Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

2020, book #24: “My work ethic is the single most important factor in all my work accomplishments, everything else is secondary.” — David Goggins

Finished on April 17, 2020

This book was great. It was powerful. There was power and impact in every single word and that is very rare when I go through books. There are often books with extensive white space and wordiness with no purpose. The author overcame more adversity than most people could even imagine. There are very few people that can go through anything near what he did and come out the other side with a smile. It’s rare and it’s beyond admirable.

This is beautiful. I have been telling people for the last few years that, “I’m an open book but you have to be the one to turn the page.” But if you ask a question? I’m telling you the answer point blank. I might cater my response to your background as I’m aware of it. But if you ask me what I think of something, I’ll tell you straight up.

“If you ask me a direct question I won’t be shy.”

This is an experience that I can’t understand or empathize with. Sure, I’ve experienced some bullying and some harassment, but compared to what David did? I can’t understand it in the slightest. He lost himself trying to gain the approval of others and I think that is something that most people can relate to at one point or another. We often get caught up trying to seek the approval of others when really, all that matters is what God thinks. The outcome is always most important to me and the goal that David Goggins maintained was the most important as he emphasized below.

When David lived in Brazil and dealt with a great deal of racism, he shared that he wasn’t about black culture. He wasn’t about anything at all but rather everything he did was to get a reaction out of the people who hated him most. Everyone’s opinion of him mattered and he shared that is a shallow way to live. He said if you watched from a distance it would look like he lost all hope. But he hadn’t lost all hope, one dream left was the Air Force.

There is NO other way to successfully and responsibly live. We must own everything. Everything that we touch, everything that we are involved in, it is all up to us. If it’s not? We tolerate excuses. We can NOT tolerate excuses. God is always in control but we CANNOT simply allow whatever happens to happen. We must take ownership, we must take responsibility, we must push forward and emphasize our capabilities in all areas.

Hold yourself accountable and be brutally honest with yourself, that’s the only way you’ll actually change and improve in the way you want to. Be able to criticize yourself. OWN IT. Develop thick skin. Take responsibility.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you missed one pull-up and had to do an extra 250? Talk about EXTREME discipline and relentlessness. It’s one thing to push hard and to move forward but it’s another entirely to accept ZERO excuses, to have ZERO tolerance for less than the absolute best. With the help of others? This is rare, incredibly rare. By yourself? You will hardly ever see anyone at this level.

“One missed pull-up cost me an extra 250.”

“You cut corners, you are not going to make it. There are no shortcuts for you.”

“Whenever I cut a run or a swim short because I was hungry or tired, I’d always go back and beat myself down even harder. That was the only way I could manage the demons in my mind.”

I cannot imagine this type of situation. It’s tough to understand. Here is somebody that you adore, that you love deeply, and that you value. There is something that you really want to do, it’s a strong desire, and your partner tells you that if you do that thing, you lose them? For David, he certainly made the right decision.

He passed the entrance exam for navy seals but his wife gave him an ultimatum. Stay married and abandon the opportunity or go try and become a seal and get divorced. He realized the decision was entirely about who he was and who he wanted to be. He was a prisoner in his own mind and felt this was his only chance to be set free.

Embrace the weaknesses. Embrace the failures. Embrace the weak points. Go harder and keep pushing, no excuses.

“If you want true mental toughness, you must triple down in your weaknesses.” — David Goggins

The extra 1%. When people around you are burning out, are tired, and do not want to continue… continue. Make it look easy. Let them know it’s possible.

Goggins talks about taking someone’s soul. When we recognize that people around us are out of energy and tapped out, find the extra 1%. They have a belief and explicitly showing that their belief is wrong will break them.

It’s not about putting someone down, it’s about pulling yourself up to another level. There is so much capability and capacity within you, there are so many things that you can do — do them. We must make it abundantly clear that what we are doing is not about embarrassing or putting down other people, though, we must make it clear that it is solely for ourselves, it’s to be our best.

Taking souls is all about surpassing someone’s maximum expectations. Make them see that you are achieving something they could never do themselves. YOU MUST DO THIS WITH HUMILITY. It can upset a lot of people. Do it with the understanding that you are trying to be your best.

Do you agree? I definitely do, most people don’t know how to control their thoughts and many do not even try. It would be great for this to change, wonderful if we could see the fruits of a changed focus here.

