Book Notes #002 - Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy The Odds by David Goggins

Rate: 5/5 (Must Read)

Topic: Non-fiction/biography.

Bio from Goodreads

For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare - poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse colored his days and haunted his nights. But through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a U.S. Armed Forces icon and one of the world's top endurance athletes. The only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, he went on to set records in numerous endurance events, inspiring Outside magazine to name him "The Fittest (Real) Man in America."

"We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training. - Archilochus


  • The Accountability Mirror: Make it a habit to look at yourself in the mirror and see the aspects of your life that you need to improve on. Stay accountable with yourself.

  • The Impossible Task: What is a goal you want to reach but think is impossible to obtain? Give yourself a timeline to reach your goal. Set a deadline and stay consistent on the daily tasks at hand, despite the obstacles.

  • The 40% Rule: Often when we are exhausted, we think we just gave our 100%. But with training, you will find out that you just gave your 40%. Learn to override your instincts and push past the pain. That's where real growth begins. Push one step further to break the mental barrier.

  • What If?: Most of the time we like to focus on the negative aspect of the "what if?" argument. What if it doesn't work? What if it fails? What if I don't accomplish it? The reverse can be just as powerful. But, what if it works? What if you get exactly what you asked for? What if you become the first one to do it?

  • Taking Souls: There is a time where you reach a breaking point. There is no motivation, no momentum, just plain exhaustion. You are ready to give up, but there is a way for you to gain more energy. Realizing that what you are doing is already far more than what you thought was possible during those moments will give you extra motivation. Taking souls is the concept of gaining more energy by realizing that just very few even try to find their breaking point.

  • Armoured mind: One of the most important lessons from this book is the ability to calist the mind. If you want to get really practical about this, this is what you have to do. In order for you to experience this, you have to do things that expose you to this idea. Ex. Cold showers, runs in unwanted weather, waking up early in the morning, etc. Mental toughness comes from exposure of what we categorize as hard to endure. The more we are exposed to those things the less we experience it as a "new" thing. Get used to the "feelings" "thoughts" and reflexes your body and mind makes when you are experiencing something though. The more you do it, the least surprised you will be when you reach it. Constant exposure creates a sense of familiarity with endurance. Endurance is the ability to master your toughs during experiences.


“Heraclitus, a philosopher born in the Persian Empire back in the fifth century BC, had it right when he wrote about men on the battlefield. “Out of every one hundred men,” he wrote, “ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior…”

David Goggins, Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds

“It won’t always go your way, so you can’t get trapped in this idea that just because you’ve imagined a possibility for yourself that you somehow deserve it. Your entitled mind is dead weight. Cut it loose. Don’t focus on what you think you deserve. Take aim on what you are willing to earn!”

David Goggins, Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds

“In the military we always say we don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training,”

David Goggins, Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds

“It's a lot more than mind over matter. It takes relentless self discipline to schedule suffering into your day, every day.”

David Goggins, Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds

“The most important conversations you’ll ever have are the ones you’ll have with yourself.

David Goggins, Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds


  • Read this book if you want to go deeper into topic of mental toughness, the struggles of living with a hard past and how to train the mind to get used to uncomfortable situations.


  • If you want to get the full experience of this book, listen to the audiobook while going for runs! I found myself wanting to go for runs every time I wanted to hear this book. It made it easier to get back into the habit of exercising plus, getting extra motivation along the way.

Note: This was one of my favourite books from 2021 and will most likely be reread in 2022