Book Summary: Can't Hurt Me

You can achieve success regardless of your upbringing, or the cards life has given you.

David Goggins tells his experience. He shows you how to face reality, hold yourself accountable, push through suffering, learn to love what you fear. Furthermore, he shows how to embrace failure, live to your full potential, and discover who you truly are.

Goggins grew up in a pleasant suburban area in Buffalo, New York. His life appeared to be the American Dream on the surface. In actuality, though, it was a nightmare.

David spent every evening managing the concession stand or renting out skates for his father, Trunnis Goggins. The latter established one of Buffalo's earliest roller skating rinks. He would clean the rink with his mom and brother after Skateland closed at 10 p.m. before getting to sleep on the office sofa.

Trunnis cheated on his mother regularly and was physically and emotionally abusive. Still, she lacked the financial means to leave him. He used to beat David and his brother frequently.

Eventually, a neighbor pushed his mother to devise a plan to flee the country. She got a credit card and left Goggins. She drove David and his brother to her parent's home in Indiana, where they stayed for half a year.

He enrolled in a local Catholic school's second grade. His instructor spent extra hours with him because he was having trouble with his studies.

David and his mother got their own apartment. Trunnis Jr., his younger brother, returned to Buffalo a few months later to live with his father.

Challenge #1: Get a journal and write about the current factors limiting your growth and success.

A man take a pencil and start writing a note.

Wilmoth, a successful carpenter, was introduced to David's mother while he was in fourth grade. They were soon engaged.

He developed into a good father figure, but Wilmoth was tragically slain only weeks before they were due to relocate to Indianapolis with him. Regardless, David and his mother made the decision to relocate.

David got on the freshman basketball team after cheating his way through his first year of high school. He mingled around with a terrible crew. He and his family returned to Brazil, Indiana, where he was bullied and faced prejudice.

One day, a death threat was scribbled in his notebook, but even the principal refused to help him. When his automobile was damaged with racial insults, the principal was speechless once again.

After graduation, David intended to join the Air Force. Still, he failed the ASVAB, a standardized test used by the military to assess your knowledge and possible future.

He was on the verge of dropping out of high school, but he made the decision to get his act together. He established objectives for himself and held himself accountable to them.

He just worked out, played basketball, and studied during his final year. He failed the ASVAB once again, but the third time he took it, he passed.

Challenge #2: Write all of your insecurities, dreams, and goals on Post-Its and put them on your mirror.

Because he didn't learn to swim as a youngster, David suffered greatly with the swimming exams when he joined the Air Force.

The Air Force physicians discovered the Sickle Cell Trait, which was thought to increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest due to exertion at the time. They gave him the option of dropping out.

Instead, he spent his four years in the Tactical Air Control Party, where he was always humiliated. He hid his embarrassment in the gym and at the kitchen table, gaining 125 pounds in the process.

He saw a Navy SEAL commercial one day and realized he wanted to be a part of it. He phoned all of the active-duty recruiting offices until he located a nearby Naval Reserve unit that would accept him.

He needed to drop 106 pounds and get a 50 on the ASVAB. He accomplished these things after months of exercising and studying.

Challenge #3: Write down all the things you don't like to do or that make you uncomfortable. Now go do one of them.

A woman thinking very hard about what she don't like.

BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) training lasted six months and was broken down into three parts:

  1. Physical training is the first phase;
  2. Diving training is the next; and
  3. Land warfare training is the last.

The third week of training is Hell Week because it puts your physical and mental endurance to the test. It had been a hundred and thirty hours of excruciating pain and weariness. Hell Week was mostly a mental exercise.

This was when David came up with the notion of Taking Souls, which is based on the premise that you may locate your own reserve power to conquer any life challenge. Make a mental and physical inventory.

Make a list of your own and your opponent's anxieties and weaknesses. Master your flaws and exploit your competitors' flaws to your advantage. Never forget that every mental and physical suffering comes to an end at some point.

Challenge #4: Choose any competitive situation that you're in right now. Work harder on that project than you ever have before.

Hell Week is intended to demonstrate that humans are capable of far more than you may realize.

Remembering what you've been through and how it's shaped your thinking may help you break free from a negative thought pattern. It enables you to overcome urges to quit so you can overcome any barrier.

But even the most powerful mind can't cure damaged bones, and Goggins was forced to leave training owing to a fractured knee. He chose to return to training for the third time after spending the summer rehabilitating his knee. He got his ex-wife pregnant before he left.

He returned for his third training session, determined to complete it for himself and his future family. He had fractures in his shins, and his knee was still recovering, but he forced himself through and graduated.

Challenge #5: Choose any obstacle in your way and visualize overcoming or achieving it.

A woman listing things that don't fit her dream.

After Operation Red Wings went terribly wrong, Goggins intended to raise money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a non-profit that helps surviving family members.

