Can’t Hurt Me is about how David Goggins transformed himself through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work. He details his personal tools like The Accountability Mirror, The Governor, The 40% Rule, The Cookie Jar and Taking Souls
He didn’t come from a perfect family or had God-given talent, he says “It came from personal accountability which brought me self respect, and self-respect will always light a way forward.”
“Very few people know how the bottom feels, but I do. It’s like quicksand. It grabs you, sucks you under, and won’t let go. When life is like that it’s easy to drift and continue to make the same comfortable choices that are killing you, over and over again.”
“You’re probably living at about 40 percent of your true capability.”
“Heraclitus, a philosopher born in the Persian Empire back in the fifth century BC, had it right when he wrote about men on the battlefield. ‘Out of every one hundred men,” he wrote, “ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior…’”
“From the time you take your first breath, you become eligible to die. You also become eligible to find your greatness and become the One Warrior. But it is up to you to equip yourself for the battle ahead.”
“Only you can master your mind, which is what it takes to live a bold life filled with accomplishments most people consider beyond their capability.”
“Human beings change through study, habit, and stories. Through my story, you will learn what the body and mind are capable of when they’re driven to maximum capacity, and how to get there. Because when you’re driven, whatever is in front of you, whether it’s racism, sexism, injuries, divorce, depression, obesity, tragedy, or poverty, becomes fuel for your metamorphosis.”
“I brainwashed myself into craving discomfort. If it was raining, I would go run. Whenever it started snowing, my mind would say, Get your fu*king 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. And being tough and resilient helped me meet my goals.”
“Everything in life is a mind game! Whenever we get swept under by life’s dramas, large and small, we are forgetting that no matter how bad the pain gets, no matter how harrowing the torture, all bad things end.”
Goggins’s Commanding Officer told him,
In a society where mediocrity is too often the standard and too often rewarded. There is an intense fascination with men who detest mediocrity, who refuse to define themselves in conventional terms, and who seek to transcend traditionally recognized human capabilities. This is exactly the type of person BUD/S is meant to find. The man who finds a way to complete each and every task to the best of his ability. The man who will adapt and overcome any and all obstacles.
Goggins began changing his life by speaking to himself in the mirror every night.
He writes, I set goals, wrote them on Post-It notes, and tagged them to what I now call the Accountability Mirror because each day I’d hold myself accountable to the goals I’d set. At first, my goals involved shaping up my appearance and accomplishing all my chores without having to be asked. […] [It] kept me on point from then on, and though I was still young when this strategy came through me, since then I’ve found it useful for people at any stage in life.
According to Goggins, like a car with a governor that places a ceiling on the car’s performance, we, too, have a governor that impedes us from reaching our true potential.
In his own words,Our governor is buried deep in our minds, intertwined with our very identity. It knows what and who we love and hate; it’s read our whole life story and forms the way we see ourselves and how we’d like to be seen. It’s the software that delivers personalized feedback—in the form of pain and exhaustion, but also fear and insecurity, and it uses all of that to encourage us to stop before we risk it all. But, here’s the thing, it doesn’t have absolute control. Unlike the governor in an engine, ours can’t stop us unless we buy into its bulls*t and agree to quit.
Goggins writes that many of us live at 40% of their true capability. Only when we callous our mind through stepping out of our comfort zone on a regular basis can we move beyond it.
He writes, Most of us give up when we’ve only given around 40 percent of our maximum effort. Even when we feel like we’ve reached our absolute limit, we still have 60 percent more to give! […] Once you know that to be true, it’s simply a matter of stretching your pain tolerance, letting go of your identity and all your self-limiting stories, so you can get to 60 percent, then 80 percent and beyond without giving up. I call this The 40% Rule, and the reason it’s so powerful is that if you follow it, you will unlock your mind to new levels of performance and excellence in sports and in life, and your rewards will run far deeper than mere material success.
Before eating a cookie as a child, Goggins always took the time to admire it first as a way of practicing gratitude. Today, “The Cookie Jar” is a concept he employs whenever he needs a reminder of who he is and what he’s capable of.
In his own words, We all have a cookie jar inside us, because life, being what it is, has always tested us. Even if you’re feeling low and beat down by life right now, I guarantee you can think of a time or two when you overcame odds and tasted success. It doesn’t have to be a big victory either. It can be something small.
On the toughest day of the hardest week in the world’s toughest training, Goggins tormented his instructors by motivating his team to push themselves harder.
Goggins coined the term “Taking Souls” after motivating himself to push him and his team harder as a means of getting inside his instructors’ heads.
He writes, Taking Souls is a ticket to finding your own reserve power and riding a second wind. It’s the tool you can call upon to win any competition or overcome every life obstacle. […] This is a tactic for you to be your best when duty calls. It’s a mind game you’re playing on yourself. Taking someone’s soul means you’ve gained a tactical advantage. Life is all about looking for tactical advantages.
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