The 70% Rule

Summer, late 1960’s, I earned college money by working in the Delano grape fields.  My Filipino co-workers were in their 60’s and 70’s, including my dad, who worked and moved about with ease and efficiency. 

Those of you who had the pleasure of doing this kind of work appreciated the conditions and methodologies needed to get through a decent ten-hour day (at the time 10-hour days were the norm).

As I struggled to keep up with this back breaking work, my dad would tell me to “take my time, but hurry up.”

I was young, strong and athletically fit.  Hurrying up was not problem.  Doing it efficiently like my dad and his compatriots was not possible.  I didn’t have the wherewithal to “take my time.”

Courtesy of
70 Percent Rule

Fast forward to the present and the 70 percent rule.
As a Tai Chi practitioner and instructor for many years, I was taught this term.  It was not until recently when I understood its true meaning.

While researching the web, I came upon a YouTube video.  It showcased martial arts expert, instructor, speaker, book author, and video producer, Bruce Frantzis, and his version of the 70 percent rule.  (see link:  )

The 70 percent rule is a concept where a person utilizes 70 percent of effort to achieve 100 percent output.

As a Tai Chi practitioner and instructor, I’ve learned that these classic and age old movements are slow and smooth, not to over extend or exert.

Tai Chi which means “grand ultimate fist” utilizes Qigong or “energy cultivation” movements that integrate mind and body through concentrated deep breathing and mindfulness.  It’s also known as moving meditation.

External martial arts such as karate, judo, kung fu, taekwondo, jiujutsu, kickboxing and MMA require the student to exert techniques at a 100 percent to achieve excellence.  It’s much like modern day sports such as football, soccer, and wrestling where competition requires full engagement to win.

This concept extends beyond the athletic arena.  It’s in school, work and life in the modern world.  I can personally attest to the “kill or be killed” mantra where success is achieved by a person’s desire to go beyond 100 percent, to “do whatever it takes”. 

We learn to “multi-task”, miss our children’s baseball games or recitals, down huge amounts of caffeine and/or alcohol, take wrong shortcuts, make decisions that may meet expectations, cost dearly in other important matters.

Who Benefits?

·         Students seeking high grade point averages.

·         Athletes attempting stellar performances.

·         Mothers raising perfect children while working full time jobs.

·         Executives who make decisions to lay off key employees for the sake of shareholder financial interest.

Why change?

Tai Chi and other internal martial arts use the mind and body efficiently by relaxing and coordinating all functions as one.  The argument is that if you exert yourself physically at 100 percent then your mind is diminished.  If you think at full capacity, your body is removed from the process.

Stress, as I’ve written in the past, kills.  (see link )

Stress is okay when needed in short bursts, like in an athletic event, taking a test, or even running away from an 800-pound gorilla.  But keeping the sympathetic nervous system on full alert is known to the main cause for major illnesses such as heart conditions and cancer.

It’s a strange phenomenon.  You may ponder and even argue the concept, but reflect when these instances occur and you will come to realize the truth.

Work yourself to death, and you will die.

So you ask yourself how do you make this change?

Instead of studying for ten hours, study for seven.
Instead of rushing from place to place, take it slow and go with the flow.

Instead of maxing out on you work out for a full hour, max out in 42 minutes and chill in 18.

Instead of thinking and worrying about things that won’t happen for a distant future, use that time for personal reflection.
Develop a personal mindset that you are going to affect change in your life to the point where you would take action.

Set a date, the earlier the better. Even right now is good.
Write it down, best in a personal journal as if it already happened.

Then just do it and trust the process.
You’ll find yourself reaching your goals as if you engaged yourself at a 100% but this time giving yourself time and energy for yourself to smell the roses and enjoy life that you are entitled.

When you absolutely need to get things done, simply hurry up but be sure to take your time.

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