David Goggins grew up in hell; Trunnis Goggins, his father, forced him to work nightly at his roller skating rink, causing constant sleep deprivation. His father also consistently physically abused Goggins and his mother, resulting in a nonstop state of stress and creating lifelong trauma.
Eventually, they escaped from his father and fled to his mother's hometown in rural Indiana. This put them into another terrible situation, however, as many of the citizens of their new town were incredibly racist in the 1980s and were confirmed members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Goggins fought several battles against racism during his teenage years. He once found "[n-word] we're going to kill you!" written in one of his textbooks. Another time, he was walking home from school, when a group of men pulled over next to him. One of them stepped out of their truck and pointed a gun at his head, asking him where he was from and why he was in this town.
Because of his traumatic upbringing, Goggins abandoned his education and quickly devolved into a sedentary, unhappy lifestyle. He worked as an exterminator, constantly inhaling noxious gasses and slowly gaining hundreds of pounds.
One day, Goggins turned on the TV and watched a recruitment advertisement for the Navy SEALS. He immediately realized that he hated his current lifestyle, and that this could be his way out. However, he needed to lose over 100 pounds in a little over a month. He accomplished this through pure hard work and determination, claiming that on an average day he would "wake up at 4:30 am...run six miles a day, bicycle over twenty miles, and swim more than two" This was the first of many impossible challenges that Goggins would complete over the next several decades.
Throughout his years, Goggins made many unbelievable accomplishments; he completed the Navy SEALS Hell Week three separate times, twice on broken legs. He ran over 100 miles straight with no training, and later completed over 20 ultramarathons. In 2013, he broke the world record for the most pull-ups completed in 24 hours, finishing 4030 pull-ups in 17 hours.
Goggins attributes these incredible feats to his iron willpower and his addiction to hard work. In his memoir, Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds, Goggins displays his life story and explains the mindset he needed to defeat every challenge that came his way.
Goggins's story was incredibly heartfelt and motivational; while learning about his childhood, I came to realize just how privileged I am to have loving parents who raised me in a household of kindness, integrity, and responsibility.
I also started to practice a no excuses mindset. On several occasions, when I lacked the motivation to complete a task, I found myself thinking: if a man can run dozens of miles on broken legs, how can I rationalize not wanting to walk downstairs and get a workout in? This thought process and framework has allowed me to consistently gain the motivation to get up and simply get the job done.
One feature of this book that I appreciated was the very actionable advice at the end of every chapter; every time he talks about a unique aspect of his life, he directly follows it with some advice that you can act on almost instantly. For example, he discusses an accountability framework called the accountability mirror, which he used to motivate himself to work out every day when he aimed to lose those 100 pounds. These tips and tricks are very useful and I've incorporated several of them into my own life.
I would recommend this book to anyone who feels as if they are currently lacking motivation to face life's challenges; this story was helpful during these turbulent times, when it's especially difficult to practice gratitude, enthusiasm, and discipline.
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