Can’t Hurt Me Review: How to find strength in suffering

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Why David Goggins?

On the other side of suffering, is greatness. 

David Goggins

When I first heard about David Goggins a few years ago, truth be told I dismissed him as a jarhead. I thought he must be as dumb as a rock to have had such poor training methods that he essentially broke his body. My opinion changed some time later when I learned more about David’s life and just how shitty a hand he had been dealt.

If you think you’ve had it tough, chances are when you learn about David’s life you’ll be utterly embarrassed about the excuses you’ve made to justify your under performance in life. 

David goggins can

Motivation is crap. Motivation comes and goes. When you’re driven, whatever is in front of you will get destroyed.

David Goggins

You also might be wondering whether you want to learn anything useful from a guy that seems so angry and pushes himself to such extremes. David claims that he isn’t angry and instead is at peace; I tend to believe him. 

You must go to war with yourself before you can find peace.

David Goggins

How about this quote for a jarhead?

The Buddha famously said that life is suffering. I’m not a Buddhist, but I know what he meant and so do you. To exist in this world, we must contend with humiliation, broken dreams, sadness, and loss. That’s just nature. Each specific life comes with its own personalised portion of pain. It’s coming for you. You can’t stop it. And you know it.

David Goggins

I’m not interested in becoming a Navy SEAL or an ultra marathon runner so why should I bother reading ‘Can’t Hurt Me’?  

He’s an ex-military guy, who does loads of crazy exercises. I don’t need to read a whole book about that do I?

Hopefully, I can help people that believe that they’re much less than what they truly are; help them find greatness in themselves. Greatness isn’t running 200 miles at a time, or doing 4000 pull-ups, or being a SEAL. Greatness is whatever the hell you dreamed of in your own mind.  You got to first see it; first create this vision in your mind and then that’s where I come into play. Once you create this vision in your mind, it’s how I’m going to get there now? The vision you create is inside of you. Until you create that, I’m nobody to you. 

David Goggins

Whether you’re an avid reader, or haven’t read a book since high school you will almost certainly benefit from ‘Can’t Hurt Me’ provided you have even a little bit of grit in you; just a little bit of fight and spirit to overcome obstacles and achieve your potential. 

Can’t Hurt Me‘ is simply phenomenal. To describe it as entertaining would be a disservice; it’s awe inspiring and shows that a person can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles in order to self better themselves.

Self talk and visualisation are the two keys to my success.

David Goggins

Who ‘Can’t Hurt Me’ is not for 

This book is not for people who blame their circumstances on their upbringing, society, or other people.  It’s not for people who are obsessed with hacks, techniques and tricks to improve their life or people who prefer a scientific approach to self improvement. 

David shows you how he conquered his mind with brute force of will. 

Can’t Hurt Me’ is for those who are ready to take 100% responsibility for their lives. 

It’s not your fault, but you are responsible for fixing it.

David Goggins

I don’t have time to read this or if I do, I’ll probably not read the whole thing.

While you can get a pretty good handle on David’s life and his message by listening to podcasts like the one he did with Rich Roll:

the two he did with Joe Rogan:

and the one with Tom Bilyeu:

the book really takes you on a personal journey through David’s life and, as a result, makes his message all the more vivid. 

Also, ‘Can’t Hurt Me‘ is available in audiobook format! I went for a couple of long cycle rides listening to it and my monotonous cardio training time flew by.

In fact, the audiobook format is a real bonus; it’s pleasantly narrated by Adam Skolnick and also involves short snippets with David at the end of a chapter where he and Adam discuss the key takeaways.  

It’s replete with expletives, something I normally really don’t appreciate or tolerate, but on this occasion I made an exception as I accept David’s explanation of his use of expletives as necessary to convey the unpleasantness of his existence and the rawness of his emotional state. 

The most important conversation is the one that you have with yourself.

David Goggins

The 10 Challenges in ‘Can’t Hurt Me’

‘Can’t Hurt Me’ includes ten challenges to help you reflect on your life and challenges and is a great way to integrate the book’s messages into your thinking. Here is a very brief gist of each of the challenges; obviously there’s more detail in the book which will help you complete the exercises:

Challenge #1: Your Inventory of Excuses

Write down everything that you think is limiting your growth and success. List all the things that have really hurt you. What are all the excuses why you shouldn’t amount to a damn thing? This list of excuses will fuel your future success.

