“Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins

T.C.

The Living Force
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 suppose it would depend on what kinds of programmed beliefs.

There are exercises throughout the book that are similar to Peterson’s self authoring and future authoring, together with a sort of mental tool kit and approaches to challenges that may help the reader to achieve their goals.

He is definitely big on being as honest as you can with yourself about the type of person you are and what are your shortcomings, how do you lie to yourself and others. I wouldn’t say that he conceptualises his kind of Work in terms of programmes, exactly. But more along the lines of achievement vs. mediocrity, and allows his readers to personalise the meaning of those ideas for themselves, encouraging them to move away from a dissatisfactory lifestyle of just always being the same person, in the same rut, day after day, and instead trying to identify things about themselves, whether physical, emotional or intellectual, that they could improve and making it clear that growth in any area can’t happen without pain.

Regarding the ‘healing and recovery’ ideas brought up in the thread, Goggins basically pushed himself for years and years, none stop, with no rest or recovery, until his health deteriorated to the point where he was dying. He eventually came to discover that stretching, something he’d never done or taken seriously, was his key to reversing the damage.
 
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gottathink

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I suppose it would depend on what kinds of programmed beliefs.

There are exercises throughout the book that are similar to Peterson’s self authoring and future authoring, together with a sort of mental tool kit and approaches to challenges that may help the reader to achieve their goals.

He is definitely big on being as honest as you can with yourself about the type of person you are and what are your shortcomings, how do you lie to yourself and others. I wouldn’t say that he conceptualises his kind of Work in terms of programmes, exactly. But more along the lines of achievement vs. mediocrity, and allows his readers to personalise the meaning of those ideas for themselves, encouraging them to move away from a dissatisfactory lifestyle of just always being the same person, in the same rut, day after day, and instead trying to identify things about themselves, whether physical, emotional or intellectual, that they could improve and making it clear that growth in any area can’t happen without pain.

Regarding the ‘healing and recovery’ ideas brought up in the thread, Goggins basically pushed himself for years and years, none stop, with no rest or recovery, until his health deteriorated to the point where he was dying. He eventually came to discover that stretching, something he’d never done or taken seriously, was his key to reversing the damage.
I have only read the first chapter and I have found that his writing has been able to capture my mind. I think this is because he uses language I can relate to. When I’m working with clients who have chronic muscoskeletal pain and are rehabbing old injuries I ask them what is the most limiting factor or thing in their life right now. This is a very important question when wanting to help someone with a rehab intervention. Following are my thoughts so far.

The first exercise is nothing new—identify and journal “the current factors limiting your growth and success”.

It’s taken me a couple of days to think about and try and answer honestly. Initially I thought nothing, there is nothing I want to succeed at, so how can anything be limiting if I don’t even want to be alive. Well that’s a same old, same old depression program that I run. After a while I started to remember the goals I had last year and then remembered oh yeah these are things I want to experience or learn. Then finally I was able to think about limiting factors. What I have concluded is that it is key to be able to not just honestly but accurately identify what these factors are.

A pre-requisite to getting this right is knowledge, i.e. knowledge of physiology and psychology. One has to be able to see clearly what the limiting factors are otherwise pushing through suffering to break through self imposed limits is not going to work. For example I became very capable of pushing through physically and developing very high levels of strength endurance. But I kept pushing instead of understanding that my difficulty sleeping was holding me back. So non-specific suffering, just hammering away at yourself without having a clear strategy does not lead to growth, instead it leads to self destruction. This is pretty basic stuff and my example is obvious to me now but when you’re young and dumb these things aren’t obvious. The reasons for my insomnia were quite complex and I have learned a lot about this over the years.

Anyway having begun reading this book I realise that I’ve actually become too soft. I have a lot more knowledge now but I’ve come to expect growth by seeking relief (through rest and relaxation) instead of applying myself with more determination to identify and then change some of my programming.

