“Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins

T.C.

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I’d like to share this book here on the forum and just give my general ideas about what the book is about and how the themes transfer over onto particular Work principles, since I believe Goggins tapped into certain truths about being alive, and deep insights into the human machine, the mind, and their potentials.

Goggins had an incredibly physically and emotionally abusive upbringing. In his teens he got inspired by a talk he heard by a military man who’s job was to parachute down to aircrash sites to rescue downed airmen.

After a brief stint in the airforce where he faced some of his demons and bettered himself, he fell back into an unhealthy and unmotivated life, until one day he watched a documentary about the Navy SEALs. Re-motivated, he made enquiries as to how to join up, and was told he would need to loose over 100lbs in three months and pass an academic test in order to qualify.

Spoiler alert, he lost the weight and passed the test. And from there, his story just gets more and more amazing in terms of his physical achievements.

The easiest way to explain it here is that Goggins is a true, modern day fakir. A man who developed an iron will and strength and metal toughness from repeatedly putting himself through the most gruelling physical scenarios. From going through multiple different special forces training, to running ultra-marathons of 100 miles and more, to breaking the world record for the most number of pull-ups in 24hrs.

But he always maintains the same theme throughout each stage of his life: he never did any of it for the physical achievement; it was all about going to war against his weak-mindedness. Always trying to find situations that would trigger the negative voice inside his head that always said the same things: “Why the hell am I doing this? I could just quit right now, go back home and relax. This is crazy. Seriously, I’m in so much pain, I can’t continue.”, so that he could find a way to push through and carry on, in order to become “uncommon among uncommon men”.

It’s a life of genuine intentional suffering. Of failure and trying again, and of physical feats (sustaining fractured shins during one training school for the military, and tightly taping socks around his legs and ankles with duct tape so that he could continue to do the training runs everyday, despite being in more pain most people could imagine, for example) that truly convey the Gurdjieffian concepts of super efforts and tapping into the large accumulator.

Often, a new book will be recommended on the forum that is not esoteric, but gives us another way to view work concepts, that refreshes them for us, revivifies the ideas. This is a book about building inner strength and fortitude, and mental toughness, by changing ones attitude towards difficult tasks and embracing situations that cause suffering, rather than turning away from them and seeking comfort.

I think it would be very useful for members here who are struggling at the moment; those who are suffering, and wish with all their heart that the suffering would end. The secret Goggins uncovered on his own, and shares with us through telling the story of his life is that the suffering will never end, but you can change your attitude towards it and embrace it, and use it to build you up and make you stronger, rather than weaken you and break you down; you can become someone who is tough enough to carry on whatever happens, rather than giving up.
 

gottathink

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
Thanks for the recommendation. Goggins is an interesting character and his extreme nature I have struggled to relate to in the past. But you have a point in regards to what he discovered about the mechanisms of his own mind and how this reflects “the work”.
I just bought it and downloaded it onto my husband’s kindle (he is a big fan of Goggin’s, Jocko Willink etc ) and read it myself.
 
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Alejo

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Thanks for the recommendation T.C.

I think whenever I have tried that in the past, to push through discomfort or pain, and not to the degree that the author sounds like, but I've always realized that it takes a very small choice to put oneself in a position where one is making an effort one is afraid of, and that's the hurdle to overcome I've noticed.

Because once the effort has been made, one realizes that one was afraid of not possession something one already had, i.e. the capacity to make the effort and succeed, and that what was necessary was really to jump a small hurdle (though it seems huge) of making the choice to commit oneself to the task. And what better inspiration than someone else's story?

Thanks for the recommendation once again.
 

gottathink

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
David Goggins is so extreme in that he actually does push himself to the point of physically breaking down. Having done this myself with overtraining and then a long recovery I have always dismissed his methods. But perhaps I can rethink this, for one actually read and listen to his entire life story and second consider that the process of learning to heal may actually be powerful in itself. Pushing so hard to break down but then learning that you can heal. Perhaps then you get better at that because your knowledge of this experience builds faith. I’ll see what I think after reading. Maybe it’s time to push again, I’m not sure.
Because “the suffering will never end” anyway so may as well achieve something more. Rather than expect it to feel more comfortable. That could be liberating.
 

T.C.

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thanks for the recommendation T.C.

