Joe Rogan Interviews SEAL and Ultra-Endurance Athlete David Goggins
What You Can Learn From The World’s Hardest Man.
***Profanity Follows…if you are disturbed by that, please stop reading, as there is a LOT of it.***
On February 19, 2018, Joe Rogan, the comedian, mixed martial artist and podcaster interviewed David Goggins, a former Navy SEAL, ultra-endurance athlete, and now speaker.
The interview for the Joe Rogan Experience podcast was streamed live on YouTube, and as of this writing on March 6th, 2018, it has right at 1,400,000 views in only 15 days.
Rogan called this the most inspirational interview he’s ever done, and this was episode 1,080 — many of them filled with athletes, thought leaders, and others who have overcome many, many difficulties in life.
But this one was different. Goggins speaks of not being different, of not being gifted — and how he turned into the “World’s Hardest Man,” (our words) — completing 3 Navy SEAL “hell weeks,” and ranger training after weighing 297 pounds and earning less than $1,000 a month spraying for cockroaches.
Rogan says, “People need to hear this story. This is an exciting story for people because there’s a lot of people out there that feel trapped and they feel stuck and they feel like they can’t do anything, that this is who they are.
You’re a guy (David Goggins) who felt that exact same way but figured out how to not be that person and be a person that you would admire.”
To call this inspiring is an understatement.
One of the YouTube comments says, “After 25 to 30 minutes of this, I stopped smoking.”
I’ll be going over some of the more inspiring statements and takeaways I got from this interview in this — and I also have a place to download the entire interview transcript as a .pdf for you, as well.
Also, here’s a link to check out David’s new book, “Can’t Hurt Me,” on Amazon. It is amazing — I highly recommend the audio version of the book as it has a lot of extra commentary directly from Goggins himself.
Goggins was raised by his mother and father in upstate New York. His father was a pimp, and David and his mother were abused. As a child, he often stayed until 3am at the skating rink his father ran before school the next day.
He moved around, experienced a lot of racism and relentless bullying while growing up. He learned to cheat in school. He had social anxiety. He didn’t like himself, at all.
He joined the Air Force out of school, and did special ops training, but said that the water training portion “kicked his ass.” He dropped out of it after discovering he had the sickle-cell anemia trait, using that as his excuse. But he said that he quit.
He worked in the Air Force at a sedentary job from age 19 to 22. He gained weight during that time, going from 175 pounds to nearly 300.
After that, he found himself at 24 years old at a dead-end job, spraying for cockroaches at Steak and Shakes — hating who he saw in the mirror.
The Wake Up Call
That changed when he saw a documentary on the Discovery Channel on the Navy SEALs. (I think it’s this one).
“I was taking a shower, I walked out, I heard this guys and I watched the show and it made me reflect big time on the piece of shit that I am in. I’m exactly what people said I was going to be…
…everybody was to blame, my learning disability, my skin color, me being … everything.
So I sat there for a while and I was like,
“Man, no one’s going to come to and fucking help me. It’s fucking me against me, period!”
I had to man up and said,
“First what you gotta start doing is facing every fucking fear I have no matter what the fuck it is man.”
These things would keep me up at night. No one … people who are hearing this shit, they will never really understand and grasp when you face these things, so many things how they keep you up and haunt you at night.
…I had two options:
to either be that 300 pound guy who sprayed for cockroaches and made $1000 a month and at 24 years old knowing when I’m 50 fucking years old, I can reflect on this and think about what guy I never became
…or I can totally just suck it up and fail and fail until I succeed. I started recruiters up.
I said I’m going to be a fucking navy SEAL.”
There were problems with this. According to his 6'1" size — he was 103 pounds overweight, and had to lose it in three months.
He gave up right there. But then — that night, he hit the motherlode of cockroaches. He hated then. He said to himself,
“This is my life. You are exactly who the fuck … this is it.” I said, “This ain’t gonna be it for me.
In that restaurant, I quit my job, left my canister in that restaurant, my spray canister, got back in my Eco-lab truck and I went home and I started working out… I became the most obsessed person on the planet earth…
I had to invent a guy that didn’t exist. I had to invent a guy that can take any pain, any suffering, any kind of judgment be called nigger be called whatever the fuck in the world and be able to stand in the fucking room and say, ‘go fuck yourself.’
