Books- “Can’t Hurt Me” – David Goggins

This will be the first of many attempts to take books, podcasts, articles, etc. that I have read and distilled them into an easier-to-digest form and what I took from it. The picture above (taken from his Instagram @davidgoggins) is from one of Goggins’ many failures. His body was shutting down and he was in the Badwater 135.

Disclaimer: I would HIGHLY suggest you to read or listen to each of these as everyone needs different things in life and everyone interprets what they consume differently.

My favorite thing about the book is that each chapter ends with challenges to complete. The goal is to bring readers “nose-to-concrete with your own bullshit limits you didn’t even know were there.” 

At the very least, this book is guaranteed to make you look at what you are doing with your life and see how you can make it at least 5% better.

“Can’t Hurt Me” – Wow, WHAT A CRAZY DUDE! I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard of anyone accomplishing as much as this guy has. After reading, I sat down, reevaluated what’s important in my life and put together a plan to get more out of out of it. If one man can accomplish so much in the face of so much adversity, can’t I just give 5% more each week?

Birth- David was born in 1975 into what most anyone would consider being complete chaos. His father, Trunnis, was tyrannical and brutally abusive to him, his brother and Mother. In his own words, Goggins said, repeatedly, that his father would “beath the Fu*k out of him” regularly. Trunnis owned a disco skate rink, and the whole family had to work until midnight every night without pay. They then had to carry on their own lives. This made the kids fail miserably in school.

Teenage years- At the age of 8, he was able to escape, with his mom, and go live in public housing on a part-time job and $123/month welfare check. They were DEAD BROKE. This along with all the other hardships he faced including racism, he developed a stutter due to chronic stress. This also caused his memory to be nonexistent and he had to be placed in a special education class. To get by, he cheated his way through which led him to be essentially illiterate well into high-school.

High School- During his highs cool years, an Air Force Pararescueman came and spoke to his class. This was the first real introduction that David had to any form a role model and he latched on. He decided that’s what he wanted to be. He failed the entry test several times but was finally able to pass. His dream to become a pararescueman had two main issues, heights, and water- two of David’s greatest fears. He’d never really swam before. So, he naturally took the easy route after a test came back that he had the sickle-cell trait and decided to give this dream up.

Earl 20’s – The next step in his insane journey was becoming a bug man. Yep, he worked for Ecolab spraying restaurants for bugs. During this time, he entirely gave up on his physical self. The eating routine in the book is absolutely insane. It included stopping and getting a large milkshake and an entire box of doughnuts (as breakfast one). Then he’d go to his mother’s house where she’d prepared him a full pan of cinnamon rolls, eggs, bacon, cereal, etc. He was eating without control and quickly blew up to over 300 lbs.

The SEALS- He was sitting in his recliner after his shift one day when he saw a show (I think it was on Discovery) about the SEALs and decided that day that is what he wanted to do. He finally found an entrance because he’d been in the air force, but there was one problem. He’d have to lose 100 lbs in 3 months just to qualify for the course.

He started out with trying to run one mile. Ran about 200 yards and quit. Went home, grabbed a milkshake and watched TV. He went through this process of stating, failing and giving up several times before he finally started to make some progress. He then started shaving his head every day and creating his “accountability mirror:” This is where he would put post-it notes on his bathroom mirror to keep his goals right in front of him. In an act of unbelievable metamorphosis, he got his weight down and went into BUD/S

He went through BUD/S three times and finally made it the third time. You’ve got to read the stories here of how he hardened his mind and body, ran on broken legs, and finally made it out the third time. It’s truly remarkable what the body can do when the mind will allow it. He had hit his first ever major goal in life. He was a SEAL.

Ultra Runner- After going through three BUD/S and becoming the elite of the elite, he then decided he wanted more challenges. So naturally (not), he decided to run ultramarathons (at least 26.2 miles, but generally much, much further). The first ever ultra he ran was Badwater 135 (please read that link, it’s insane) to raise money for the family of the guys killed in Operation Red Wings, known as the “One of the worst days in Special Operations History.” Even though he was SEAL, had completed BUD/S 3x, the race director, Chris Kostman, didn’t care and said he had to run 100 miles before he would let him apply.

So, naturally, he agreed. And set out to complete the San Diego 100 with absolutely zero training for the previous several months. He said the only cardio he’d actually done was 20 minutes on an elliptical a couple of days a week. And more insanely, in addition to that, the night before the race, he went into the weight room and a fellow SEAL was there who challenged him to a weight lift-off, and so they maxed squats and deadlifts the NIGHT BEFORE THE RACE. Obviously, this guy is insane.

So the next morning, armed with Myploex and Ritz crackers (A HORRIBLE ENDURANCE SPORTS DIET), he set out to complete. He ended up actually running 101 and shitting and pissing himself in the process. He pushed himself so far beyond his capabilities he was peeing blood in the tub that night. He completed it in 19 hours. UNREAL.

Once Chris Kostman heard he’d completed the race, he let him enter. He put tons of training and preparation in the race and finished 5th overall, raising a bunch of money in the process.

He then went on to beat the world record for a number of pullups in a 24 hour period (4,200) although he is not built for it. He failed twice and went into complete rhabdo (it’s bad) and turned his hands into hamburger meat.

He then found out he had a hole in his heart that required two surgeries to fix. YEA, during all of that, he wasn’t getting the correct amount of oxygen that everyone else was getting.

I also forgot to mention that he went to Ranger school and passed and then failed twice at getting into delta force, once because he blew his ankle out and one because he stopped paying attention.

He was also a poster child for the Navy and was a recruitment officer touring the nation speaking to highschools. This prepared him to become a motivational speaker later in life .

Key Takeaways:

  • Hard work trumps everything. There are no excuses. You control your destiny.
  • Purpose Trumps motivation– David believes that “motivation is CRAP.” It is what you get from watching Rocky. It also fades away. Purpose doesn’t. Purpose drives you when no one else is watching.
  • The 40% rule– your mind is wired to stop you when you’ve only given 40% as a mechanism to protect yourself. You can push further than you thought possible. Try getting better just 5% each week.
  • After Action Reports (AARs)– take your failures and use them to your advantage. What went right? What went wrong? How can I do it better next time? Take this same approach to ANYTHING in life! I was taught this after working under a SEAL, and I still do it today.
  • Your “Cookie Jar” – this is the place where you put all the failures, all the setbacks, or anything negative in your life. When things get hard, go inside your cookie jar and use that at your FUEL TO KEEP GOING!
  • Deconstruct Things– anything can be accomplished when broken down into smaller steps. Take any of your major goals and break it down into 5 steps. If those are still insurmountable, break those 5 down again in two 2 steps each. Take small, posibitve actions in the right direction. You will get to a place where things are easy to accomplish. Once you start knocking them out, it will breed momentum.

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