“Can’t Hurt Me,” by David Goggins

The Top 10 Lessons for Me to Apply in Life from The Book

Chip Franks
Feb 26 · 8 min read

To say this book is motivational is an understatement of monumental proportions. I read it, I listened to it, and I’ve internalized many of the best lessons that David Goggins had to teach.

Here are the Top 10 Lessons that I’m applying from the book. What lessons did you get from it? Email me at c@chipfranks.com to let me know.

1. The Accountability Mirror

This one was new for me. I’m into all of the goal setting, writing them down and posting them where I’ll see them — usually it’s in my daily planner so I can see them every day.

But here are two things I changed due to the book:

  1. Put Post-It notes all over the mirror you use in the morning of your goals. That way, they’re IN YOUR FACE every morning and night…coincidentally the best times of day to make things stick to your subconscious, too.

I love the change, and it’s given me a thrill already to pull a couple of those sticky notes off of the mirror.

2. The 40% Rule.

Remember that when you’re done…you’re not. You’ve got about 40% more left in the tank if you can just tap into that reserve.

From what I’ve seen about this, the way that you do it is by practice. You keep reaching for more. You develop a calloused mind as Goggins calls it.

This is done by spending a lot of time in the DIS-Comfort zone…physically and otherwise.

An example of that (found in the book Living with a SEAL by Jesse Itzler) is when Goggins wouldn’t let Jesse leave the scene of a pull-up bar until he did 100 pull-ups. It took several HOURS, but he was resolved that they would be done by Itzler. They were. Because there’s always 40% left when you think you’re done.

Click here to Order “Can’t Hurt Me” on Amazon.

3. Stretching. A lot.

David had a horrible health scare when his body, after two decades of abuse and strain, just started to shut down. The doctors didn’t know what it was. There were large lumps on his skull that got consistently larger, and he literally felt like he was dying.

But he recovered.

His body recovered. He was able to continue to do endurance races and to lift. And those lumps got smaller on their own.

The answer? Stretching. Really doing a good job of taking care of the body that is taking care of you.

Goggins literally spends hours a day stretching now…and even if you can’t do that, you CAN stretch after you exercise. It’s as simple as a YouTube search to get literally thousands of great routines.

I’ve done it, and I honestly feel healthier.

4. Make my bed…sharp!

This was listed as one of the first and most simple things you can do to change your life. And it’s true.

When you begin with a win, even as simple as making your bed…your whole day gets better. And better days lead to a better life. I know it’s simple, but that’s also why it works.

Set your alarm for tomorrow morning, and if you don’t already do it — make your bed as soon as you wake up and you’ll feel the change.

5. Sign up and then figure out how to do it.

In the book, David tells of how he signed up for a 100-mile race, even though he had never even ran a marathon at that point.

He was a SEAL. He was tough. He had the mindset to finish anything…so he did it. The surface reason was to raise money for his buddy’s charity for children of slain Navy SEALs…but the real reason was to actually do it.

He actually completed the race. He was peeing blood, covered in his own feces and his body had shut down on him…but he did it, and to this day it’s the thing he’s most proud of.

If you wait for all of the stoplights to be green, you’ll be waiting forever. Fortune favors the bold. Sign up for that thing you’ve been wanting to do!

6. The Cookie Jar of Badassery

When David is having a hard time, when he’s up against an obstacle that is kicking his ass, he reaches into his “cookie jar” as he calls it.

It’s the sum total of all of the badass things that he’s done in his life that have led him to this point. Finishing that first 100 mile race, going through three SEAL Hell Weeks…those are in his cookie jar.

When he remembers that list, he’s encouraged and emboldened. He’s ready to take on more and keep going.

What’s in your Cookie Jar of Badassery? Make that list. Write it all out, and remember it when the time comes to reach into your own cookie jar.

7. It’s Okay to Talk Badly to Yourself

This was a tough one for me.

I had been raised to always talk GOOD to myself. “You’re a freaking light from God,” I’d say in the mirror.

