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“Can’t Hurt Me”, A Story of True Transformation

david goggins motivation

there's a david goggins living inside all of us

There is undeniably no shortage of motivational, self-help and spiritual books available. Many of the best have been contributed by the likes of Eckhart Tolle, Brené Brown, Deepak Chopra, Wayne W. Dryer and Pema Chödrön. These very authors occupy the majority of the GB in our audiobook libraries, and have provided tremendous guidance on our paths to becoming the best versions of ourselves–something that is ingrained in our ethos at Veré.

Over the recent year, we have immersed ourselves in a dozen of these inspiring books. While each one has been instrumental in our personal growth, there is one book in particular that has been acutely transformative in our lives. For those who may be unaware of this amazing human, let us introduce you to the man, the myth, the legend–David Goggins, author of Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Minds and Defy the Odds.

Who is David Goggins?

David Goggins Can't Hurt Me

He is a former US Navy Seal, an ultra endurance athlete, and a world record holder for maximum number of push ups in 24 hours, among so many other titles. In a nutshell, he is a real life superhero. However, he didn’t become the David Goggins he is today by not traversing through the depths of hell first. 

In his autobiography Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds he candidly describes a childhood that was consumed by poverty, prejudice and physical abuse. David Goggins’ story is one of great hardship and great triumph, and he shares his experiences, tactics and methods on how he has become mentally tougher. 

His larger-than-life story carves a path that we all can follow to maximize our potential. The path, albeit no easy road, is sure to lead to true transformation. We encourage you to listen to the audiobook on your morning commute and we promise you will be all the better–we are.

The book is loaded with tools to strengthen your self-discipline and toughen your mental fortitude, and here are some of the tactics that we have personally instilled in our lives:

1. Remove the governor

In older vehicles, car manufacturers used an electronic apparatus–the governor–to limit the stream of fuel and air into the motor. This inhibited the car from running too hard and from reaching a specific speed, typically 100 mph. 

David Goggins applies this governor concept to our minds as we have a governor that limits our potential. Our mental governor imprisons us in the safety of our comfort zone and places limits on what we think we can and can not achieve.

If we want to achieve greatness and maximize our potential, we have to first remove the governor that is preventing us to do so. We have to challenge ourselves. We have to task risks. We have to step outside the safety of our comfort zone.

2. The 40% Rule

David Goggins’ 40% rule goes hand-in-hand with the governor. This rule implies that we only tap into 40% of our capability. 

Each day we are capable of achieving much more than we do. However, we have a tendency to the let the governor–our inner voice– stop us from taking risks and doing the more difficult action in an effort to protect us from pain. In reality it isn’t protecting us but harming us in the long-term and preventing us from becoming tougher mentally, physically and spiritually.

David Goggins 40% rule

3. the cookie jar

Most of us “lock” away the bad things that we have experienced for fear of the pain. However, David Goggins encourages us to use those situations as the fuel we need to conquer new challenges and feats. 

“The cookie jar is a place in my mind where I put all things bad and good that shaped me. Some people try to forget the bad in their life. I use my bad for strength when needed, great lessons learned. In that cookie jar, I pull out whatever I need for the task at hand.” – David Goggins. 

4. Callus Your Mind Every Single Day

David Goggins Callus Your Mind

The Mayo Clinic defines a callus as “thick, hardened layers of skin that develop when your skin tries to protect itself against friction and pressure.” We often see calluses on the palms of weightlifters and CrossFit trainers from the friction of the weights. Similarly, we see calluses on the fingertips of guitar players from putting constant pressure on the metal string against the surface of the guitar. 

The more weight that is lifted, the more calluses and the more the guitar is played, the more calluses. These calluses are ancillary to the actions and enable us to continuously get stronger and more skilled. 

See where we are going with this? 

David Goggins applies this concept to the mind. We have to do something everyday that challenges us, that makes us uncomfortable. With this daily practice we will strengthen our mental fortitude and resilience to handle whatever life throws our way. 

Our Top 20 David Goggins’ quotes and words to live by

David Goggins is savage! He is living proof that we can do anything we set our minds to. We just have to take action and sometimes the right words can evoke that action. We hope you find just as much inspiration in these words as we do: 

  1. “As humans, we’re reading books everyday to try to figure out how to be someone else. What we don’t do is go inside, turn ourselves inside out, and read our own story. You have to look inside to find out what you really want.” – David Goggins
  2. “You gotta start your journey. It may suck, but eventually you will come out the other side on top.” – David Goggins
  3. “The things that we decide to run from are the truth. When you make excuses, you’re running from the truth.” – David Goggins
  4. “Every time I get ‘poopy pants’ or the ‘woe is me’ mentality or I start to think ‘man, life sucks’, I go into my cookie jar and pull out a memory to remind myself that I am a f*cking badass. I put it back in the cookie jar and remember who the f*ck I really am. ” – David Goggins

5.“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.” – David Goggins

David Goggins Before & After

6. “I want you to know that I’m comfortable being very uncomfortable.” – David Goggins

7. “If you can get through doing things that you hate to do, on the other side is greatness.” – David Goggins

8. “The reason why I put myself through the things I hate doing is because I am callusing my mind. I’m training for life so that when something tragic happens in my life, I don’t fall apart. I’m training my mind, my body, my spirit so it’s all one so that I can handle whatever life is going to throw at me.” – David Goggins

9. “No matter what avenue I choose, I want to be the very best. And, the very best may not be #1, but the very best may be ‘Did I leave everything inside of me out there?’” – David Goggins

10. “The mind is the most powerful thing in the world. The mind has capabilities that are so unknown, and being able to tap into that is on the other side of suffering.” – David Goggins

David Goggins Strengthen Your Mind
  1. “I’m a big believer of doing something that sucks every single day of your life. I believe it’s a key component into strengthening your mind.” – David Goggins
  2. “Everyday you’re trying to find more of what you’re capable of–and that’s the big question. What are you capable of? Stop doing the things that you do everyday. If you run everyday, go swim.” – David Goggins
  3. “At the end of the day, hard work may not be enough. You still may fail. But you keep going out there and go after it.” – David Goggins
  4. “They see me now as the guy who can do 4,000 pull-ups in 24 hours, but what they don’t understand is the journey that got me to this point. Before this, I was the exact opposite of the person I am today.” – David Goggins
  5. “Everybody wants a quick fix like 6 minute abs–you may get some results from it, but those results won’t be permanent. The permanent results come from you having to suffer.” – David Goggins
David Goggins Ultra Endurance Athlete

16. “Nobody cares what you did yesterday. What have you done today to better yourself?” – David Goggins

17. “Every morning in our lives, we have a choice to make. You have the choice to stay in bed and say ‘Forget it, I’m not going to work out today.’ or ‘Forget it, I’m not going to work hard today.’ That’s your choice that you make every single day of your life. Make the right decision.” – David Goggins

18. “Life is a battle between trying to find more of yourself knowing that the real you is afraid, likes comfort, likes to be patted on the back, and doing what you need to do to get better.” – David Goggins

19. “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.” – David Goggins

20. “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.” – David Goggins

Special thanks to Joe Rogan

We were first introduced to David Goggins through Joe Rogan’s podcast so a big shout out to him for spreading the good word! You can listen to the episodes below and we promise it will make your commute or workout that much more enlightening: 

Joe Rogan’s Podcast 1080

Joe Rogan’s Podcast 1212

find your spark and ignite it

Everyday we have the opportunity to change our narrative and we have experienced this firsthand by integrating some of David Goggins’ tactics and tools into our daily lives. We found our spark and we hope you find yours!

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