Beyond your limits: A Book Review of Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

Gabriel Ajah
Published in
4 min readApr 27


The challenging thing about human beings is how uncertain we can be about our capacities. It’s not our inadequacies that frighten us but rather, our greatness. This is a concept that is well understood by David Goggins, an Ex-US Navy Seals and a one-time Guinness world record holder for the highest pull-ups ever done.

In His Book Can’t Hurt Me, David Goggins shares his traumatic childhood experiences of being raised by an abusive father and eventually, a single working-class mother. He also had to contend with the marginalization of a racist-driven society in the 1990s, being academically impaired for most of his high school years and enduring torture in a bid to be enlisted in the elite squad of Navy Seals, one of the most admired and reverenced groups in military service in the world. David Goggins shares a truly inspiring story of how he transformed himself from being an overweight depressed man to being one of the toughest men the world has ever known, physically and mentally.

You know this common mantra “no pain, no gain”? Mr. Goggins takes it to a whole new level pragmatically by challenging the limits of his physical body, subjecting it to a series of pain to know how far the human body can go. I’m sure no one likes pain and one thing is clear, he sure did a lot of physical exercises and cardio to push his limits. David Goggins argues that the human body is capable of much more than we realized and we are only limited by our mind.

The book emphasizes the efficacy physical exercises in helping you fulfill other goals of your life in areas like career, business, and even relationships. David Goggins argues that if you fail in testing your limits in physical activity you are probably not maximizing your full potential in other areas of your life. Hard Work and preparation are integral in fulfilling goals, without them, your goals are just…. dreams. It all begins and ends in the mind.

There’s a famous saying that if you believe you can or you believe you can’t, either way, you’re right! This translates to the power your mind has in fulfilling a particular objective. The human mind is hotwired for comfort and survival and as such, ideas that bring it strain and harm are not welcomed. Even though it’s in these areas we discover truths about ourselves.

According to Goggins, when we ever feel exhausted, we are only using about 40% of our capacity. He calls it the Governor and describes it as a mental inhibitor that makes us comfortable with settling with all we can get and not all there is to achieve.

I must confess, this book was like an energy drink but if I have learned anything over time, inspiration is a momentary feeling that expires as soon as we encounter another pressing need. What we need is a great work ethic. In our generation, our culture is hooked on quick fixes, life hacks, and efficiency, we most times undermine the value of hard work. This does not in any way mean people should go on suffering and not look for ways to make life more convenient, rather it boils down to a central truth that there’s no substitute for diligence. Talent and passion are good but without the right work ethic to back them up, they become obsolete.

I understand that most of us might find it difficult to apply David Goggins methods. In my opinion, I’d describe him as relentless and almost superhuman. I don’t see myself running marathons or breaking a world record for push-ups in my fitness journey. we can’t all be David Goggins and He doesn’t expect us to follow his template. But what I understand is how physical activity and your mental health are intertwined. Going to the gym is not solely based on the reason of having a better appearance but it is more of what it does to your mind. It makes you feel more confident and determined to face your goals even in the face of uncertainty and adversity. Find what works for you and develop the resilience to achieve your goals no matter what.

The Odds were stacked against him, there was every reason to throw in the towel and go home, but purpose kept him going, knowing your why. David Goggins also introduces the concept of a cookie Jar in his book. It explains that in the face of challenges we need to relish the times we persevered and succeeded in any endeavor and use it to fuel our energy to triumph over that challenge.

What I found helpful was that at the end of every chapter, the book has pragmatic steps the author advises readers to take if they want to change their lives. It wasn’t just a theoretical work but also an instructive one that provides readers with the tools they need to see results in their lives.

Failure is part of the process, we need to embrace it. The fear of failure has left a lot of dreams unfulfilled, but the problem is that we are not visualizing success hard enough to overcome failure.

The treasure of success has always been inherent in us, and we are functioning far less than we should be. But that’s no problem, it’s never too late. It all starts and ends with a calloused mind.

Do you think you Can’t be moved?

What are your thoughts on the book as well?