But David said, if someone calls you fat or stupid — maybe it’s because you’re fat or stupid. Accept that…

And then get better. Go out for your runs first thing in the morning. Stop cramming pizza down your face, and keep going until you’re NOT fat.

Sometimes that push of looking reality in the face and telling the truth about it is what you need to flip that switch and make a change.

So, call yourself a fat slob if that’s what you really feel like.

…and then go to work.

8. Prepare like a MF’er…but don’t let lack of prep stop you

When you decide to do #5, “Sign up and then figure it out,” the next part is to prepare, prepare, prepare.

David learned that later in his ultra-marathoning career. He wasn’t ready for the San Diego 100, but later he got much better at that. He watched others and went out with other pros to see what they did.

Tony Robbins calls this modeling. In my real estate career, I called it ‘shadowing’. That’s where you find someone who is killing it in the area you want to do. You ask to meet them, or if they’re a public figure you can research the hell out of them.

See what they do to succeed. What they do to avoid failure.

And then do it…or make your process even better.

And then, he put in the work. He made his daily runs, he did his pull-ups when he was chasing that record. My wrestling coach told me, “the will to win is not so important as the will to prepare to win.”

But here’s the thing: don’t let what you feel is a LACK of preparation keep you from attacking your goal. Go after it, feel the pain and embrace the suck…and keep going. The pain you feel can be a powerful motivator to prepare better the next time, and while that’s happening you will be adding to your own personal cookie jar.

9. Create an Alter Ego to get Dark

David calls his dark self, “Goggins.” And as badass as David is, he wouldn’t want to mess with Goggins. He’s dark as a black hole in hell. That’s the part of David that can do anything, bear any pain, and get up again and again after being knocked senseless.

We all did this as kids when we put on capes, or pretended we were our favorite character from the movies.

And you can do it now.

Come up with your alter-ego. Give him or her a name, and define who that person is. The good news is that this person is actually you. It’s the part of you that you knew was always there, and it’s the person you can summon at almost any time.

And when you do, you can breathe like them. You can borrow their confidence when you’re otherwise too scared to take the next step. You can figure it all out just like they would.

For the record, my alter ego is named Clint Vanderpool. What’s yours?

10. Don’t Conform to Your Feelings, Make them Your Bitch.

Here’s the thing: your feelings are fickle.

Sometimes you wake up feeling great, like you can take on the world. You’re energetic and powerful.

Then the next morning, you feel like staying under the covers. Because you’re not feeling strong enough to put your pants on for the day.

The common theme in these? It’s feelings.

Feelings are like the temperature. It comes and it goes. They both change all of the time.

But you have the ability at any time you choose to control the thermostat of the temperature — and your feelings. You can do that simply by deciding to do so, and doing it.

All of the tools mentioned above can help in that. Look at your accountability mirror. Reach into your cookie jar. Call yourself a lazy bitch, and get angry enough at that to summon your alter ego…and get out of the way of that dark person who’s ready to kick some ass, regardless of how you feel.

11. Driven…not Motivated.

Motivation doesn’t last. Being driven does.

Check out Can’t Hurt Me on Amazon. Get the audiobook version for bonus material of David being interviewed after each chapter.

Motivation comes and goes just like your feelings.

But being DRIVEN…that’s a whole new animal. It’s when you stake even your whole existence on something. David’s former 297-lb, cockroach spraying, milkshake drinking self chased him into doing something better.

David says that when he talks to God after his life is over, he is going to be judged on who he could’ve been over his life versus who he actually was, and that keeps him driven.

He says, “Being driven means your conscience won’t let you ‘waste time’ sitting on a couch watching TV.’”

Motivation is crap. But being driven means that whatever is in front of you gets destroyed.

Have you found that thing that keeps you driven? Goggins says it’s not in the external world. It’s inside of you. We all have that greatness, we have to have the courage to silence out the rest of the world and find what keeps you driven.

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Chip Franks

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