awesome content by Big Think, you can check them out here.

Do you remember a time when you thought you were completely spent, at a wall either physically or mentally, and yet the situation forced you to dig deeper to find what you truly had in the tank?

I see examples of this in my office every day. Some of my patients have the most remarkable life stories of overcoming adversity, and often they are so humble that it’s only in the telling that they realize the enormity of their accomplishments.

This topic didn’t really attract me from the exercise endurance angle. Although it’s certainly a useful insight to improve our health, this topic attracted me when I thought about all the people I know who have inadvertently used it to improve their lives dramatically, reaching personal goals in education, family life, and business.

Here’s a quote that seems to be a great fit with the 40% Rule. I’ve been referring to it for decades:

“Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they are yours!”

– Richard Bach ( In his book, Illusions)

Let’s get a little deeper yet and look at this through the lens of something we each struggle with as individuals. As you watch this next piece, think of someplace in your life that you feel you may have hit a wall.

Here’s a great interview from CBS This Morning that expands on the first video and fills in some of the blanks on this concept…

I love the conversations we might have with ourselves if we were to apply this insight to our own issues.

How many people sell themselves short before they’ve ever even tried overcoming a major obstacle or tackling a goal for which they have a passion?

I suspect that it comes down to finding the grit to stay with something long after anyone else would have given up.

But here’s the best part: we usually don’t have to look very far for a mentor. Most of us are surrounded by “survivors“. These are the remarkable people – perhaps a grandparent, neighbor, co-worker, or parent – who have a story that includes some feat of resilience or ingenuity during a difficult childhood, or perhaps they’ve made a good life despite suffering a terrible tragedy?

Or maybe they took on a heroic personal challenge because they dared to dream big and did not let others define their limitations.

Image: What the Path to Success Really Looks like


Here’s the recipe I’ve observed in people who have stumbled upon the 40% Rule on their own and it’s something I’ve told young people many times:

Most of the happiest people I’ve known overcame some enormous challenge in life using three traits: They were patient through the detours they had to take, clever when facing what looked like an insurmountable obstacle, and perseverant, long after others would have given up.

Perhaps that’s what attracts me to this Navy Seal concept. The 40% Rule combines those three elements very succinctly: Patience, Cleverness, Perseverance.

Now here at Ever Widening Circles, this concept of going beyond your limitations seems to come up a lot.

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Still curious? Why should we listen to this guy?

I find it hard to pick up an insight like this without getting the back story.

After those two videos, I had all sorts of questions. Who is this guy, Jesse Itzler? Why should we think about adopting his insights? Has he been a consistently inspiring person, doing good for others with his good fortune, or is he a one-hit wonder?

Here’s one more interview from a cool channel we found, Lewis Howes, that gives us much more of the backstory, some really nice philosophical anchors near the end, and a little more motivation yet…

Sounds like a nice fellow. I’m going to look into reading his book, Living With a Navy Seal. There’s sure to be some pearls of wisdom there that I can apply all over the place in my life.

Lastly, if you want to read another article with further insights about pushing past limitations, check out our article featuring Daniel Kish, called Life Beyond Expectations. There we introduce you to a man who has been blind all his life but rides a bike and climbs mountains. I spent a couple hours on the phone with Daniel one night and he was a delight. He’s changing lives by teaching the blind to “see” the world around them in a way that is indescribable. Take a look!

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Stay open, curious and hopeful!

~ Dr. Lynda

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  1. “Navy SEALs Have a ’40 Percent Rule’ And It’s the Key to Overcoming Mental Barriers.” YouTube. Big Think, 27 Nov. 2015. Web. 27 Aug. 2016. <>.
  2. “Navy SEAL Lives with Hawks Owner as Personal Trainer.” YouTube. CBS This Morning, 09 Nov. 2015. Web. 27 Aug. 2016. <>.
  3. “Jesse Itzler on Pushing Your Limits – with Lewis Howes.” YouTube. Lewis Howes, 08 Mar. 2016. Web. 27 Aug. 2016. <>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world. Hear her latest conversations with thought leaders on the Conspiracy of Goodness Podcast--new episodes every Wednesday!