Challenge #2: ‘The Accountability Mirror’

Write your dreams and goals on post-its and put them on your mirror so that you look at yourself each morning. 

You’ll need to hold yourself accountable each morning for the small steps it will take to get there. Each step should be written as its own note.  If you’re trying to lose weight, your first post-it may be to lose two pounds in the first week. Once that goal is achieved, remove the note and post the next goal of two pounds until your ultimate goal is realized.

Self-improvement takes self-discipline. The Accountability Mirror is going to reveal that truth to you every day.

Challenge #3: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone – ‘The Calloused Mind’ 

Write down all the things you don’t like to do or that make you uncomfortable be it big of very small. Now go do one of them, and do it again, and again, and again.  

The more often you get uncomfortable the stronger you will become, and soon you will develop a can-do mindset; a ‘calloused mind’. 

Challenge #4: ‘Take Souls’ When You Compete

In a competitive situation, work harder than you’ve ever worked before.   Check out the hardest worker in the room and work harder. Check out who is training with the most intensity in the gym and go beyond that person. 

You’ve got to really lay it on and dig very deep until your efforts are noticed.  As others quit or tell you to slow down, you’ll work harder and go faster. You’ll see their negative beliefs about you disappear; you’ll take their soul.  

Challenge #5: Visualize Your Goals

Stop focusing on things you can’t change and instead focus on things you can change; yourself! Imagine what this success will look and feel like. Visualise yourself overcoming your current setbacks and challenges. Visualise with your daily encounter with your accountability mirror.

Then stop visualising and go do something to move you toward your goals!

Challenge #6: ‘The Cookie Jar’ – Reflect on Your Achievements

Write out all your achievements and obstacles you’ve overcome – think about it – you have some! 

Remember what it felt like to overcome that.  

Remember what you were once capable of doing and channeling that energy to succeed again. Now get to work! 

Challenge #7: Remove the Governor – You’re Currently Limited to 40% of Your Max!

Most of us give up when we’ve only given around 40% of our maximum effort. Even when we feel like we’ve reached our absolute limit, we still have 60% more to give! That’s the ‘governor’ in our brain trying to save energy for a real fight or flight situation. 

The next time you’re tired and you want to stop exercising or studying or whatever, realise that you have 60% more to give!  So go a bit longer; give 5 or 10% more, do one more; condition your body and mind to last a little longer and then keep resetting that baseline upwards. 

Challenge #8: Scheduling

This lasts 3 weeks; for the first week record everything you do and how much time you spend doing it.  You’ll realise that you’re wasting a lot of time but you’ve got to do the recording to see where you’re wasting it. 

In the second week you should have a rough schedule of everything you need to do with a specific time allocated against it. Focus on one thing at a time. When it’s time to rest, actually rest. No checking email or bullshitting on social media. 

In week three you can refine your schedule based on your experience of week two. 

Challenge #9: Be Uncommon Amongst The Uncommon

Don’t get comfortable, don’t settle into your achievements. To be uncommon amongst the uncommon you’ll have to sustain greatness; you’ll have to keep pushing yourself to improve past the point others want to enjoy the fruits of their efforts.

Get a better peer group. If you’re already in an elite group, then what do you have to do to be the number 1 guy?

Challenge #10: Review your ‘FAILURES’ 

Change the way you view ‘failure’. Force yourself to learn from it.  Write out everything that happened, good and bad and study it – really think about it. Think about how you can fix it; then schedule some time to have another go at it asap. Repeat and repeat again until you get better. 

Get ‘Can’t Hurt Me’ Book/AudioBook Now and Get Inspired! 

You have to go into a very quiet place in your mind, away from the noise of the world, the noise of doubters, insecurities and your own self.  You have to quiet your disbelief and create open mindedness to your own ability to succeed and overcome.

David Goggins

David is a self made man so consider getting his book directly from his website at: 

If you liked this summary of Can’t Hurt Me, check out some other summaries of our favourite personal development, inspirational, motivational, practical psychology and business books here.