Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds is a biography of a retired Navy SEAL, David Goggins.
Having listened to his audiobook and read the book, the strength of his book (on top of his remarkable achievements) is that he teamed up with an excellent writer, Adam Skolnick, whom I haven’t heard of until this book.
The book is written in an easy and super engaging way. There’s no fluff, difficult words or superficial expression.
It’s written in a way that fits a straight-talking guy, David Goggins, perfectly.
The writer portrays the real picture of David Goggins so well that, if you’re already familiar with him from various interviews on YouTube, you’ll see David Goggins come alive through every tale told in the book.
There’s no dissonance between David Goggins as you know, and the person in the book.
Think You Already Know All About Him?
If you’re a fan of him from those interviews, you’ll likely think you already know most of his stories.
So you may doubt whether the book would be of much value to you.
And I can tell you it would be a huge mistake thinking that way.
Prior to reading the book, I had felt exactly the same. But I’m really glad I read the book.
There’s a lot more in the book that’ll impress you further and kick you in the backside even more.
♠ Warning: you’ll find a fair bit of profanities in the book. If you have a strong feeling towards vulgar expression, you won’t like the book. I don’t swear, but I’m fine with movies or books that contain foul language. So I feel a little sad for people who might miss out because of the colourful language.
Sort videos by ‘Most popular‘. You’ll spot his interviews easily.
If you want “clean” interview with no swearing, Lewis Howes has one for you.
Every interview is great, but I hope you don’t stop there: buy the book.
Not Ordinary Self-Help Book
As I read David Goggins’ childhood traumatic events and, despite knowing some of his stories, I couldn’t believe I was reading a real-life story.
Some part of me thought it must be a fiction that unimaginable things described in the book could make more sense.
These things can’t possibly happen in real life!
That’s one thing that makes this book so different from other biographies or self-help books.
From abusive childhood in the hands of his own father to becoming one of the mentally strongest persons, he truly defied the odds without so much help, constantly going war with himself and mastering his mind.
He walks us through what he has gone through, how he did what he did and, at the end of each chapter, puts forward a challenge for you to take on.
Despite various difficulties and failures, there’s no self-pity or excuses but a resolution of a man who keeps pushing himself beyond his pain point and never stops to become the one warrior.
This is one of those books you can truly appreciate when you read, so I thoroughly recommend you borrow it from your local library or get it from Amazon and read it.
Highlights from the Book
I probably have most highlights from this book than any other books I’ve read, but I can’t include them all here due to Libby highlights not being downloadable (unlike Kindle).
By the time I graduated, I knew that the confidence I’d managed to develop didn’t come from a perfect family or God-given talent. It came from personal accountability which brought me self respect, and self respect will always light a way forward.
That’s when I first realised that not all physical and mental limitations are real, and that I had a habit of giving up way too soon.
… all that self-doubt and anxiety was confirmation that I was no longer living an aimless life.
Whenever I cut a run or 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. Either way there would be suffering. I had to choose between physical suffering in the moment, and the mental anguish of wondering if that one missed pull-up, that last lap in the pool, the quarter mile I skipped on the road or trail, would end up costing me on an opportunity of a lifetime. It was an easy choice. When it came to the SEALs, I wasn’t leaving anything up to chance.
I was a prisoner in my own mind.
… I ran as fast as I could for as long as I could, from a past that no longer defined me, toward a future undetermined. All I knew was that there would be pain and there would be a purpose. And that I was ready.
This one, like most battles we fight in life, would be won or lost in our own minds.
Hell Week was a mind game. The instructors used our suffering to pick and peel away our layers, not to find the fittest athletes. To find the strongest minds. That’s something the quitters didn’t understand until it was too late.
Everything in life is a mind game!
“Why am I here?” If you know that moment is coming and have your answer ready, you will be equipped to make the split-second decision to ignore your weakened mind and keep moving. Know why you’re in the fight to stay in the fight!
And never forget that all emotional and physical anguish is finite! It all ends eventually. Smile at pain and watch it fade for at least a second or two.
… the ticket to victory often comes down to bringing your very best when you feel your worst.
I stopped myself seeing as the victim of bad circumstance, and saw my life as the ultimate training ground instead. My disadvantages had been callousing my mind all along.
Remembering what you’ve been through and how that has strengthened your mindset can lift you out of a negative brain loop and help you bypass those weak, one-second impulses to give in so you can power through obstacles.
… if I was going to fix my broke-down life, I would have to become more!
To develop an armored mind – a mindset so calloused and hard that it becomes bulletproof – you need to go to the source of all your fears and insecurities.
I was my own worst enemy! It wasn’t the world, or God or the Devil that was out to get me. It was me!
The reason I embrace my own obsessions and demand and desire more of myself is because I’ve learned that it’s only when I push beyond pain and suffering, past my perceived limitations, that I’m capable of accomplishing more, physically and mentally – in endurance races but also in life as a whole.
… impulse is driven by your mind’s desire for comfort, and it’s not telling you the truth.
… if you stay with any task that is trying to beat you down, you will reap rewards.
I had hit the wall many times before, and I had learned to stay present and open minded enough to recalibrate my goals even at my lowest. I knew that staying in the fight is always the hardest, and most rewarding, first step.
… in every failure there is something to be gained, even if it’s only practice for the next test you’ll have to take. Because that next test is coming. That’s a guarantee.
… the battlefield for me was my own mind.
In the military, we always say we don’t rise to the level of expectations, we fall to the level of our training…
… stay in the fight! Stay in it long enough to find a foothold.
Victory was a cure-all.
My work ethic is the single most important factor in all of my accomplishments. Everything else is secondary…
… it’s fun to do what we’re great at.
It’s about wanting it like there’s no tomorrow – because there might not be.
… when it comes to mindset, it doesn’t matter where other people’s attention lies. I had my own uncommon standards to live up to.
We’re either getting better or we’re getting worse.
We can always become stronger and agile, mentally and physically. We can always become more capable and reliable. Since that’s the case we should never feel that our work is done. There is always more to do.
We are all fighting the same battle. All of us are torn between comfort and performance, between settling for mediocracy or being willing to suffer in order to become our best self…
… a failure is just a stepping stone to future success.
… as long as I remained in the fight, I still believed anything was possible.
We need to surround ourselves with people who will tell us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear, but at the same time not make us feel we’re up against the impossible.
Most wars are won or lost in our own heads…
You can’t let a simple failure derail your mission…
… all I’d ever wanted from it was to become successful in my own eyes.
… it’s not the external voice that will break you down. It’s what you tell yourself that matters. The most imiportant conversations you’ll ever have are the ones you’ll have with yourself. You wake up with them, you walk around with them, you go to bed with them, and eventually you act on them. Whether they be good or bad.
We are all our own worst haters and doubters becase self doubt is a natural reaction to any bold attempt to change your life for the better. You can’t stop it from bloomming in your brain, but you can neutralize it, and all the other external chatter by asking, What if?
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