I was out on my SUP this morning trying to catch a few waves but my board is quite little so not very stable. My bigger board although more stable is quite scary when it’s rough. Having winded myself once by being clocked in the ribs, when it’s rough I now take out the small board. It’s blinking hard to stand on and I have been pretty defeated by it. Today, instead of allowing a feeling of defeat I practiced keeping my mind calm and figuring out different strategies for getting out past the breakers and standing on my board. So I caught no waves, and it was a wobble board session that was no fun, but I did come back in feeling like I’d achieved a small victory over my mind. I do know next time my balance and proprioception in my feet will have improved. So maybe I’ll get better seems ridiculous to assume I won’t.

The key thought I held in my mind is “to grow you have to suffer”. I know I’m talking about a pretty minor accomplishment but nevertheless it’s a step in the right direction. “The suffering will ever end” so may as well enjoy the learning.
 

NewEngland Seeker

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
Regarding the ‘healing and recovery’ ideas brought up in the thread, Goggins basically pushed himself for years and years, none stop, with no rest or recovery, until his health deteriorated to the point where he was dying. He eventually came to discover that stretching, something he’d never done or taken seriously, was his key to reversing the damage.
PUSH/REST cycle has to be balance for a healthy life. What he learned was that too much push causes excessive neuromuscular rigidity, restricted fluid flow, and excessive inflammation. Stretching, low resistant motion, and deeper sleep will balance out the PUSH.

A pre-requisite to getting this right is knowledge, i.e. knowledge of physiology and psychology. One has to be able to see clearly what the limiting factors are otherwise pushing through suffering to break through self imposed limits is not going to work. For example I became very capable of pushing through physically and developing very high levels of strength endurance. But I kept pushing instead of understanding that my difficulty sleeping was holding me back. So non-specific suffering, just hammering away at yourself without having a clear strategy does not lead to growth, instead it leads to self destruction. This is pretty basic stuff and my example is obvious to me now but when you’re young and dumb these things aren’t obvious. The reasons for my insomnia were quite complex and I have learned a lot about this over the years.
Your determination to increase physical endurance is a FANTASTIC trait that I have observed in about 10% of my patients. It is FANTASTIC since it is 200 times easier to help someone increase their rest and relaxation than it is to increase their exercise and physical suffering. Just saying.

Your difficulty with sleeping is core reason for you low enthusiasm and depression. Depression is the emotional realization that your vital force is bankrupt and you can't by those shiny new shoes.
Do you have sleep apnea? It runs in my family so I have to struggle with it too. I have learned that low brain oxygen causes the dark emotions and horriblelizing life's circumstances. I'll do deep breathing when I wake up during the night and first thing in the morning. Since focusing on increasing my brain oxygen level the negative affect from sleep apnea has greatly improved. Breath more.

 

gottathink

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Your difficulty with sleeping is core reason for you low enthusiasm and depression. Depression is the emotional realization that your vital force is bankrupt and you can't by those shiny new shoes.
Do you have sleep apnea? It runs in my family so I have to struggle with it too. I have learned that low brain oxygen causes the dark emotions and horriblelizing life's circumstances. I'll do deep breathing when I wake up during the night and first thing in the morning. Since focusing on increasing my brain oxygen level the negative affect from sleep apnea has greatly improved.
Yes I think this exactly right. I have a history of centralised sleep apnea as opposed to obstructive sleep apnea.


So improving breathing has been and is ongoing work for me. There are psychological as well as complex
Musculoskeletal factors: slight scoliosis, twisted upper palate and sphenoid bone, a slight cross bite, difficulty expanding lungs on my left side, twisted pelvis, and add to that anxiety and gastrointestinal stress all combining to cause a choking sensation and leading to me stopping breathing during the night which wakes me up. I have a lot more good nights these days however still many things get mixed up between physical and psychological and often it can be hard to figure out what to prioritise. But I am a heck of a lot further down the road to feeling alive than I used to be. I don’t have that many headaches anymore and no vomiting from nausea anymore. I do think I’m at the point of needing to physically work a bit harder again with well timed recovery in order to stimulate more work and recovery cycles. Any suggestions or feedback welcomed.
 
