1st Leadership Book Review for “You Can’t Hurt Me”by David Goggins – 10/10 Must Read!

I read anywhere from 5-10 books in a month and my book collection is well into the 300’s but I can honestly say, this may be my favorite book.  A few weeks ago, I finished You Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins, and that’s when I had the brilliant idea to do my first book review for this blog.  Although I love creating my own content on this blog, this is an exceptional book that deserves your attention.

Top 3 Takeaways from David Goggin’s book, “You Can’t Hurt Me”

First off, before we start the review of this life-changing book, who is David Goggins?

Well for starters, David Goggin’s is a retired Navy Seal (only after his third trip through BUD/S), ultra marathon runner and record holder, Ultra Man champion, Triathlete, and holder of the world record for pull-ups in a 24 hour window (with 4030 reps).  Most notably as of recent, David Goggin’s has become a social media icon taking the world by storm with his life-changing mindset about “un-governing our minds” to help us unlock our full potential.  And David’s book, You Can’t Hurt Me, is his tool for sharing how he unlocked his own mind to turn his life around.  His story is nothing short of remarkable as he accomplishes greatness time and time again only after overcoming extreme adversity and awful circumstances.

Now, I strongly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who isn’t offended by a bounty of strong language.  Just like my own writing style, David Goggins is authentic in his writing and he isn’t afraid to spice it up a bit with some colorful language.  David Goggin’s is not your typically self-help guru.  In fact, he’s far from it.  He is authentic, he’s intense and he’s pure in his approach to inspiring others which I love.

But if strong language offends you then you might want to skip this weeks blog post too because the first quote I’ll share with you from the book is a testament to his “colorful”  approach to inspiration and leads me to my first key takeaway from this book.

On pg. 68, David shares, “If you look in the mirror and you see a fat person, don’t tell yourself that you need to lose a couple pounds.  Tell the truth.  You’re fucking fat!  It’s okay.  Just say you’re fat if your fat”.

Wow.  Not typically how we hear things from most of the self-help guru’s in today’s world.  But this is powerful message because it’s David’s way of saying that the only way to effectively make changes in our lives is to acknowledge where we are currently without sugar coating things…

This leads me to key takeaway #1 from this book…

  • Whether in a leadership role or not, by cutting out the “BS” in life and being honest with ourselves about where we are, we give ourselves the best opportunity to see the future clearly. Sugar coating our current circumstances doesn’t work.  This goes for both yourself and those you lead.  There is a time and place for being kind, compassionate and supportive but there is also a time when we need to face the harsh reality of our circumstances or we hinder our ability to overcome the challenges we face.

Later on in the book, David shares in great detail his own acceptance of his horrific circumstances,  Specifically, he reviews how he made it through Hell week (for the third time).  For those of you unfamiliar with what Hell Week is, it is hardest week of the entire 6-month BUD/S training program (the “entry course” for Navy Seals) with roughly a 90% failure rate.  David Goggin’s recaps going through Hell Week 3 different times due to injuries only to finally finished BUD/S with two broken legs that he literally duck taped for the final few weeks so he could finish.

The quote he shared was, “I went into Hell Week [for the third time] knowing I put myself there, that I wanted to be there, and that I had all of the tools I needed to win this fucked up game, which gave me the passion to persevere and claim ownership of the experience”.

This leads me to key takeaway #2….

  • No excuses.  We MUST take ownership of our circumstances.  Many of us set ambitious goals for life only to sell ourselves short once the first sign of adversity perks its ugly head.  Unlocking our true potential is about much more than just setting ambitious goals.  It requires us to take ownership of the circumstances in which we find ourselves, put in the work and build confidence in our own ability to succeed and be passionate about the process.

Finally, towards the end of the book, David relives all of his breathe-taking accomplishments and admits how many times he thought about quitting.  He refers back to his 3 trips through Hell Week, BUD/S, deployments, running and training for Marathons and Ultra Marathons and his multiple attempts to set the world record for the most pull ups in a 24 hour window.

When reliving these incredible accomplishments he attributes his ability to overcome the associated challenges and his own thoughts of quitting to a concept he coined called “The Cookie Jar”.

David shares, “The Cookie Jar became a concept I’ve employed whenever I need a reminder of who I am and what I am capable of.  We all have a cookie Jar inside of us, because life, being what it is, has always tested us.  Even if you’re feeling low and beat down by life right now, I guarantee you can think of a time or two when you overcame the odds and tasted success.” 

This leads me to key takeaway #3…

  • It’s inevitable that we will face challenges and difficulties throughout our lives.  It’s not a matter of if  life will challenge us but rather, when.  The sooner accept that fact, the easier life becomes because only then can we begin to prepare for those challenges and develop our own “Cookie Jar” of sorts.  We can then fill that cookie jar with our accomplishments and good memories to fall back on in those moments when life becomes most difficult.

It was difficult for me to only pick three key takeaway’s from this book but I didn’t want to spoil too much of the book for those of you interested in reading it.  I strongly recommend this book to anyone and everyone looking for an invaluable perspective on life. The pages of this book are filled with one incredible message after another.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this review and plan to checkout the book yourself.  I’ve attached the link for the book on Amazon below.

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