I think whenever I have tried that in the past, to push through discomfort or pain, and not to the degree that the author sounds like, but I've always realized that it takes a very small choice to put oneself in a position where one is making an effort one is afraid of, and that's the hurdle to overcome I've noticed.

Because once the effort has been made, one realizes that one was afraid of not possession something one already had, i.e. the capacity to make the effort and succeed, and that what was necessary was really to jump a small hurdle (though it seems huge) of making the choice to commit oneself to the task. And what better inspiration than someone else's story?

Thanks for the recommendation once again.

Yes, that’s a really good way of putting it. And throughout the book, Goggins shares the mental tools he fashioned that helped him overcome the voice in his head that would tell him to quit and give up.

One of them he calls ‘The Cookie Jar’. If you can do exactly the thing you describe, Alejo, you then have a proof that at one time in the past, you stood strong, pushed through and achieved something you thought wasn’t possible. This achievement can now be a cookie in your jar. Next time you are faced with a difficult situation that makes you feel like you want to give up, you can mentally reach into that cookie jar and take a bite of inspiration from yourself. The dialogue would go something like, “Yes, right now I’m in pain and want to give up. But look, here is a situation from the past where I was feeling the same way, and yet, I didn’t give up. I carried on and I got through it. I was strong then! So I can be strong now! The voice that tells me I am not strong enough to do this is lying to me, and I have proof.”

Two weeks ago at the warehouse where I work, they offered us a lot of overtime everyday because of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I don’t like doing overtime. I like to come home and relax after work. My job is very physical, and I have a lot of back, hip and leg pain. Sometimes my lower back and hips go out, leaving me in so much pain that I am unable to do much apart from lie down. But I saw the overtime as an opportunity to push myself to achieve something and struggle against my laziness. And in order to do it, I started to do a stretching routine everyday to try to give myself a better chance.

By the time I finished my shift on Friday night, I had worked 56hrs and had committed to working another 12hr shift 6am - 6pm, on the Sunday. When I got up Sunday morning, I didn’t have much time to get ready, and rushed my stretches. My lower back gave out. I immediately sat down on the living room floor, assessing how bad it was, and cursing the fact that I had committed to doing this overtime and now I was going to have to call in sick, lose an extra £250 on my wage, and have the absence go down on my work record. And I would have failed.

But the whole point of this overtime exercise was to push myself through difficulty and do something I didn’t want to do. I was in a lot of pain, but I thought, ‘What If?’ (another Goggins concept). It’s 12hrs… I could manage to get dressed. I could make it to the car. I could drive to work. What if I could bear the intense pain for 12hrs. Imagine how I’d feel when I got home. What an achievement it would be.

Not only did I go to work, but around 6 or 7 hours into the shift, the pain started to ease bit by bit. By the end of the shift, it had all but gone and I honestly could have carried on working. I was amazed at what I’d done. My back went out, and I worked it off?! I had every genuine reason not to go to work that day. All last week, the achievement grew in my mind. At first, I kept thinking “I doubt there’s anyone else here at work who would have come in in the amount of pain I was in and done a 12hr shift.” And then I started thinking, “Actually, I don’t know how many people in general could have done what I did.”

So now I have a massive cookie in my jar. An achievement that by no means changed the world, but was something I thought was impossible, had every reason to not even try, and yet I did it. Plus, taking on all the extra hours that week has helped me to refine my stretching exercises that I now do everyday. For three years, I’ve been in a lot of muscular pain in my lower back and hips. I can’t easily bend at the waist from standing, and the longer I stand up, the worse it gets. I’ve now discovered that when the pain starts to build, I need to touch my toes and hold it for a few seconds. Doing a couple of those makes the pain go away for a while. I wouldn’t have discovered this without having pushed myself to do so many hours at work. And I wouldn’t have done the hours if I hadn’t been reading this book.

Goggins always says that he doesn’t believe in motivation. He talks about how maybe something might give you a boost to start something difficult, but when it actually gets really hard, there’s nothing external that can push you through to carry on. At that point, it has to come from inside yourself. So it’s not that reading this book will change you; it’s not that you’re supposed to do what Goggins has done; but what the book did for me was to better recognise the ‘quitting voice’ in my head, the one that tells me to relax and take it easy, rather than challenge myself.

