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OPINION: Tired? You're only 40 percent done!

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Being a college student is a multi-faceted role that demands a level of effort that, most of the time, doesn’t seem attainable. After putting school in the center of your metaphorical universe, what would generally orbit around it would be work, clubs, student organizations, mental and physical health and lending whatever leftover time you have to sustaining a social life. Throw in some seasonal disadvantages, such as midterms and finals, and you have yourself a good, old-fashioned struggle for motivation. When balance seems to be lost in your world of responsibilities, it can be easy to let the most intimidating of the bunch, also known as your college education, get the short end of the stick.

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Next time you have another dragging night at the library, remember the 40 Percent Rule as you’re skimming a Quizlet and throwing back complimentary Yerba Mates. According to Sidd Finch writing for The Hustle, the rule states, “when your mind is telling you you’re done, you’re really only 40 percent done.” This rule comes from ex-Navy SEAL David Goggins. It gained media attention after author Jesse Itzler had written about his own experience implementing the rule in his daily life.

It may seem cliché to look to Navy SEALs for tips on motivation, because, well, they are considered the epitome of American mental toughness. Any banality aside, the rule has some serious potential to work for even the everyday semi-adult. In fact, you may already be applying it to your academic habits.

Think about what keeps your eyes open under the fluorescent lights of a private study room. After you’ve regretfully started a five-page paper the night before it’s due, nothing feels more gratifying than finishing it page-by-page until you only have the conclusion left. In between paragraphs you might think there’s no way you can possibly stretch this thing out to meet the word limit, but every time you push yourself to complete one, it motivates you to finish the next.

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The next step is applying that on a broader scale. Think beyond singular assignments, and apply that same energy to your next busy week — you’ll probably be surprised at how much you can accomplish.

The 40 Percent Rule may seem like nothing more than a mental game, but, and not to play into the philosophical, isn’t it all? With midterms a-brew and resumes waiting to be fluffed up, it can seem increasingly difficult to maintain a sense of well-roundedness. All work and no play makes Jack unable to remember this movie reference, huh?

Next time it’s crunch time and you have three discussion posts to finish in between club meetings, remember that the inevitable wall you’re about to hit is only a signal that you have 40 percent left in you. When that is up, conjure up another 40. It’s like splitting up the 50-squats-a-day challenge that you found on Instagram into five sets of ten. Everything is feasible in moderation.

With this in mind, yes, you can make it to your organization’s fundraising event. Yes, you can make it through your next shift, yes, you can do your part of the group project, and yes, you can finish it all in time to still make it to Louis The Child’s performance at the Bear Down Music Festival. You only can until you can’t. As long as you are respecting your physical and mental health, playing this single-player mind game will only be of service to your metaphorical universe.


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