Mental Toughness: Life Lessons from David Goggins

To a lot of people, David Goggins is an embodiment of the idea of hardening your mind and figuring out a way to do things that others perceive as impossible.

Mental Toughness: Life Lessons from David Goggins

To a lot of people, David Goggins is an embodiment of the idea of hardening your mind and figuring out a way to do things that others perceive as impossible.

Despite growing up in an abusive home with a learning disability, Goggins has shown the world that mastering your mind can take you from being an obese 24 year old, to becoming a Navy SEAL, former USAF Tactical Air Control Party Member, ultra-marathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, a triathlete, a former Guinness  world record holder for the most amount of pull-ups done for 24h, a New York Times best selling author... and the list goes on.

Top 6 Lessons


So if you're being honest, you wouldn't want to mess with Goggins, he's a tough guy. But you can learn from him.

Here are 6 lessons that we can learn from The Toughest Man Alive:

Forget everything you know about motivation

"Motivation comes and goes. When you're driven, whatever is in front of you will get destroyed.", David tells us in his autobiography, Can't Hurt Me.

Only maintaining a disciplined lifestyle, on the other hand, can help improving your life and making an actual change.

Be brutally honest with yourself

Goggins had to shred himself to build this other, stronger character within him who could face the harsh truth and the odds that held him back. He often points out at the importance of being brutally honest with yourself and using that as fuel to help you succeed in life. He even considers it as a starting point to your journey, and that you won't be fully aligned with who you are if you keep sugarcoating your flaws.

"Once you come face to face with who you are, you have a starting point.", he said, during his interview with London Real.

Push yourself beyond your limits

David Goggins had run 70 miles of his 100-mile race when he began to pee blood and broke all the small bones in his feet. This happened during his first ultra-marathon, a race he entered to raise money for charity.

Despite the agonizing pain, Goggins had to sit down and recall some mental strategies he's used throughout his Navy SEAL taining: self-talk and visualization. These two methods made him visualize getting up from the chair and taking small steps away from it. From that self-talk, he ended up really getting up from his chair to completing the final 30 miles, nonstop.

David proved to everybody in that race that your mindset does create your reality. It keeps you accountable, and sometimes, you need to remind yourself that the most walls have doors.

"Only you can master your mind, which is what it takes to live a bold life filled with accomplishements most people consider beyond their capability." David Goggins, Can't Hurt Me.

David Goggins in the San Diego marathon

Confront your fears

Goggins overcame his fear of the water to become a Navy SEAL. It even made him quit for some time because this fear paralyzed him. But then he started to wonder, "What if? What if I became a SEAL?" these constant, consistant questions enabled him to overcome his aquaphobia, which was  a gigantic step towards his success. And not only he became a SEAL, but he excelled at it.

Do you know what one of the toughest guys on the planet and your kitchen shelf have in common? A cookie jar. Only David's cookie jar is metaphorical.

Goggins created this concept of "Cookie Jar" as a method to remind yourself of what you've been through and how it made your mindset stronger. He defines this method by the storage of every accomplishement you have achieved for the times when you feel absorbed by negative loops. This can be done in your mind, or in a real cookie jar.

He mentions in a Joe Rogan podcast, "A lot of us when we have bad times in life, even the hardest person in the world, we forget how badass we are during that hard time."

Take time to reflect and be proud of what you became

It is very important to take some time to reflect on your journey and appreciate the things that made you who you are. Goggins says that the time he spent at a hospital, recovering, and not working out, is the best time of his life. Because during that time he got to evalute his life and look back at his accomplishements, which got him to bring out the best of him after his recovery.

"My happiness is my reflection on the suffering during my journey and knowing that I never quit nor was I guided by anybody on this earth", he says.
This shows the importance of practising gratitude. So take few minutes of your day to reflect on your journey and own up to what made you who you are today, the good and the bad.

Joe Rogan brings an excellent point in his podcast with David Goggins, when he 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 because this is who they are. You're a guy who felt that exact same way, but figured out how to not be that person, and be a person who you would admire."

Although many people may not recommend pushing yourself to the extreme, you can't debate with David Goggins when he says: "most people quit at 40%".

Currently, Goggins is working towards spreading more awareness about what our minds can really do. In addition to publishing his autobiography that tells his journey in details, he's starting workout challenges on social media, doing live workouts, coaching people, and reminding us every single day that we always have a choice.

"It's so easy to be great nowadays, because everyone else is weak. If you have any mental toughness, if you have any fraction of self-discipline; The ability to not want to do it, but still do it; If you can get through to doing things that you hate to do: on the other side is greatness."-David Goggins.


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