Can't Hurt Me - Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins


Tell yourself the truth! That you’ve wasted enough time, and that you have other dreams that will take courage to realize, so you don’t die a fucking pussy. Call yourself out! Nobody likes to hear the hard truth. Individually and as a culture, we avoid what we need to hear most. - David Goggins

In December 2018, David Goggins started appearing as a guest on various Youtube channels. First, I noticed him on the Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu, and that was the first time I saw David’s face: focused, military, somewhat bizarre. Later, I found him on Rich Roll’s and Joe Rogan’s shows, and that was a tipping point to search for more information about him. DAVID GOGGINS IS ONE OF A KIND.

David Goggins is a retired Navy SEAL, ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, triathlete and former world record holder for the most pull-ups done in 24 hours, and overall: an incredible badass. His difficult childhood shaped his mind to seek for excellence, reach and break human body limits.

Without further ado, here are the most memorable quotes from David Goggins’ latest book: Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds.

Difficult Childhood

His father was a pimp, and David and his mother were abused. When Goggins was eight, his mother left her abusive husband – Goggins biological father. Then, Goggins and his family moved to a small town, where they had to face racism and discrimination.

We live in a world with a lot of insecure, jealous people. Some of them are our best friends. They are blood relatives. Failure terrifies them. So does our success. Because when we transcend what we once thought possible, push our limits, and become more, our light reflects off all the walls they’ve built up around them. Your light enables them to see the contours of their own prison, their own self-limitations.

I looked at the people who were making me feel uncomfortable and realized how uncomfortable they were in their own skin. To make fun of or try to intimidate someone they didn’t even know based on race alone was a clear indication that something was very wrong with them, not me. But when you have no confidence it becomes easy to value other people’s opinions.

Surviving Hell Week in Navy SEAL

David Goggins went through 3 Hell Weeks, Navy Seal recruitment events, all in a year. He would eventually graduate in this final attempt, but he pushed through it with his fractured kneecap.

No matter how they’re treating you there is one way to not only earn their respect, but turn the tables. Excellence. That may mean acing an exam, or crafting an ideal proposal, or smashing a sales goal. Whatever it is, I want you to work harder on that project or in that class than you ever have before. Do everything exactly as they ask, and whatever standard they set as an ideal outcome, you should be aiming to surpass that.

The vast majority of us are slaves to our minds. Most don’t even make the first effort when it comes to mastering their thought process because it’s a never-ending chore and impossible to get right every time. The average person thinks 2,000–3,000 thoughts per hour. That’s thirty to fifty per minute! Some of those shots will slip by the goalie. It’s inevitable. Especially if you coast through life.

That also means being prepared to answer the simple questions. Why are you doing this? What is driving you toward this achievement? Where does the darkness you’re using as fuel come from? What has calloused your mind?

Shaping the mind - taking Navy SEAL experiences to the next level

If it was raining, I would go run. Whenever it started snowing, my mind would say, Get your fucking running shoes on. Sometimes I wussed out and had to deal with it at the Accountability Mirror. But facing that mirror, facing myself, motivated me to fight through uncomfortable experiences, and, as a result, I became tougher.

Dig down to the micro level and do something that sucks every day. Even if it’s as simple as making your bed, doing the dishes, ironing your clothes, or getting up before dawn and running two miles each day. Once that becomes comfortable, take it to five, then ten miles. If you already do all those things, find something you aren’t doing. We all have areas in our lives we either ignore or can improve upon. Find yours.

San Diego 100 - first ultramarathon without preparation

In 2005, when he decided to run an ultramarathon to raise money for charity, he weighed 127 kg.

[..] pain and suffering. This was my trophy ceremony. I’d earned this. This was confirmation that I’d mastered my own mind—at least for a little while—and that what I’d just accomplished was something special. As I lay there, curled up in the tub, shivering in the fetal position, relishing the pain, I thought of something else too. If I could run 101 miles with zero training, imagine what I could do with a little preparation.