I had to build this callous mind and I built it though suffering.
I built it through down right fucking just crushing myself, if it was raining outside 3:00 in the fucking morning, if it was snowing, the first thing I think is, ‘don’t go out there and do shit.’ My instinct was, ‘we gotta fucking go out there.’
Anything that was fucking horrible in my life that I would normally say no, that was inhumane to most people, I had to go do it.
I started callousing my mind at this point in my life and I lost the weight and I went back to the recruiter.
I got into that class and I went through three navy SEAL hell weeks in one year.
It wasn’t easy. In fact on the FIRST DAY, he could only manage running a quarter mile. He gave up again, had a chocolate milkshake, sat on the couch and cried.
“Man, I can’t fucking do this shit. I don’t know what I’m going to do.” I just got somebody pregnant, my life was this fuck … I was making $1000 a month, my rent was $810 a month and my mind just kept fucking with me and kept … ‘you’re not good enough man, this isn’t for you. These guys are the baddest motherfuckers on planet earth. You’re not that.’”
He was inspired by Rocky Movies, particularly Rocky I when Rocky was beaten, but kept coming back, and back again.
“I wanted to be the guy that people looked at, I care if you like me or you didn’t like … I don’t care but I said, ‘this motherfucker is going to keep coming after whatever the fuck is in front of him.’ I wanted that worse than anything in the world.
I kept picturing me falling down and getting up and every motherfucker that called me nigger, I was … even myself.
I wanted to feel something besides defeat.
I wanted to just go the distance and that going the distance pushed me to a point where now I’ll go way past the distance...”
‘What story would it be if my fucking fat dumb lying to be friends with people insecure ass can overcome this shit?’
And that ‘what if’ mentality, that dreamer mentality just would always fuel me.
What if I can be a SEAL man? What if I could go from running a quarter fucking mile? Now I run 205 miles.
He did it. He ran, slowly going further and further. When he couldn’t run, he biked. He learned to channel his self-talk.
“It just became this different mindset. I turned negatives into positives. I would take it like, ‘Who would even think about doing this?’
I would sit in my couch saying, ‘Who at 297, who can’t fucking swim that great, who’s scared of the fucking water would have the fucking balls to fucking man up, quit a job and go and to put everything on himself?’
It’s how I started talking to myself and put myself in a whole different category and that would fuel me the next day.
I just kept using that as fuel and fuel. No one would do this shit. ‘You’re the baddest motherfucker around, you’re the baddest motherfucker to ever live.’
I just kept fueling me with the right kind of message that I needed to hear…it became reality to myself.”
Goggins became a SEAL, and went through 3 Hell Weeks of the training…the only one he knows to have ever done that.
He also volunteered to go through Ranger training. The reason? Because NO ONE volunteers for that.
The Cookie Jar
At one point, he decided to start running for a charity of his friend, Marcus Luttrell. He was to run the “Badwater 135,” a 135-mile race through Death Valley in the middle of Summer.
At the time, he was a SEAL but weighed at 200 pounds and had more of a body-builder physique. He only ran on a cross trainer for 30 minutes a week.
To qualify, he had to run 100 miles in a 24 hour period. At that point, he had never even run a marathon. That didn’t deter him. He entered the San Diego 100 to qualify for the Badwater.
The race wrecked his body. It was the most excruciating pain he ever experienced. It was hell for him. He was DONE at mile 70. To put that in perspective, he had fractured both of his feet, and he was peeing blood.
But as he put it, he reached into his “Cookie Jar,” to help complete the race.
“I started reaching the cookie jars man, I started pulling off all kind of stuff.
I reached in my mind and a lot of us when we have bad times in life even the hardest person in the world, we forget how bad ass we are during that hard time. I have a thing where I take a couple of seconds to reflect on,
“Hang on man, you’ve been through this, been through that, you overcame this, over came that.”
I don’t ever close my mind to the fact that this can’t be done and I knew I had to get up.
…Slowly but surely, I was able to stand up and I was literally hobbling around this track, just walking, no running at all, I could run, my feet were in the worst pain. It’s the worst pain I’ve been in my entire life.