He identified a race called Badwater 135, an extreme marathon, and contacted the race director, Chris Kostman. As a requirement, Kostman claimed he had to run at least one 100-mile event.

That's how Goggins found himself running the San Diego One Day with only three days' notice and no prior experience.

He passed out after seventy kilometers. He returned to the marathon, covered in blood and diarrhea, thinking of all the times he had overcome adversity and experienced victory.

He battled through and even ran an additional mile. Imagine what he could accomplish with a little effort if he could run 101 miles without training.

Challenge #6: Write about the obstacles you've overcome in life and let your past victories carry you forward.

Kostman was underwhelmed when Goggins informed him that he had finished the race.

So Goggins entered the Hurt 100, a second 100-mile event. It spanned a vertical distance of 24,500 feet. He finished the race as well, even though it was quite difficult. And Kostman got his Badwater application approved.

When we're at around 40% of our maximal effort, most individuals quit. Goggins refers to this as the "40% Rule." There will always be obstacles that entice us to stop. However, if you grasp the power of your mind, you may gradually tap into your 60% reserve.

Despite his exhausted physique, he put forth a lot of effort for the Badwater event. He finished 135 miles of running, hiking, sweating, and suffering in the fifth position. He understood after the race that there was always more work to be done. There is no such thing as a finish line in life.

Challenge #7: Push past your normal stopping point. Push beyond your 40%.

Goggins was hooked on ultra racing because it was all about heart and hard effort. Following Badwater, he signed up for an Ultraman triathlon in Kona, Hawaii, which consisted of 6.2 miles of swimming, 261 miles of bicycling, and a double marathon.

When his bike's front tire burst, he was two minutes behind the leader. He fell on his right shoulder after somersaulting over the handlebars. Except for the bike, nothing was broken. He didn't have a spare tire, so he retrieved his backup bike, which added 20 minutes to his journey.

He intended to make up for a lost time during the running section, but his body disagreed. In the end, he came in second place.

Because of the races, he received a lot of attention, and the Navy also received a lot of attention. In 2007, he joined the Navy SEALs' recruitment department and began advocating on their behalf.

Admiral Ed Winters, a two-star Admiral, and the senior officer at Naval Special Warfare Command, summoned him to a meeting one day.

He requested assistance in recruiting more black persons into the Special Forces. He began speaking to over 500,000 people at high schools and colleges around the country. Throughout, he continued to compete in ultra-races.

He had cardiac issues all of a sudden. According to doctors, he had an Atrial Septal Defect, which means he had a hole in his heart. He was in surgery three days later, but nothing changed. He needs a second heart operation.

Challenge #8: For one week, take detailed notes about how you spend your time. In week two, build an optimal schedule. By week three, you should have a working schedule that maximizes your effort without sacrificing sleep.

A man set up his own timeline.

Goggins came to Malaysia for SEAL Qualification Training when he was twenty-seven years old. Following his initial inspection, he began researching the military's other branches, including special forces. He attended Army Ranger School and was assigned to the position of the first sergeant in charge. In 2004, he graduated from Ranger School.

He flew directly from Ranger School to Coronado, California, to join his second battalion. He put in long hours of training with his troops, but his Chief and OIC advised him to take a break. Except for a guy named Sledge, who trained with Goggins each morning at 4 a.m., he eased up.

Challenge #9: Find a way to stand out, repeatedly, until you stand alone. Continue to put obstacles in front of yourself because that's where you'll find the friction that will help you grow even stronger.

Goggins returned to becoming a SEAL when his cardiac problems were resolved. He was assigned to the SEAL Delivery Vehicles unit in Honolulu. In 2012, Goggins attempted to set a new world record for the most pull-ups in 24 hours. He appeared on The Today Show to promote awareness and funds. He gave up after 2,500 pull-ups. He'd failed miserably. He returned to Honolulu and resumed training after reflecting on what went wrong.

He got rhabdomyolysis the second time he attempted, a condition that occurs when one muscle area is overworked for an extended period. His skin was flaking off, and his muscles were shutting down.

He'd failed again. But he was adamant about trying again. He set the world record for total pull-ups (4,030) on January 20, 2013.

Challenge #10: Think about your most recent and most heart-wrenching failure. Write about the good things that happened. Write about the things you can fix.

His physical condition was finally catching up to him at the age of 38. He was dying for reasons that no doctor could explain. He discovered clarity when he was at his lowest. All of his fury at the world for being taunted, bullied, and harassed had dissipated. He let go of it.

When he felt some knots in his neck, he remembered a fellow SEAL who had used stretching to cure his injuries. As a result, he decided to give it a try. His condition became better the more he stretched.

In 2015, he left the service as a Navy Chief and went to work as a wildland firefighter in Montana.

The most crucial conversations are the ones you have with yourself. When difficulties appear, ask yourself one simple question: "What if?"

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