Outside of my mentors and defining moments, books have accelerated my learning both professionally and personally, and I truly believe that reading is the single most important thing you can do to better yourself. In light of this, on Monday’s I will be reviewing a book that has impacted me.
Today’s Book is Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins
Summary of Book:
David Goggins is a retired Navy Seal and the only member of the U.S Armed Forces ever to complete Seal Training, U.S. Army Ranger School, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller training. He has competed in more than 60 Ultra-Marathons, triathlons, and ultra-triathlon, and set new course records, and finished in the top-5. He also holds the record for the completing 4,043 pull-ups in seventeen hours.
The most amazing thing about David Goggins is that he accomplished all the above with a hole in his heart along with multiple attempts at failing to complete most of his above accomplishments. He did not find this out till later in life, but miraculously survived all the strenuous activity he put on his body. Here are just a few of the things he failed at:
- Failed BUDS training twice trying to becoming a Navy Seal
- Ran a 100-mile race with three days of training which lead him to kidney failure
- On his first attempt to beat the world record attempt for pull-ups, he failed
- He was once weighed 300 pounds
The most amazing thing about David Goggins is that he used all of his failures as fuel to ultimately become what many claims as the fittest human being to ever walk this planet earth. I have to agree. Below are the eight lessons he teaches in his book:
Give your pain or challenge a shape, and flip it
No matter who you are, where you come from, how great you are, you will fail, you will feel pain, and at some point, you will face challenges that will make you question everything. It can happen early in your life, or later, but no matter you are going to be faced with an obstacle. For David, he uses a specific tactic to help flip the challenges he faces on their head, and ultimately use them as fuel to take action. The goal of this tactic is to simply acknowledge and accept the obstacles in your way and become fully aware of what is causing you pain.
- Buy a journal or a notebook
- Make a list of all the things that cause you pain and specific challenges you are faced with. Simply just write them down, and get them on a piece of paper
- Share with others who are close to you, it is important to acknowledge and accept it.
- Then, after writing start to prepare for how to overcome
Build your accountability mirror
What is the first thing you do in the morning? Look at your phone? Check your email? Lie in your bed staring at the wall? Well, what if you simply got out of bed and went straight to your bathroom mirror?
Every morning David wakes-up he stares at post-it notes on his mirror. He calls this the accountability Mirror. The mirror is filled with his goals and ambitions. Each morning he looks at himself in the mirror along with every goal he wanted to accomplish. It is a way to keep him honest, and every time he achieved his goals he would remove the post-it.
Pursue Excellence Only
Have you ever had a coach not give you playing time, or a boss not believe you could get that promotion. Instead of believing that maybe you CAN’T do it, or that maybe you are NOT good enough. You should use the anger, pain, and energy to prove them wrong.
If your coach won’t let you play in games, then dominate practice, spend extra time in the film room, and put in the extra effort. If your boss won’t give you more responsibility, then accomplish tasks before the deadline, work more hours then they do.
When it is time to deliver you need to exceed their expectations, and the only way to do that is to focus on what you control. Pursuing excellence is all about skill and effort which are two things in your control.
You are what you think – Think the worst, Think the best
Instead of focusing on things outside of your control, start visualizing everything that IS in your control. However, as David explains it’s not just about visualizing success, it is also about the challenges and potential pitfalls. You must visualize all outcomes that are possible to be fully prepared. And when you find your mind racing, and feel like you are losing control always come back to these important questions:
- Why are you doing this?
- What is driving you toward this achievement?
- Where does the darkness you’re using as fuel come from?
Take inventory of your cookie jar
David likes to use the term “Cookie Jar” as a way to refer to his past accomplishments and failures. The reason for this is that when he was a kid his mother would allow him to eat cookies as treats, and he struggled with weight issues at different times in his life. So, he refers to his cookie jar as his “jar full of failures, and accomplishments”, so he can always go back to remind himself of how far he has come.
From time to time, you need to schedule a time to go back to your journal from lesson #1. As you accomplish and overcome obstacles you need to add them to your list. You don’t want to discuss all the things you accomplished, but you want to write out the specific obstacles you overcame to achieve them. This will allow you to get the full story.
The 40% Rule
Life is just a huge mind game according to David, and the only person you are playing against is yourself. In our minds, we have what David refers to as the “Governer” buried deep in our mind that is intertwined with our identity. It controls how we perceive ourselves, how we believe others view us, and it makes us feel obstacles in our way cannot be beaten. David explains that he found ways to take control of the “governer” as he says we only use 40% of our maximum effort, and we always have another 60% to give. He calls this mindset the 40% rule. Just when you feel like you have had enough, know that you have only given 40% of your effort.
The best way to take command of your inner thoughts and strengthen your mind is to slowly start pushing yourself past limits. How you do this? Well, it is simply finding ways to push yourself just a little bit farther each time. A great example David uses is when you are running. Get to that point where you are in so much pain and your mind is telling you to stop. Go that extra 5 to 10 minutes. You will slowly start to find yourself pushing harder in other aspects of your life.
Be the Uncommon amongst Uncommon
Many people think once they reach a certain level or status that they should stop pushing. For David, he says greatness is not something that if you meet it once it stays with you forever. It evaporates quickly. If you truly want to be uncommon amongst uncommon you must achieve greatness for long periods of time. For him, it is a simple shift in your mindset. You must push to give everything you have and more, and continue to place obstacles in front of you to keep learning and growing. If you want to be in the 1%, than start to act like it.
Failure will and can empower you
Get out your journal again and write out all the failures you have experienced. First, start with everything that went well from your failures. What did you ultimately end up learning? Second, write down how you handled your failures. How did you prepare before you made that mistake? How did you prepare to get back up and keep fighting? Lastly, go back and find areas that you can improve and recreate them no matter if they happened years ago. It is important to be really honest with yourself and for David, he uses his failures as power and fuel to keep him highly motivated in any situation.
How This Book Has Impacted Me:
It proved to me that no matter who you have been in the past, no matter who you are today if you want to accomplish something you have the ability to do it. It is possible, you just need to make the choice to do it.
Now, Wake Up! It’s Day One. May the choice be with you.