Nothing in any training is even comparable to this last 30 miles…and at that time at mile 81, something clicked that I’ll probably never be able to do again where my mind, body, spirit, soul, everything just connected and my mind knew I wasn’t fucking around anymore.
… for whatever reason why, I was gonna get through this motherfucker…
It was me against me and I used all these different dark places to start bringing out light and just fucking going deeper and deeper.”
He completed that race in a pile of his own excrement…but he did it.
After the race, his now ex-wife had to help him climb into the back of their Toyota Camry where he sat on a tarp. She had to help him get to their second story apartment where he crashed into the tub.
She was a nurse and freaked out — she knew she had to get him to a doctor. But he wouldn’t let her take him right away.
“‘I need to go to the doctor, I realize that but I never thought it was humanly possible to do what I did.’
I went 70 miles and at 70 miles I was dead. I was at 100% … what I thought was 100%.
I went 31 more miles after being the worst physical shape I’ve ever been in in my life, and all that pain and suffering thing was going through my fucking body.
As I sat in that tub and the waters hit me, it was the most amazing feeling of accomplishment and I didn’t want to be numb.
I didn’t want people to give me drugs and to numb this fucking pain. I wanted to … ‘I did this.’
To come from this kid who has mentally tortured himself and was tortured to this guy now who was able to overcome such amazing odds and obstacles…
As crazy as this sounds, it was the most amazing moment of my entire life.”
He raced in the Badwater, but first he ran his first official marathon in Las Vegas two weeks after this 100-mile run. He was planning on walking it, as his feet were still broken…but he heard the gun sound, and couldn’t help it. He ran.
And qualified for the Boston Marathon with a time of 3 hours, 8 minutes.
He also ran the HURT 100 before the Badwater race, in Hawaii which climbs 26,000 feet in the 100 miles. He did it all with his feet held together with compression tape.
His body was completely shattered after all of the ultra-marathons and years of abuse. It turns out that he also had a hole in his heart throughout all of that time.
He had two surgeries to repair that, and finally learned to stretch to help heal himself. He currently stretches two hours a day, and has none of the physical problems that plagued his early running career.
The World Pull-Up Record
Goggins decided that he wanted to break the world pull-up record in 24 hours. The mark was 4,020 by Stephen Hyland.
He did 67,000 pull-ups in the 9 months leading up to the record attempt.
He tried, and failed miserably in front of millions of people on the Today Show, getting ‘only’ 2,588.
He tried again and failed.
Then, the third time, he succeeded. He did 4,030 pull-ups in 17 hours and broke the record.
Here’s a video of him at the start of his record-breaking day:
He Hates It. That’s WHY He Does It.
He hated pull-ups. He still does…and THAT is why he does them.
You know why? Because now it’s a part of me, dude. That’s a part of me man. I don’t like doing them so I gotta’ be somebody who knocks them out.
He also doesn’t like running. People don’t believe him when he says that, but he swears it’s true. It’s just a chance to make himself tougher.
“People put me in this category of, ‘you must be some crazy guy who loves it.’ No, man. That’s why I do it though.
That’s the only way to callous your fucking brain, man.
It’s the only way to get hard in life.
People take these classes on mental toughness, even SEALs, we have this class about visualizations, self-talk, eating the elephant, one battle at a time, breathing control. Yeah, roger that. You’ve gotta put yourself in hellacious situation, it’s a life style.”
He goes on to explain that it’s not just about mental toughness, or controlling your thoughts…it’s about what you do every day.
“How are you gonna react? All that training goes out the fucking door when you’re in the fucking cold water and you’re fucking miserable and it’s the first hour of 130 hours of hell week.
That first wave goes over your head and you’re the coldest you’ve been in your life and your mind goes from hour one to hour one fucking thirty.
All that fucking self-talking shit, dude — you ain’t thinking about that. You think about getting the fuck out of here.
But if you live this shit on a daily basis…you know how to calm your mind down.
The self-talk will help, all that stuff will help but usually, we react. We have pain, we have suffering, we react and we react about get the fuck out of here. We gotta go.”
It’s those people who are able to control that fucking feeling of fucking flight and say, ‘No, motherfucker, there’s a way through this.’
…The shit’s going to end but we don’t know that, we don’t think that. At that time, it’s going to last forever…
…but then, you take that hot, warm shower, first thing that comes to your fucking mind is, ‘why the fuck did I quit?’”