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NewEngland Seeker

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
So improving breathing has been and is ongoing work for me. There are psychological as well as complex
Musculoskeletal factors: slight scoliosis, twisted upper palate and sphenoid bone, a slight cross bite, difficulty expanding lungs on my left side, twisted pelvis, and add to that anxiety and gastrointestinal stress all combining to cause a choking sensation and leading to me stopping breathing during the night which wakes me up. I have a lot more good nights these days however still many things get mixed up between physical and psychological and often it can be hard to figure out what to prioritise. But I am a heck of a lot further down the road to feeling alive than I used to be. I don’t have that many headaches anymore and no vomiting from nausea anymore. I do think I’m at the point of needing to physically work a bit harder again with well timed recovery in order to stimulate more work and recovery cycles. Any suggestions or feedback welcomed.

Quit the list of physical distortions! I see your parents did not have their genetic parts up to snuff before making you;-)
You must be advanced enough soul that you wanted a real challenge on how to solve a basket load of physical puzzles. All the best.
 

NewEngland Seeker

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
This post reminded me of this song that was such an inspiration for us boys in the 60's, when men were men! It also speaks to the men that are depicted in the romance reading assignment.

This balled that will trigger every woke and gender challenged kids today.

 

gottathink

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Quit the list of physical distortions! I see your parents did not have their genetic parts up to snuff before making you;-)
You must be advanced enough soul that you wanted a real challenge on how to solve a basket load of physical puzzles. All the best.
Thank you, yes it has been a puzzle for sure and I must have achieved a whole lot when I consider what’s happened to some of my cousins (ie one died at 27 from
Chrohns, another multiple bowel dissections), and the mess my brother is in. But I was determined from quite a young age to find health. I would make my own doctors appointments when I was 12, forge a signed note from my Mum then walk to the surgery having taken myself out of school. I quickly found out that the medical profession could not help me. And so started my quest I guess.

What I have learned and am learning in regards to defying ones own genetics is pretty amazing. Hence why David Goggin’s speaks to me.

I do think I have been able to help quite a number of people with my approach and so this learning of mine is ultimately quite a blessing. I say to my rehab clients, “let’s just move in the right direction and let’s see how far we can go”. I have so many great stories at what people have achieved it’s awesome and refused to be broken themselves.

So if anyone is reading this with pain and musculoskeletal injury problems just keep going, keep looking for answers to your own puzzle. Keep nudging yourself in the right direction.

The Green Beret has a beautiful voice, “men who mean what they say”.
 

NewEngland Seeker

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
I do think I have been able to help quite a number of people with my approach and so this learning of mine is ultimately quite a blessing.
This is so true, with all the trials and errors that it takes to find the best solution cannot be duplicated. Then to top it off, you solve another one of your problem that requires you to adjust and tinker with everything else in order to regain the balance. It is a constant building of sand castles.

The Green Beret has a beautiful voice, “men who mean what they say”.
The back story of this Sargent is amazing. He was a real man who lived a life of mental toughness.
 
I read the book from start to finish, then read it again in sections that resonated with me. Maybe it was because I was in the marines and I had “something to prove” but his book brought me to tears.

I think perhaps his methods aren’t for everyone. But they are for me. They changed me. I believe if you have had moments in your life where you have endured extreme physical and psychological pain and have tried and failed to overcome it. This is a method of work for you.

I haven’t been able to run more than 1.5 miles without my shin bones fracturing since the military, but his book and his book showed me something I’ve never seen or applied before!

I just finished running 6 miles and not even phased to the degree I used to be because of his methods of viewing the mind as a separate entity. Further knowledge of intense dedicated stretching and painful but highly character building freezing showers helps IMMENSELY in recovery. Almost as if I didn’t run at all.