Maybe I’m taking the quote out of context and misinterpreting it, and if that is the case then I apologise and will accept being corrected, but Goggins book reminds me of what the C’s once said about “Separating out limiting emotions, and learning to think in limitless terms.”
 
I’ll share Akira the Don’s Goggins album here for those interested in his work and story. I know this is a discussion of his book but listening to the album might influence others to decide if they would like to read it. I will give the obligatory language warning as he is a bit intense with his speech but considering this thread is about him I don’t see it as a breech of the rules although if this is not the case please feel free to take it down.

The album is particularly a good listen for working out or house cleaning.
 

gottathink

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
Not only did I go to work, but around 6 or 7 hours into the shift, the pain started to ease bit by bit. By the end of the shift, it had all but gone and I honestly could have carried on working. I was amazed at what I’d done. My back went out, and I worked it off?! I had every genuine reason not to go to work that day. All last week, the achievement grew in my mind. At first, I kept thinking “I doubt there’s anyone else here at work who would have come in in the amount of pain I was in and done a 12hr shift.” And then I started thinking, “Actually, I don’t know how many people in general could have done what I did.”

So now I have a massive cookie in my jar. An achievement that by no means changed the world, but was something I thought was impossible, had every reason to not even try, and yet I did it.
Wow, that’s cool. This is really, really interesting. And the fact that the experience lead you two figuring out a stretching routine that was going to work.

Your example depicts exactly what I was curious to know about—the mechanism of Goggin’s philosophy. I will be interested to read more of your experience with this if you want to post it.
 
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Artex

Padawan Learner
I’d like to share this book here on the forum and just give my general ideas about what the book is about and how the themes transfer over onto particular Work principles, since I believe Goggins tapped into certain truths about being alive, and deep insights into the human machine, the mind, and their potentials.

Goggins had an incredibly physically and emotionally abusive upbringing. In his teens he got inspired by a talk he heard by a military man who’s job was to parachute down to aircrash sites to rescue downed airmen.

After a brief stint in the airforce where he faced some of his demons and bettered himself, he fell back into an unhealthy and unmotivated life, until one day he watched a documentary about the Navy SEALs. Re-motivated, he made enquiries as to how to join up, and was told he would need to loose over 100lbs in three months and pass an academic test in order to qualify.

Spoiler alert, he lost the weight and passed the test. And from there, his story just gets more and more amazing in terms of his physical achievements.

The easiest way to explain it here is that Goggins is a true, modern day fakir. A man who developed an iron will and strength and metal toughness from repeatedly putting himself through the most gruelling physical scenarios. From going through multiple different special forces training, to running ultra-marathons of 100 miles and more, to breaking the world record for the most number of pull-ups in 24hrs.

But he always maintains the same theme throughout each stage of his life: he never did any of it for the physical achievement; it was all about going to war against his weak-mindedness. Always trying to find situations that would trigger the negative voice inside his head that always said the same things: “Why the hell am I doing this? I could just quit right now, go back home and relax. This is crazy. Seriously, I’m in so much pain, I can’t continue.”, so that he could find a way to push through and carry on, in order to become “uncommon among uncommon men”.

It’s a life of genuine intentional suffering. Of failure and trying again, and of physical feats (sustaining fractured shins during one training school for the military, and tightly taping socks around his legs and ankles with duct tape so that he could continue to do the training runs everyday, despite being in more pain most people could imagine, for example) that truly convey the Gurdjieffian concepts of super efforts and tapping into the large accumulator.

Often, a new book will be recommended on the forum that is not esoteric, but gives us another way to view work concepts, that refreshes them for us, revivifies the ideas. This is a book about building inner strength and fortitude, and mental toughness, by changing ones attitude towards difficult tasks and embracing situations that cause suffering, rather than turning away from them and seeking comfort.

I think it would be very useful for members here who are struggling at the moment; those who are suffering, and wish with all their heart that the suffering would end. The secret Goggins uncovered on his own, and shares with us through telling the story of his life is that the suffering will never end, but you can change your attitude towards it and embrace it, and use it to build you up and make you stronger, rather than weaken you and break you down; you can become someone who is tough enough to carry on whatever happens, rather than giving up.
Such a fantastic book! Well worth getting the audio version which has extra Q&A with him at the end of each chapter. I've listened to it a couple of times and I have to agree 100% about him being a modern day fakir.