What Makes the Difference?
“What keeps me going?
I’ve quit several things. I know what’s on the back end of fucking quitting. It’s a lifetime of thinking about, why the fuck did I do that and I ain’t fucking doing that no more.”
He explained the difference between THEORY versus PRACTICE.
“You read a bunch of fucking books and you think that you know how the fucking mind works and shit. I had gone through hell since a kid and then all the way up until now so I know:
Theory is bullshit.
There’s a lot of good stuff out there you can read from people but I lived hell and when you put yourself in hell, that’s the only time you can figure out how the fuck to get through that motherfucker.
You can’t read somebody else’s book about some theory on how to do shit, some guy who sat up in their nice warm office and wrote some book with a nice cup of coffee in the fucking hand, no.
I wanna see that guy who immersed himself in fucking hell… and found out a way to get through it.”
You’ve Got to Suffer.
“Basically, that’s the bottom line of it all. We all want to read about how we can quickly get somewhere. That’s why there’s six minutes abs and all this other shit, so powerful.
You may get some results from it but they’re not permanent.
The permanent result comes from you fucking … I say it all the time:
You have to suffer.
You have to make that a tattoo on your fucking brain so when that hard time comes again, you don’t forget it. You may forget it for a second but you can go back in the cookie jar.”
The Excuses We Tell Ourselves
Bottom line is most of us, even the people who have all these theories and shit, it’s easier to accept the fact that:
‘I’m just not good enough. I wasn’t made to do that.’
And yeah, some of us can’t be Lebron fucking James but I’ll tell you right now man:
We can do a lot of shit when it comes to this pure guts and will power and getting through shit. We have a lot more than we think we have.”
David fights the excuses, uses mean self-talk, and reaches into his cookie jar to tough it out, and it works.
Being Civilized Versus Being a Warrior
“The worst thing that can happen to a man is to become civilized.
You lose that, ‘why the fuck I’m I doing this shit? I’m good.’
You ain’t good man. You ain’t never fucking arrived and that’s just my mentality. You may have more but you’ve never fucking arrived.
You want to uncommon amongst uncommon people, period!
For me, what got me in trouble with the navy SEALs is I wanted to be one so bad. I fought my ass off and I saw them as uncommon people, very uncommon but once you become a navy SEAL, you’re a navy SEAL so guess what happens? You’re fucking common again.
I wanted to be uncommon amongst uncommon people.
I wanted to be the guy … I don’t care if you fucking like me, I don’t care if you understand me, I didn’t give a fuck.… there’s a whole bunch of fucking guys that don’t fucking like me. I don’t give a fuck. I’m a warrior period! There’s a lot of guy that have been there a lot more combat than me. A warrior is not always that.
A warrior is the motherfucker who says, ‘Hey, I’m here again today. I’m here again tomorrow. I’m going to be here the next day. I’m 50 years old, I’m still fucking getting after it.’
It’s a person that puts no fucking limit on what’s possible.”
Goggins never wants to become civilized. He went through Delta Force training at 29 years old, and followed that up with Ranger school training. Because he was worried that he was getting soft.
So he signed up to have his ass kicked and handed to him again and again.
I always wanted to go back into training. No matter where I was at, I wanted to go back to war and my war was in that training program where you can see guys who can quit, guys who are brutal, guys who are suffering.
…they go, “Why did you go?” Because I started becoming civilized. I started becoming complacent. I needed to get my fucking ass kicked again.
…I would immerse myself in shit like that even I would climb the ladder and I would intentionally fall back down that motherfucker and say, ‘Alright man, getting soft dude. Kick your fucking ass again.’ That’s kind of the process.
I am a guy that doesn’t care if you like me or not and when you’re an alpha male and you’re against other alpha males, we eat our own. Alpha males eat their own and I love that shit. Let’s fucking go man.
…For too long in my life I wanted to be accepted. Growing up, I lied, I fucking did what I could. If you fucking like UFC and I didn’t, I love it. Let’s go fucking watch it. Be my friend, be my buddy.
That fucking weak ass shit!
I found out through this path of life who is David Goggins. Who am I?
I did it alone. There was no fucking trophy on the fucking wall on my mantle, that trophy is in my fucking brain.
