Can't Hurt Me is one of the best - if not the best book that I've ever read. This is a memoir written by David Goggins, who is labeled as "The Toughest Man Alive." David came from the depths up hell as a child (was beaten, ridiculed, oppressed, had no guidance) and when he hit 300 pounds, he had the impossible goal of becoming a Navy SEAL.
"You have to be willing to suffer to get to the other side."
Goggins grew up what he calls, "soft"and describes the physical and mental beatings he and his mother received from his alcoholic father and how it "cracked" his foundation for life. After years of torture, David and his mother were able to flee from his father and move to a small town where he was one of few blacks and called a nigger by most of his classmates. This created issues for David in dealing with people, it made him lose confidence in himself, and even led to developing a stutter due to his increased levels of social anxiety. A learning disability compelled him to cheat at school and to cut corners in life. His foundation continued to "cracked" by one thing after another. He felt like a victim and had everyone and everything to blame for his shitty life. But one day everything changed. He was able to overcome this "victim mentality" by callousing the mind. He learned to outwork everybody around him and achieve greatness in a unique way which was by purposely adding constant friction in his life. His approach was that when he got close to being on top of the mountain, he would deliberately fall back down to the bottom. This is because he believes true growth means starting from scratch. He doesn't compete against everyone else, he only competes with himself. This was the new foundation for his life and what empowers him to overcome all odds and achieve the impossible.
"When you look in the mirror that's the one person you cannot lie to."
Everybody loves a 'Rocky' story. The underdog everyone is betting against who perseveres and rises to the top. Goggins describes how you have to create your own Rocky story by working your ass off and "go the distance." It's not always about winning, it's about finishing something you started and pushing thru all the pain and to never quit. When Goggins hit 300 pounds, he made the decision to try and become a Navy SEAL. Because of his weight and the fact that he was black (only 35 blacks had ever become a SEAL) he was told "no" by every recruiter he saw except one. In order to be admitted, he had to lose 110 pounds in 3 months which is unprecedented. Goggins did it. This was only the beginning as now the real fun begun. Hell Week. Hell Week is the third week of SEALS training involving five and-a-half days of true "living hell." Every evolution of Hell Week involves the team (boat crew) carrying boats (inflatable rubber Zodiacs) on their heads as they train for 20 hours a day while wet, sleep deprived (only 4 hours of total sleep allowed for the week), and frozen to the bone. You can quit at any time by ringing the bell. 80% of men who go thru SEAL training do just that. Not Goggins however. He went thru 3 Hell Weeks in one year (only person ever) and in his 3rd attempt, got through it on broken legs. Literally! You run over 200 miles during Hell Week and 80% of men can't complete this on unbroken legs. If you are like me, you are thinking, "how the hell did this guy do this?" His mindset is that you can overcome any obstacle by callousing your brain. When times get tough, your mind spazzes out and you forget how badass you truly are. Goggins taps into what he calls his "Cookie Jar." The Cookie Jar is a jar filled with everything you have overcome in your life. When you are in your worst moment you can take from the cookie jar to help you get you thru it. Whatever you are doing is never as hard as what you've already conquered. It's a reminder of how you got to where you are and helps you overcome all the odds and live life by the "What if" mentality and know that pain is only temporary.
"You cannot do this. But WHAT IF I COULD?"
What drives Goggins to be his very best is to understand that it's a never ending journey. David became a top Navy SEAL but didn't stop there. He constantly challenges himself and adds friction in his everyday life on purpose. What could be as hard as SEAL training? In the Army, it's Ranger school. The Army's most elite are the Army Ranger's and no SEAL has ever become an Army Ranger until, of course, David Goggins. The guy is obsessed. He goes onto accomplishing a magnitude of feats that each by it's own is beyond incredible and near impossible. He feels that most everyone becomes only a fraction of what they are capable of being. Losing the 110 pounds could have been his 100%. Becoming a Navy SEAL could have been his 100%. Becoming an Army Ranger could have been his 100%. Breaking the Guiness Book of World Records for pull ups in a 24 hour period (4,030 pull ups), running a 200 mile race without stopping, winning the Infinitus 88k (54 miles in 12 hours), winning the Ultra 50k, winning the McNaughton 150 miler, finishing 3rd in Bad Water UltraMarathon (known as the most brutal race in the world), etc. could have been his 100%. He is always trying to find MORE of himself.
"Do something everyday that sucks."
We try to live by the advice, "Triple down on your strengths." Goggins doesn't believe in this. If you are good at running, you will run. If you are good at basketball, you will play basketball. This leads to excuses. It forces you to not do something else because you, "aren't good at it," when instead we should say, "I'm gonna be great at it," and figure out how to put in the work to make it happen. Goggins will tell you to, "get comfortable being uncomfortable," and know you can't fix anything in life until you fix yourself. Instead, triple down on your weaknesses - that's how you will stop making up excuses. "Suffering is the true test of life."Can't Hurt Me is not a 5 step program, it's about getting to the root of the problem and the root of the problem is YOURSELF. This book will teach you how to master your own mind and be able to overcome anything by telling yourself, "YOU CAN'T HURT ME!" When you tell yourself this over and over, and you put the work in, it starts to become the truth. Self talk without the work is just a lie.
"The other side of suffering is a world that most people don't even know exists."