Can’t Hurt Me10 min read

Published by Zach on


David Goggins is a badass. It makes me want to be a badass. It makes me want to keep saying “badass.” In Can’t Hurt Me we learn that we all can be badass because how far we go is not based on how physically strong we are, but on how mentally strong we are.

The Review

Can’t Hurt Me is a great story first and foremost. I was worried, when I saw the title and knew Goggins less, that this would just be a self-help, motivational, fluffy, pillow party.

The motivation is there, the fluffy pillows are not.

Goggins takes us into his life, like really into his life. We learn about how his father beat him and his mother (and how that tortured his psyche). We also learn how he failed and cried multiple times throughout his life. It takes confidence and guts to tell the whole-wide-world how you shit yourself on a lawn chair in the middle of a running race. But this is what makes the book so compelling, Goggins’ openness and honesty.

Goggins is one of the baddest badasses there is, but the book is not a brag-fest. There are challenges and instructions that we can all apply right now.

I really liked this book and I’m sure most of you would as well. Read it and start becoming a badass.

The Challenges

One of the reason’s I gave this book such a high rating is the focus on the story. I love a good story (I read this in two days on vacation), I think we all do. However, what bumped it up even higher was the “take-acton” factor after every section of the book. Throughout the book, there are 10 “challenges” that put us, the reader, in the driver’s seat. Telling us how, specifically how, to be better.

I have summarized and listed those challenges below, but I recommend picking up and reading the book because it will help you understand why he says the things he does in each challenge.

Challenge #1

Write down everything holding you back.

What kind of bullshit are you dealing with? Have you been beaten? Abused? Bullied? Maybe you have grown up in such a cushy life you never pushed yourself.

What are the current factors limiting your growth and success? Are you underappreciated or are you standing in your own way?

Get a journal, or your laptop (journal is better), and write them out in detail; write out what is in your way.

Use every gory detail, as Goggins says:

If you were hurt or are still in harm’s way, tell the story in full. Give your pain shape. Absorb its power, because you are about to flip that shit.

You will use your story, this list of excuses, these very good reasons why you shouldn’t amount to a damn thing, to fuel your ultimate success. Sounds fun right? Yeah, it won’t be. But don’t worry about that yet. We’ll get there. For now, just take inventory.

Goggins – Can’t Hurt Me

Then, I know this is very scary, but share it. Talk with someone you care about, or share it on social media, or no one at all.

Challenge #2

Write (digital devices don’t work) all your insecurities, dreams, and goals on Post-Its and tag up your mirror.

The specificity is important here, as Goggins says using education and weight loss as an example:

If you need more education, remind yourself that you need to start working your ass off because you aren’t smart enough! Period, point-blank. If you look in the mirror and see someone who is obviously overweight, that means you’re fucking fat! Own it! It’s okay to be unkind with yourself in these moments because we need thicker skin to improve in life.

Goggins – Can’t Hurt Me

It’s not limited to weight loss or education. I, for example, want to write better and do more with my YouTube channel. I know my speaking and writing ability is shit and I need to get better at it. I also like running, and guess what, I’m shit at that too – my goal is to run a half-marathon and I’m nowhere near that. So, for this week, I have run 7 miles at one time on my Post-It.

Each step, each necessary point on self-improvement, should be written as its own note […] for example, if you are trying to lose forty pounds, your first Post-It may be to lose two pounds in the first week. Once that goal is achieved, remove the note and post the next goal of two to five pounds until your ultimate goal is realized.

Goggins – Can’t Hurt Me

Challenge #3

Take out your journal again. Write down everything you don’t like to do or that make you uncomfortable and go do those things.

Do something that sucks every day, this could be as simple as making your bead or as scary as running for the first time.

We all have areas in our lives we either ignore or can improve upon. Find yours […] doing things – even small things – that make you uncomfortable will help make you strong. The more often you get uncomfortable the stronger you’ll become.

Goggins – Can’t Hurt me

Or, as my mom says, “do something every day that you don’t want to do.”

Or, my personal adaptation from these, “usually, when something is scary, it means you should do it.”

Challenge #4

Choose a competitive situation and take the opponent’s fucking soul.

(It really helps to read this chapter in the book because Goggins does some insane shit in it).

The opponent can be an exam, a boss, a teacher, whomever.

If your coach doesn’t give you time in the games, dominate practice. Check the best guy on your squad and show the fuck out. That means putting time in off the field. Watching film so you can study your opponent’s tendencies, memorizing plays, and training in the gym. You need to make that coach pay attention.

If it’s a boss, work around the clock. Get to work before them. Leave after they go home. Make sure they see that shit, and when it’s time to deliver, surpass their maximum expectations.

Goggins – Can’t Hurt Me

Challenge #5

Visualize your success; think about what that success feels like every day and answer, “why are you doing this?”

Visualize all the challenges as well. What will be a challenge? How will you beat it?