Thanks for sharing!
 

Joe

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Often, a new book will be recommended on the forum that is not esoteric, but gives us another way to view work concepts, that refreshes them for us, revivifies the ideas. This is a book about building inner strength and fortitude, and mental toughness, by changing ones attitude towards difficult tasks and embracing situations that cause suffering, rather than turning away from them and seeking comfort.

Does he give any examples of how this physical toughness was translatable into overcoming the harder stuff like programmed beliefs and mastering himself at that level? Most people run a mile from that. Maybe he was running a LOT of miles from it. Sorry, not dismissing the book, but just thought I'd ask. Mastering the physical body can be very useful, but mostly (IMO) when the inner strength gained is used to master the rest of the being.
 

Mike

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The easiest way to explain it here is that Goggins is a true, modern day fakir.
Hi T.C.,

I bought the book when it came out during the holiday season (forget the year). I read a little bit of it and stopped. I kind of thought and felt that I wasn't going to get much out of it or there were better things to focus on, because of what you pointed out T.C. in terms of it being about an amazing fakir. And it made me pissed off overall that someone like Goggins, who does seem very honorable, likely doesn't know or understand much about what was above him in terms of the people he was taking orders from and serving.

I've known a few guys that went on to become Navy Seals. I think about them sometimes and that they may not have too much of a clue about what they served as an 'operator' during things like the Iraq War, etc. And I also think about, which touches on Joe's post, what would happen to them if they really realized and viscerally felt what they served in ignorance with respect to the actions they may have taken with that service.

Figure, I may have 'thrown the baby out with the bathwater' though with my reaction, since it does seem that a person can take what is given in terms of what you wrote and apply it in terms of how you described.
 
I haven’t read the book yet, I might if it climbs the hierarchy of great stuff I still have to read and that’s a big list but I have listened to him a bit.

His idea seems to be that you are stronger than you think and with training you can be even stronger. This of course can translate into service to self or service to others paths. He’s great for getting motivated to clean your room or get in shape but I haven’t gotten the impression that he has a deep understanding of evil. He’s more about smashing obstacles than pursuing wisdom.

There is value to this and I agree with the idea that he is of the path of the fakir. Hopefully hanging out with Rogan and others will put that unstoppable drive into endeavors that will grow his wisdom. 🤔

Obviously I could be wrong as I have not read the book and I only have few hours of experience with him but he is impressive and noteworthy.
 

gottathink

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
Does he give any examples of how this physical toughness was translatable into overcoming the harder stuff like programmed beliefs and mastering himself at that level? Most people run a mile from that. Maybe he was running a LOT of miles from it. Sorry, not dismissing the book, but just thought I'd ask. Mastering the physical body can be very useful, but mostly (IMO) when the inner strength gained is used to master the rest of the being.
I’m reading it now and am keen on these types of examples also because I wonder if that’s the key to enabling physical recovery, I.e. freeing the mind of its limits. He has alluded to exactly this in the first chapter.

I’ve been down the road of pushing to the point the point of physical breakdown so Goggin’s must have something else to offer that turns the belief system towards an enhanced ability to recover. His childhood is pretty extreme that’s for sure, as a young boy he already had to develop mental skills to cope with what essentially is psychological and physical torture. His father sounds like a psychopath, certainly behaves as one.
 

gottathink

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
One example, as an eight year old he developed the mental toughness of taking his beatings and standing tall to stare the devil (his father) in the eye, and then limp out of the room.

He made a decision to not be broken, all it was is a decision. The physical abuse continued but he had decided who he was.
 

primeaddict

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
Thanks for posting this T.C.! As you said his a prime example of a modern day fakir. His story is how mental toughness is a great tool to overcoming physical, mental and emotional weakness. His story does not particularly show how mental toughness works on overcoming psychic spiritual weakness, as Joe pointed out. However, I find that knowing how to be mentally tough is necessary when dealing with the my internal demons. Those inner critical voices, that we all have when exposing these demons, have to be challenged with objective and realistic facts. This is an example of mental toughness.

The current world chaos is beating the drums of chaos, war, and self-destruction which is going to excite our inner demons. As such, we have to be prepared to face with a clear understanding and objective response to this inner critic. Mental toughness will make it easier to endure.
 
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