Very few people even try to control the way their thoughts and doubts bubble up. The vast majority of us are slaves to our minds. Most don’t even make the first effort when it comes to mastering our thought process because it’s a never-ending chore and is impossible to get right every time.

Agreed? What changes without work? The weather? Maybe without our work, but God designed that.

You have to put work behind everything in life for something to change.

“How you do anything is how you do everything.” Take the easy way out once and it will become a habit. If I skip certain things, I would look at myself so differently. I cannot imagine beginning a day without making my bed, it simply does not happen.

Goggins shared that you should get to a point where everything you don’t do should bother you, haunt you, and eat at you throughout the whole day. If you miss something that you were supposed to do and you’re like, “oh it’s not a big deal I’ll do it tomorrow,” you’re not there yet.

Like calloused hands are stronger than smooth ones, a calloused mind is stronger also. Callous your mind and strengthen yourself. Do not allow yourself to miss going through things that are important.

We all need that little pat on the back that we give ourselves, we need to remember that we are powerful and that we can win. But more than that, we must hold ourselves to the highest standard possible. We must go forth into the future with our best possible self.

“Yeah I was hard on myself when I looked in the accountability mirror but I also praised myself whenever I could claim a small victory because we all need that.” — David Goggins

When we think we are done, we are only 40% done. That is something that David echoes time and time again. There may be times where we feel we are at the end of the road but we likely aren’t even close to exhausting every option.

The 40% rule:

In love almost nothing will turn out exactly as we hope. We will all be tempted to walk away, give up on our goals and dreams, and sell our own happiness short at some point. Yet, we haven’t even tapped into half of the treasure buried deep in our minds, hearts, and souls. Most people operate like cars and have a governor’s limit when they are capable of much more.

Most people cannot do this either. Most people cannot sit with their thoughts and push on through the task that they have committed to — especially when it’s just practice. Why do people do work with movies on in the background? Why do people drive with the radio?

Goggins took part in an ultramarathon in Hawaii in preparation for Badwater, a 135 mile ultramarathon, and was truly alone with his thoughts. There was no one to compete with so he was able to think about the possibilities of how he’d get it done.

Do you do this? I challenge you to stop immediately. I challenge you to immediately stop, look yourself in the mirror and say, “Life isn’t fair, I’m going to be great regardless.”

“We know life can be hard and yet we feel sorry for ourselves when life isn’t fair.” — David Goggins

GET OVER IT. Anything else to add? Maybe this, “control what YOU can control and ADAPT and proactively prepare for the rest.”

“You will be made fun of, you will feel insecure, you may not be the best all the time, you may be the only black, white, Asian, Latino, male, female, or fill in your identity here in a given situation. There are going to be times when you feel alone, GET OVER IT. Our minds are strong. They are our most powerful weapon but we have stopped using them. We have access to so many more resources today than ever before but are so much less capable than those that came before us. If you want to be one of the few that defines those trends in our ever-softening society, you must be willing to go to war with yourself which requires an open mind.” — David Goggins

This is one of the most true things throughout the entire book. How do you master yourself? How do you master the inner you? You push your limits and then you go even further.

“If you want to master your mind you’ll have to become addicted to hard work.” — David Goggins

Handouts mean nothing. The question goes, would you rather start back at 20 years old with $10 million or would you rather start back at 20 years old with $0 and everything that you’ve learned thus far in life. The wide majority of successful people that I’ve met have elected for the second option. If you have learned how to create wealth and how to be great, then you know how to do it over and over and over again. There are people who work hard and develop some great fruits as a result of what they sow. There are others who simply don’t care to work hard, or don’t know how to work hard. But as they say, “If you know how to read yet choose not to, you are no different from someone who knows how to read at all.”

“My work ethic is the single most important factor in all my work accomplishments, everything else is secondary.” — David Goggins

LEADERSHIP. This is the EPITOME of leadership. Is there another way?

A true leader stays exhausted, abhors arrogance, and never looks down in the weakest link. He fights for his men and leads by example. That’s what it meant to be uncommon among the uncommon. It meant being one of the best and helping your men find their best too.

This was a great book that I learned a lot from. It reinforced so many of the things that I am working towards and it pushed me towards a greater understanding of who I want to be. We were all created to be winners and it is largely up to us to become all that God has intended for us to be. If we never ask our Creator who we are, how will we know who we were created to be in this life? Continue to tap into who you are at a deeper level and strive for betterment every single day.

I gave this book a 4.5/5

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