Where does the darkness you’re using as fuel come from? What has calloused your mind? You’ll need to have those answers at your fingertips when you hit a wall of pain and doubt.

[…] Remember, visualization will never compensate for work undone. You cannot visualize lies.

Goggins – Can’t Hurt Me

Challenge #6

Create a “Cookie Jar” of challenges overcome; write this down in your journal (everything).

Don’t just write down the best things, write down obstacles that sucked, like depression or quitting smoking.

This applies well to physical challenges, setting ambitious goals before workouts and letting past victories carry you to new heights, or with intellectual challenges, studying harder and longer than every before because of how hard you’ve worked in the past.

And guess what, once you use this “cookie” to power you to a new goal, you have an ever bigger and better cookie to use in the future.

Challenge #7

Life is a big mind game, you are only competing with yourself; remove the governor from you brain and accomplish great things.

Whether you are running on a treadmill or doing a set of push=ups, get to the point where you are so tired an in pain that your mind is begging you to stop. Then push just 5 to 10 percent further. If the most push-ups you have ever done is one hundred in a workout, do 105 or 110. If you normally run thirty miles each week, run 10 percent more next week.

Goggins – Can’t Hurt Me

Challenge #8 – My Favorite Challenge!

Schedule and compartmentalize your day. Build an optimal schedule for your life.

Here’s what mine looks like during the week (A little less detailed than Goggins would like):

5:30 Wake Up

5:45 – 6:45 Exercise (Run, Lift, or Yoga)

6:45 – 7:15 Shower and Eat

7:15 Leave for Rotations

8 – 4 Medical School Rotations

4 – 6 Study

6 – 7 Cook and Eat

7 – 8 YouTube (scripting or editing)

8 – 8:30 Read

8:30 – 9 Go to bed (I usually shower and read some more)

This will be a three-week challenge. During week one, go about your normal schedule, but take notes. When do you work? Are you working nonstop or checking your phone (the Moment app will tell you)? How long are your meal breaks? When do you exercise, watch TV, or chat to friends? How long is your commute? Are you driving? I want you to get super detailed and document it all with timestamps. This will be your baseline, and you’ll find plenty of fat to trim. Most people waste four to five hours on a given day, and if you can learn to identify and utilize it, you’ll be on your way to increased productivity.

Goggins – Can’t Hurt Me

Week two: build an optimal schedule. Use fifteen- to thirty-minute blocks. Still use time-stamps to track your time.

Week three: your schedule should be working like a well-oiled machine. This should be a working schedule that does not sacrifice sleep.

Challenge #9

Become uncommon among the uncommon. Challenge yourself even if your at the top of your game.

Are you the top 1%? Can you become the top .1%? The top .0001%?

Not only getting into Wharton Business School, but being ranked #1 in your class. It means not just graduating BUD/S, but becoming Enlisted Honor Man in Army Ranger School then going out and finishing Badwater.

Goggins – Can’t Hurt Me

Challenge #10

Document your most recent failures in your journal, be as detailed as you can, and then list the things you can fix. Then schedule your next attempt as soon as you can (put the money down, call it in, add it to your calendar).

This journal should be chock-full of everything you’ve done wrong and right. Be detailed, the more detailed you are the easier it will be to identify specific things that you can improve upon.


  • after taking a shower, I wiped the steam away from our corroded bathroom mirror and took a good look […] I wanted to punch that motherfucker in the face and shatter glass. Instead, I lectured him. It was time to get real.
  • If you have worked for thirty years doing the same shit you’ve hated day in and day out because you were afraid to quit and take a risk, you’ve been living like a pussy. Period, point blank.
  • You are stopping you!
  • I cleaned the hell out of that latrine.
  • I did my entire pull-up workout over again. One missed pull-up cost me an extra 250.
  • The hypothermic water washed over me, the pain was excruciating, and I fucking loved it.
  • But I didn’t just survive. I was about to finish Hell Week at the top of my class, and for the first time, I knew I was a bad motherfucker.
  • The reason it’s important to push the hardest when you want to quit the most is that it helps you callous your mind. It’s the same reason why you have to do your best work when you are least motivated.
  • There is no finish line, Goggins. There is no finish line.
  • It means scheduling your life like you’re on a twenty-four-hour mission every single day.
  • Analyze your schedule, kill your empty habits, burn out the bullshit, and see what’s left. Is it one hour per day? Three? Now maximize that shit. That means listing your prioritized tasks every hour of the day. You can even narrow it down to fifteen-minute windows.
  • We live in a world with a lot of insecure, jealous people. Some of them are our best friends. They are blood relatives. Failure terrifies them. So does our success.

Categories: Book Notes

1 Comment

Arthreya abimanyu · June 29, 2021 at 2:52 am

9/10 is a perfect rating for this book , the notes is just awesome and it inspired me to put this in my must read books list

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