I must remind you, that this was NEVER about a physical achievement. It was about going into something that my mind officially declared was too painful and too fearful to endure. Every morning I fear putting my shoes on and doing this but every day that passes, the fear is weaker and weaker. This method of doing what you hate develops what he calls “armoring the mind”. And that is EXACTLY what is happening. Combining this with knowledge acquired from this forum and for some moments when the suffering is intense, a state of hyper awareness Is sensed. A separation from my mind is born and I talk to it, demanding it relinquish its lies and control over my pain and fear. When it doesn’t give, I push more to make it submit. If I’m lucky, there’s union and a harmony. A moment where the master once again controls the horse. And it feels amazing.

Anyone who struggles with anxiety, low self esteem, laziness, low accountability for themselves… I HIGHLY recommend this book. Then I highly recommend his lectures and podcasts. Combining what he had to go through and knowledge from the Cs and the group, this stuff is unlimited potential.
 
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 worked with all those guys as an EOD Officer in the Navy, and after doing it and reflecting upon them I can’t find it impressive to just mindlessly punish your body for what appears to me to be no reason.

Now as far as using physical activity to build willpower sure. I ran the mile in high school and rowed crew in college and was able to translate that into other stressful situations involving “leadership” decisions, but the physical fitness is more of a building block and not the “final destination” ala Jocko Willink or Goggins.

In general Special Forces and the associated lifestyle becomes way less cool once you’ve seen the inside if you really want to pursue the STO path…

Another data point to consider is that both Jocko and Goggins put out what is essentially the same videos on Instagram, and by that I mean there’s been zero evolution in thought, consciousness ect…. It’s very very static which I’ve always interpreted as a bad sign, if you are learning then you’ll also change. So I agree with Mike, and we both were in the military. I think those books are written to keep up the aura around those institutions more than anything else, good recruiting tools….
 

T.C.

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I think those books are written to keep up the aura around those institutions more than anything else, good recruiting tools….

If you actually read Goggins’ book, you’ll find that’s not the case. For someone whose job it actually was to recruit people into the military, he spends little time advertising it as a career, or romanticising about fighting for one’s country. The book is about self-improvement.

Having had more time to reflect on what it is Goggins is trying to teach, I think the best way to explain it is how to engage in mental martial arts with oneself, and even with others. In a nutshell, his idea or method is to always strive to find creative ways to fight against the part of the mind that tells one to quit because something is too hard, too painful, or because it says you can’t do it, it’s impossible or you’re not good enough.

Whether it’s by reminding yourself of past achievements, or arguing with that voice, or by reminding yourself of times you quit in the past and how that made you feel, or breaking the task down into it’s different parts and planning meticulously to make it more realistic and put it into perspective, or blocking out the pain or the voice by singing an inspirational song, or by summoning up a tough, aggressive attitude, his point is that there is always some way to never quit your goal, if you want it badly enough and you’re prepared to figure it out.

As to why someone would put themselves through physical torture to ‘callous their mind’ as Goggins puts it, everyone is on a different path and chose their plan before they came. But a psychologist or psychoanalyst might look at Goggins’ physically torturous, abusive childhood and reason that the root of his drive to bear physical pain (and possibly even some kind of addiction to it) probably lies there.
 

Artex

Jedi
If you actually read Goggins’ book, you’ll find that’s not the case. For someone whose job it actually was to recruit people into the military, he spends little time advertising it as a career, or romanticising about fighting for one’s country. The book is about self-improvement.
I'd have to agree. I had no interest in a military career or even running ultra-marathons after reading the book. I did, however, start to think about how much harder I could push myself without even coming close to my limits in order to improve my mental and physical health.

For a little humor, this parody bit is what introduced me to Goggins and led me to read his book. Still makes me laugh.
 
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