Can’t Hurt Me

Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds
Categories: Biography, Motivational
Genre: Self-Help
Published: 10/11/2018
For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare - poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse colored his days and haunted his nights. But through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a U.S. Armed Forces icon and one of the world's top endurance athletes.

Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds By. David Goggins

Key Insights

Most people don’t recognize their full potential. That’s because most of us are seeking stability and comfort in our lives rather than pushing ourselves forward and taking risks.

In life, it’s easy to adopt a victim’s mindset, making excuses for the reasons you are unhappy and unsatisfied in your current situation.

“It won’t always go your way, so you can’t get trapped in this idea that just because you’ve imagined a possibility for yourself that you somehow deserve it. Your entitled mind is dead weight. Cut it loose. Don’t focus on what you think you deserve. Take aim on what you are willing to earn!”- David Goggins

In, “Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds” by David Goggins, you will begin to understand why breaking free from this mentality is necessary for reaching your highest potential.

However, it requires mental toughness to really break this mindset and see things from a new perspective.

Key Points

  • Take Note of Your Limitations

David Goggins grew up in Williamsville, New York. The town was a small suburb full of lawyers, doctors, and other wealthy people.

Goggins lived in a large house with a beautiful lawn. His dad wore suits and his mom was a housewife. Their life was picture-perfect on the outside.

But on the inside, their house was full of abuse.

In the ‘70s, David’s father, Trunnis, ran a roller rink called Skateland. Every night Goggin’s father put him and his brother and mother to work. When Goggins was only six-years-old he was in charge of running the rental counter.

The rink closed around 10pm and afterward the boys were in charge of cleaning the bathrooms and wiping the counters. After that, the boys would try to get some sleep in the office while their parents worked at the bar above the rink. Then, at 6am, the family would all return home.

Goggins would then attend school and inevitably fall asleep in class.

Trunnis not only deprived his children of a healthy lifestyle, but he was also violent. Trunnis would beat both Jackie, Goggin’s mother, and his sons.

Jackie eventually left, but she had no money of her own and her and Trunnis were not married so she could not claim any of his assets. She left with both boys and only a credit card to her name.

Because of Goggin’s hard upbringing, he could’ve made any excuse in the book not to follow his dreams and reach for the stars. But he decided to overcome those obstacles.

One of the first things he did was to identify his obstacles. When you identify your obstacles, it is much easier to overcome them.

  • Look At the Facts

Jackie Goggins moved to Indiana to try to start over. She had very little money but she worked hard, attending school and working a full-time job while taking care of her two sons.

Because of Goggin’s struggle staying awake in school at a young age, he missed a lot of the basics of education, which pushed him to cheat his way through his schooling.

However, when he decided he wanted to join the Air Force, he had to pass a difficult aptitude test. He failed twice. And after that, he realized he needed to do some studying.

In order to gain motivation, Goggins posted notes on his bathroom mirror that noted all of his shortcomings. This helped Goggins keep in mind what he needed to do in order to improve.

You are responsible for your own success. That’s why it’s important to make yourself accountable for all of your shortcomings. By noting them, it will be easier to make changes.

  • Leave Your Comfort Zone

Goggin’s goal when he started with the Air Force was to join the pararescue unit. But after training for four years at this, he felt insecure and intimidated by this goal.

“You are in danger of living a life so comfortable and soft, that you will die without ever realizing your true potential.” - David Goggins

In particular, he was nervous about the underwater portion of his training. He learned how to swim as a child, but he never felt comfortable in the water.

One of the training sessions he had to master was carrying a massive amount of weights while staying afloat. He wasn’t confident enough to go through with it, so he dropped out of the program.

After the Air Force, Googins worked as an exterminator. While working as a roach-killer, he felt he had reached a new low.

At this low point in his life, Goggins happened to catch a television series that showed Navy SEALs going through a difficult training session. He listened as the commanding officer on the program explain how Navy SEALs were men who could overcome any obstacle.

Goggins was inspired by the program and decided he wanted to become a Navy SEAL. His first obstacle was his weight. He needed to drop 100lbs in three months. And he had to retake his military exams and score even higher this time in order to become a SEAL.

Goggins vowed never to let himself settle for comfort. He didn’t want to repeat giving up a dream because of not feeling comfortable.

It’s natural that every person on this planet is insecure and uncomfortable with certain parts of their life. But the desire for comfort blocks you from reaching your highest potential. You must recognize that comfort is only holding you back.

It’s important to train yourself to embrace challenges and set intentions to thrive within them.

  • Just Do It

Goggins decided to face his fear and train to become a Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/s). During the BUD/s program, Goggins and his fellow recruits had to endure six months of very intense physical training.

These classes typically start with about 120 students and end with only 25-40.

The training program was led by a man who claimed the name “Psycho Pete.” He made the program even more intense with his criticism.

During the training, Goggins and his fellow recruits had to stay awake for 5 days and 5 nights. They also had to take long runs, tireless swims in the ocean, and difficult workouts.

Instead of being negatively affected by Psycho Pete, Goggins used the criticism and insults to his advantage. He aimed to prove himself to Psycho Pete by going above and beyond his demands and expectations.

Using your opponents to your advantage will help you to go above and beyond with everything in your life. Always work ten times harder than you need to!

  • Have Control Over Your Mind

Goggins SEAL training posed more and more challenges as he continued to participate in the program. He had injuries that required physical therapy. And he also continued to be under attack by his instructor so mental determination was a must.

Goggins started to understand through all of this the importance of having a calloused mind. A calloused mind is when a person can control their thoughts, moods, and emotions. This is important because these things can often get in the way of you reaching your goal.

“Our culture has become hooked on the quick-fix, the life hack, efficiency. 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.”- David Goggins

For example, there were a lot of times in his training that Goggins felt weak and exhausted. But he didn’t let those feelings get in the way of getting what he wanted. He decided to lead his life with a calloused mind by separating his mind and his actions.

It’s important to remind yourself that you don’t need to act on every single feeling you feel. Sometimes, it’s better to just keep going. You have to remember you have the power and strength to keep going even when your mind is telling you to stop.

A helpful tool is visualization. Visualize your power rather than focusing on your setbacks. When you can imagine what achieving your goal feels like, it will help push you through to the end.

Visualizing also helps you to make a plan of action because you begin to think about what you need to do to get to your end goal.

By practicing visualization, you will also become aware of why you want to achieve your goal.

  • A Schedule Is Important

After his SEAL training, Goggins completed training in the Army Ranger School. He also participated in tactical Air Force controller training.

Goggins did time overseas both in Iraq and Afghanistan. But eventually, he decided he wanted to follow his dream of becoming a professional athlete.

Goggins has competed in the Ironman World Championship. And he has finished several triathlons and ultramarathons. He is also the holder of the Guinness World Record title for most pull-ups in 24 hours. He managed to do a whopping 4,030 pull-ups to gain that title.

“It's a lot more than mind over matter. It takes relentless self-discipline to schedule suffering into your day, every day.”- David Goggins

Goggins believes in a strict daily routine to keep him healthy both mentally and physically.

In our world today, multitasking is all too common. But when you multitask, you can’t give anything 100%. So, instead of putting only an ounce of effort into something, be more strict with your time.

Commit to only one task at a time. Finish it up. And when it’s time for a break, you can enjoy one without other distractions.

Being strict with your time will allow you to get the most out of your work, play, and rest.

The Main Take-Away

Even with Goggin’s hard upbringing, he was able to overcome his emotions, stop making excuses, and reach his highest potential by facing his fears, visualizing success, and sticking to a strict schedule.


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