No one helped me get there, no one paid my fucking bills, nobody did shit for me, no one ran those fucking miles, lost that fucking weight, went through that …
I suffered on my own and developed this man who said, ‘This is who I am, man.’”
Finding Out Who You Are Through STRUGGLE.
You start putting yourself in situations that suck, you’ll find yourself, you’ll find it real quick.
That’s it. That’s the only way to find yourself. You don’t find yourself … if you like bench pressing and you bench press all the fucking time, what are you finding out? If you like to swim, that’s all you want to do is swim, what are you finding out?
People talk about triple down on your fucking strengths. That’s the fucking weakest shit in the world.
No, triple down on your fucking weaknesses. Find out something about yourself. You already know the good shit, you already know the happy shit.
…I want to tell you how you can help yourself to get through the times that suck. Real life. This is real life. 90% of your life will suck. 10% will be fucking happy.
You may be a lucky guy and have a lot of fucking money have a great ass woman, all this shit, trust me — one on one with that fucking guy, he’s missing something.
His life still sucks because he hasn’t faced something that bothered him his whole fucking life. Something is still eating that motherfucker up.
…It was a violent struggle daily to get where I’m at today. I’m not going to water it down. Shit wasn’t fun. It ain’t fun today but I’m happy.
Don’t misunderstand the passion in which I speak for not being intensely happy. Happiest person in the world but I’m not done. I’m not going to speak to you like, “Oh man, everything is great.” No, I have a lot more shit to do.
Goggins is now starting his business as a speaker, and to serve up some inspiration for others — but he finds it hard, as he’s an introvert and he detests the fakeness of social media.
That’s what social media is. ‘I’m going to paint you a picture of my fake life.’ I’ll paint you a picture of my fucking real life period. Like it or not man…
…There’s a lot of people out there that are pretending that they’re trying to offer up inspiration or a true honest account of their experiences but really what they’re trying to do is say something that’s going to get likes. They’re trying to say things that they think people are going to go, ‘yeah, double high five.’
I try to be as real as I can because we’re all fucking suffering in this world,
We’re all hurting and I try to take away all titles you want to give me to let you know that I did not come from that shit. That’s why I have to be so authentic and so real about my own insecurities, my own faults, just being a fucked up person.
A lot of people have all these great quotes and they mass produce. I can’t mass produce something man.
They have these great quotes and shit but are you living that motherfucker?
What you just quoted and how powerful it may sound, are you getting up every morning, it ain’t about working out, whatever.
Are you really getting the fuck after it, or are you just talking to motivate people?
I don’t want to be that guy.
I’m big on being with yourself. I believe all these fucking cameras and phones and shit, it takes you away from the most powerful thing in the world, which is your fucking mind…
The biggest thing I’m trying to find more of myself. The only way I can find more is to silence the world out as much as I can because it’s getting busier every day, it’s getting faster and the faster it gets the more you are missing who the fuck you are.
I trap my own mind a lot and say, ‘Look man, I put my phone away, I put shit away and I go dark.’
I go dark a lot and it’s because I have to find out … I’m on a journey of life and we all have a different journey and I want to be in my fucking pine box and I believe your spirit lives forever, it has to, it’s too fucking powerful.
No way in hell that thing just dies when you die.
I want to be able to look back in my life and be so fucking proud of myself forever.
This is all temporary shit to me. I want to be forever proud of who I was as a man and change who I used to be.
The liar, the insecure guy, the guy who can whatever. I want to be proud when I … if I die now, if I die at 80, if I die at 90 or 100, I want to look at myself and say I’m proud of myself.”
Count on Yourself
“I appreciate self-discipline.
I didn’t have a motherfucker come wake me up at 3:00 in the fucking morning and say, “Hey, you gotta get your shit in.”
I had no trainer. I didn’t have a nutritionist. It was this self-discipline that I had to survive … not survive — survive is weak…to thrive.
No one said, ‘Hey man, you’re 297 pounds man, I want to help you out.’
‘Hey man you’re not smart I’m going to help you out.’
I had to work it all, this shit. I had to overcome.
Self-discipline is everything.
If you don’t have it, I don’t look at you right because
I know you’re capable of more…it’s all on you.
