Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds

Self-doubt: lack of confidence in oneself and one’s abilities.

Severe self-doubt can drag you down by filling your mind with negative backtalk. As you feel worse about yourself, the less likely you become to fulfill your potential. A majority of people never rise above self-imposed mediocrity and stay wallowing in self-limiting beliefs. Everyone you admire probably struggles with this issue, both now and in the past.

Enter David Goggins.

What makes a man exceptional? The answer differs with everyone you ask. According to Goggins, he is not exceptional. He merely chose to rise above the limitations set upon him by society and his mind.

Growing up, Goggins experienced terrible abuse at the hands of his father. Forced child labor, poor schooling, and racism marred his early existence. As an African-American child in the Midwest, he struggled to fit in with the mostly homogeneous Caucasian population. After spending some time in the “big city”, Goggins adopted the low slung pant, rapper swagger look that was popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. This did not endear him anymore to his peers. Instead, it acted as armour and a defense against a lack of social acceptance.  Knowing he would never get into college, Goggins chose to enlist in the Air Force after seeing a demonstration from the Air Force paratroopers at a school event.

However, due to his lackluster approach to education, he scored exceptionally low on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery exam. Instead of joining the paratroopers, he became an exterminator. Four years later, he is drummed out of the service and becomes an exterminator.

Depressed, his weight shoots up to 300 pounds and he spends his days chasing bugs and eating absurd amounts of food. This trend probably would have continued in perpetuity. Except. One day, he turned on the television and saw a documentary on the NAVY Seals. That day, he decided to change his life.

Over the course of a year, Goggins loses close to 190 pounds, studies hard and passes the ASVAB test to qualify for the chance to go to Hell Week.

Goggins goes through Hell Week three times before graduating as a NAVY Seal. Yet none of these accomplishments are enough. Soon he takes on ultramarathon running, which involves running 100+ miles in 24 hours. The hardest ultramarathon is known as the Badwater 100. Most people train for years before qualifying for this race. Goggins qualifies in less than 6 months, mainly through sheer determination and stubbornness.

The book oscillates between autobiography and self-motivation. Goggins pulls no punches when challenging people’s self-beliefs about themselves. Negative self-talk and self-defeating behavior will always drag you down. If you can learn mental toughness, then a whole world of opportunities opens up.

If you are looking for some inspiration or are interested in ultra marathon running, Cant Hurt Me fits the bill. After reading about all the obstacles Goggins’ overcame, you will rethink all the excuses you use to hold yourself back.

Themes Explored: nonfiction, biography, autobiography, psychology, personal development, self-help, Navy Seals, Hell Week, ultramarathon running, marathons, ultramarathons, Badwater 100

Synopsis: 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. The only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, he went on to set records in numerous endurance events, inspiring Outside magazine to name him “The Fittest (Real) Man in America.” (Adapted from Goodreads)

Can’t Hurt Me, Lioncrest Publishing, 2018, ISBN: 9781544512280

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