Home » Blog » ‘Can’t Hurt Me’ – October 2020 Book of The Month

By David Goggins

Wow! Not only did this book inspire me, it was also a great mental and emotional work-out, which means that I learned something significant! 
David Goggins’ life story demonstrates the expansion of human potential beyond the traditionally assumed limitations. His mind mastery took him from a ‘clinically obese couch potato’ to a ‘highly accomplished elite Navy Seal’ and a ‘world-class endurance athlete’!

I have to thank a client of mine Pernille and her son for recommending this book (please keep those recommendations coming in). Pernille’s son Theo read the book and put it into practice in a big way!  He has become a junior pro cyclist and his performance improvements recently got him selected to race for the British cycling team!  Well done to him!  

This book takes us on the remarkable journey of a man who transformed his life completely by ‘changing how he thought’!  

“Pain is an inevitable part of life, but by taking ownership of who you are and seeking out pain, YOU get to choose your form of pain.”… ‘YOU BECOME THE CAPTAIN OF YOUR OWN SHIP!’ This is in essence what this book is about!

Goggins had an incredibly challenging childhood, his father relentlessly and systematically beat him, his brother and his mother until he was 12 years old and his mother managed to escape from the torturous family home. After a childhood filled with unusually high levels of pain and tragedy, as a young man Goggins became a ‘severely overweight coach potato’ tipping the scales at 260 pounds (120 kilos).  From this unlikely start in life he transformed his life and his body to eventually become an elite soldier and one of most accomplished US Navy Seals in history. 

The point of transformation that Goggins emphasises in the book is the point where ‘I took ownership of everything about who I was and everything I had done. I realised that the buck stopped with me and only I could get myself out of this!’

After mentally, emotionally and spiritually taking ownership of his life Goggins transformation started. He developed the mental toughness to ‘look forward to physical pain’. Whilst this ‘pain seeking’ may sound a little weird, I know this to be true for myself and so many clients I have worked with, if you try and avoid pain, it will still find you in whatever form it chooses. 

Goggin’s understands that when we embrace any challenge / pain, be it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual it enables us to grow to be more inspired and more fulfilled.

As well as earning his place in the elite US Navy Seals where he excelled, Goggins competed internationally at the highest level in some of THE most difficult ultra-marathon and endurance races ever devised!  Goggins repeatedly states that ‘he has very little natural talent’, he puts his success 90 percent down to his mindset. He says that everyone has a ‘General’ in their mind that dictates the limit of their capabilities and very few individuals ever go beyond this limit, but he believes ANYONE can!  If you are prepared to put in the consistent incremental work and believe you can overcome this ‘General’ in your mind you will find another 40 percent performance beyond what you and most other people believed was possible. As much as any other author I have learned from Goggins walks his talk, in just 14 years so far he has competed in world class fields in 45 of the world’s toughest races including the 100 mile Hurt 100 twice, The Ultra race of Champions, Hellgate and the mind-bendingly difficult 64 mile Frozen Otter Ultra Trek which he won!  

Some of his stories are not for the feint hearted, the broken bones, the burst blisters, the blood and the death of colleagues. His stories are as real and painful and fascinating as they are inspiring.  In the book he describes one occasion when he ran 100 miles on broken legs, he really digs into the details of the mental battles that enabled him to do something that most rational people would believe is not humanly possible!  

To cap all of these physical achievements, Goggins did something no traditional endurance athlete had ever attempted, a world record pull up record!  The world record in 2016 was 4,020 pull ups in 24 hours He failed on 

What I most love about this book is the author’s stories of overcoming physical, mental and emotional pain the author really does ‘bare his soul’ with no holes barred.  He does not make himself out to be some exceptional hero, he simply tells things as they are in his own language and style, he does not care at all about ‘being popular’ he is someone who clearly understands the power of authenticity.

My favourite quote from David Goggins is “In order to find inner peace, you have to go to war with yourself.” To really understand this quote you have to read the book.

Not only do I highly recommend this book, I also recommend the audiobook which has loads of extra podcast style material and includes Adam Skolnick who helped Goggins write the book and in the process became good friends with him. As I listened, I was inspired by the special chemistry of their conversations which is a great bonus in the extended audiobook. 

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