The self part is what’s big…we count on people too much to get us through shit and we look to our right, we look to our left, we’re looking for help. If you can build that self, you can build that total accountability in oneself. I
t’s not about being selfish. I’m trying to create a better me so hopefully the people who are hearing this are taking it the right way can say, “I can run a mile.”
It ain’t about running 205 fucking miles. It about all that shit. That shit doesn’t matter. I want you to see how fucking far you can go and that’s all it’s about, yourself and that’s where it all comes from.”
On Being Motivated Versus Being DRIVEN
I’m slowly trying to build this brand to the point where I can slowly, hopefully get people from motivated to driven.
Because motivation is crap. It’s shit.
People right now maybe listening to this shit, they’ll be motivated to go run. If it’s cold somewhere where they’re at, a lot of my friends will shut that door and go back inside.
That’s motivation. It comes and goes as how you feel.
If you and your wife are good, if you and your kids are good, if you’re good at work, you’re motivated.
I like the motherfucker whose life has imploded ain’t got shit in life and says, ‘I still got to fucking get after it today man.’
That’s what it’s about. That’s when you move from motivation to driven to obsessed and I want people to realize once you get to this person over here, the driven obsessed part, you’re unstoppable.
How to Become Driven
“I discovered a whole other part of your fucking brain that a lot of people don’t even know about.
…Maybe someone’s doing the same shit and maybe they can realize, ‘Whoa! That motherfucker was a piece of shit and now he’s a navy SEAL, retired guy and runs his mouth and was 297 pounds and pathetic fucker and whoa!’
…It’s the fucking truth. I was a fucking pathetic motherfucker man.
People can not say that to themselves. We have to choose these great fucking magical words that make people feel good.
Tell yourself the truth.
If someone calls you fucking fat, they may be bullying you — but you might be fucking fat.
Someone calls you dumb, it’s mean — but you might be fucking dumb.
It’s life. Take it for what it’s worth and change it.
(Use it) As fuel. Period. That’s all this is about…
I came up with this thing called the 40% rule. It’s basically where you, it’s like a car, you put a governor on a car and let’s say the car can go 130, that governor stops the car at 91 and you’re driving thinking, ‘man, I’m going to fucking floor it but I can’t go any faster.’
We do that to our brain. We put a governor on our brain.
The second we feel pain, discomfort, suffering, all those words that we hate to say because we’re in this happy peaceful world that we live in now — we stop, we slow down.
We can get through these different barriers and get 5%, 2%, 3%, that 40% becomes 60, that 60% becomes 70 and 80 and 90 and then you’ll hopefully one day near 100, I don’t know how many people who are probably at 100.
We think we’re there but there’s so much more.
This is a phenomenal interview. I tried to capture the main points — but there is so, so much more.
Here is the actual interview from YouTube, and the entire transcript can be downloaded on a .pdf at: www.JoeRoganTranscripts.com
Here’s a helpful timeline of the interview, given by the user pingfunk.
0:00 Podcast begins, David tells about his childhood being the opposite of what he is now
6:20 — David failing the ASVAB test
14:20 — The moment David quit his job
17:00 — David on being driven enough to have gotten to where he is
18:45 — David getting inspiration from Rocky I
22:40 — Detesting mediocrity
26:40 — Cycling, swimming with fins.
29:55 — David’s psoas injury
34:50 — Getting better from stretching
38:15 — The Badwater Ultramarathon
40:00 — The San Diego One Day
44:35 — Mile 81
49:00 — The race director of Badwater’s response (after the San Diego race)
50:55 — The Las Vegas marathon
58:55 — David’s races from November 2005 through 2007 / three hell weeks (with one guy dying)
1:08:00 — David’s heart hole
1:13:30 — Ruck running
1:16:40 — Breaking the world record for pull-ups
1:20:00 — Running (or any activity) because he DOESN’T like it
1:22:40 — Mental resilience in theory vs. real application
1:29:55 — “Being uncommon amongst uncommon people”
1:33:50 — Personal Sovereignty
1:38:00 — “out of 100 men who go to war” / David’s daily routine
1:43:50 — David’s new business / message
1:51:00 — Taking hurtful advice that might be true / The 40% rule.
The entire transcript can be downloaded on a .pdf at: www.JoeRoganTranscripts.com