The Badwater Ultramarathon - the world’s toughest foot race

The Badwater Ultramarathon is a 217 km course starting at 85 m below sea level in the Badwater Basin, in California’s Death Valley, and ending at an elevation of 2548 m at Whitney Portal. It takes place annually in mid-July, when the weather conditions are most extreme and temperatures can reach 54 °C.

I know how it feels to be approaching an energetic dead end. I’ve been there too many times to count. I understand the temptation to sell short, but I also know that impulse is driven by your mind’s desire for comfort, and it’s not telling you the truth. It’s your identity trying to find sanctuary, not help you grow. It’s looking for status quo, not reaching for greatness or seeking wholeness.

2007 Badwater: David Goggins finishes Badwater Ultramarathon

If you are on the hunt for your 100 percent you should catalog your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Don’t ignore them. Be prepared for them, because in any endurance event, in any high-stress environment, your weaknesses will surface like bad karma, build in volume, and overwhelm you. Unless you get ahead of them first. This is an exercise in recognition and visualization. You must recognize what you are about to do, highlight what you do not like about it, and spend time visualizing each and every obstacle you can.

There is no finish line, Goggins. There is no finish line. […] There is always more to learn, and you will always have weaknesses to strengthen if you want to become as hard as woodpecker lips. Hard enough to hammer countless miles, and finish that shit strong!

First Ultraman - Ultra Man World Triathlon Championships Hawaii

Ultraman is a three-day, 515 km race. The first is a 10-km ocean swim, followed by a 145-km cross-country bike ride. Stage two is a 276-km bike ride. Stage three is an 84-km run (double-marathon).

Everyone is on the hunt for that simple action algorithm that nets maximum profit with the least amount of effort. There’s no denying this attitude may get you some of the trappings of success, if you’re lucky, but it will not lead to a calloused mind or self-mastery. If you want to master the mind and remove your governor, you’ll have to become addicted to hard work. Because passion and obsession, even talent, are only useful tools if you have the work ethic to back them up.

The sole reason I work out like I do isn’t to prepare for and win ultra races. I don’t have an athletic motive at all. It’s to prepare my mind for life itself. Life will always be the most grueling endurance sport, and when you train hard, get uncomfortable, and callous your mind, you will become a more versatile competitor, trained to find a way forward no matter what.

Even David Goggins needs to stretch - his mind and body

In 2010, he learned that he suffered from a birth defect known as atrial septum defect, or a hole in the heart that causes one side of it to receive too much oxygenated blood. David underwent immediate surgery, with some complications, and he couldn’t run for a long time during the recovery. So he decided to do pull-ups and break The Guinness World Record for most pull-ups in 24-hours. Critics pointed out Goggins’ weight and body posture as the main factors that would impede his record attempt.

This one’s for the unusual motherfuckers in this world. A lot of people think that once they reach a certain level of status, respect, or success, that they’ve made it in life. I’m here to tell you that you always have to find more. Greatness is not something that if you meet it once it stays with you forever. That shit evaporates like a flash of oil in a hot pan. If you truly want to become uncommon amongst the uncommon, it will require sustaining greatness for a long period of time. It requires staying in constant pursuit and putting out unending effort.

David Goggins Breaks the Guinness 24-hour Pull-up World Record with 4030

The Buddha famously said that life is suffering. I’m not a Buddhist, but I know what he meant and so do you. To exist in this world, we must contend with humiliation, broken dreams, sadness, and loss. That’s just nature. Each specific life comes with its own personalized portion of pain. It’s coming for you. You can’t stop it. And you know it.

At forty-three, my wildland firefighting career is just getting started. I love being part of a team of hard motherfuckers like them, and my ultra career is about to be born again too. I’m just young enough to bring hell on and still contend for titles. I’m running faster now than I ever have, and I don’t need any tape or props for my feet. When I was thirty-three I ran at an 8:35 per mile pace. Now I’m running 7:15 per mile very comfortably. I’m still getting used to this new, flexible, fully functioning body,

Joe Rogan Experience #1212 - David Goggins

I'm Valdas Maksimavicius. I write about data, cloud technologies and personal development. You can find more about me here.