Cant Hurt Me

by David Goggins

Troy Shu
Troy Shu
Updated at: February 23, 2024
 5 min read
Cant Hurt Me
Cant Hurt Me

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What are the big ideas?

  1. Confidence comes from being responsible for yourself, not from being naturally talented or having a perfect life.
  2. Life can be really tough, like being stuck in quicksand, but you can break free from bad habits that keep pulling you down.
  3. People usually only use about 40% of what they're really capable of. There's a lot more you can do if you push yourself.
  4. Facing tough situations, like going for a run in bad weather, makes you stronger and helps you reach your goals.
  5. When you set clear goals for yourself and check on them regularly, like with notes on a mirror, it helps you stay focused and improve.


Personal Accountability as a Foundation for Confidence

  • “By the time I graduated, I knew that the confidence I’d managed to develop didn’t come from a perfect family or God-given talent. It came from personal accountability which brought me self respect, and self-respect will always light a way forward.”

Understanding and Overcoming Life's Deepest Struggles

  • “Very few people know how the bottom feels, but I do. It’s like quicksand. It grabs you, sucks you under, and won’t let go. When life is like that it’s easy to drift and continue to make the same comfortable choices that are killing you, over and over again.”

Recognizing and Expanding Personal Capabilities

  • “You’re probably living at about 40 percent of your true capability.”
  • “From the time you take your first breath, you become eligible to die. You also become eligible to find your greatness and become the One Warrior. But it is up to you to equip yourself for the battle ahead.”
  • “Only you can master your mind, which is what it takes to live a bold life filled with accomplishments most people consider beyond their capability.”

Embracing Discomfort for Personal Growth

  • “I brainwashed myself into craving discomfort. If it was raining, I would go run. Whenever it started snowing, my mind would say, Get your fu*king running shoes on. Sometimes I wussed out and had to deal with it at the Accountability Mirror. But facing that mirror, facing myself, motivated me to fight through uncomfortable experiences, and, as a result, I became tougher. And being tough and resilient helped me meet my goals.”

The Mind's Role in Overcoming Challenges

  • “Everything in life is a mind game! Whenever we get swept under by life’s dramas, large and small, we are forgetting that no matter how bad the pain gets, no matter how harrowing the torture, all bad things end.”

Pursuing Excellence Against Mediocrity

  • "In a society where mediocrity is too often the standard and too often rewarded. There is an intense fascination with men who detest mediocrity, who refuse to define themselves in conventional terms, and who seek to transcend traditionally recognized human capabilities. This is exactly the type of person BUD/S is meant to find. The man who finds a way to complete each and every task to the best of his ability. The man who will adapt and overcome any and all obstacles."

Goal Setting and Self-Accountability

  • "I set goals, wrote them on Post-It notes, and tagged them to what I now call the Accountability Mirror because each day I’d hold myself accountable to the goals I’d set. At first, my goals involved shaping up my appearance and accomplishing all my chores without having to be asked. […] [It] kept me on point from then on, and though I was still young when this strategy came through me, since then I’ve found it useful for people at any stage in life."

Challenging Personal Limitations

  • "Our governor is buried deep in our minds, intertwined with our very identity. It knows what and who we love and hate; it’s read our whole life story and forms the way we see ourselves and how we’d like to be seen. It’s the software that delivers personalized feedback—in the form of pain and exhaustion, but also fear and insecurity, and it uses all of that to encourage us to stop before we risk it all. But, here’s the thing, it doesn’t have absolute control. Unlike the governor in an engine, ours can’t stop us unless we buy into its bulls*t and agree to quit."
  • "Most of us give up when we’ve only given around 40 percent of our maximum effort. Even when we feel like we’ve reached our absolute limit, we still have 60 percent more to give! […] Once you know that to be true, it’s simply a matter of stretching your pain tolerance, letting go of your identity and all your self-limiting stories, so you can get to 60 percent, then 80 percent and beyond without giving up. I call this The 40% Rule, and the reason it’s so powerful is that if you follow it, you will unlock your mind to new levels of performance and excellence in sports and in life, and your rewards will run far deeper than mere material success."

Utilizing Past Successes as Motivation

  • "We all have a cookie jar inside 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 odds and tasted success. It doesn’t have to be a big victory either. It can be something small."

Mental Strategy to Overcome Adversity

  • "Taking Souls is a ticket to finding your own reserve power and riding a second wind. It’s the tool you can call upon to win any competition or overcome every life obstacle. […] This is a tactic for you to be your best when duty calls. It’s a mind game you’re playing on yourself. Taking someone’s soul means you’ve gained a tactical advantage. Life is all about looking for tactical advantages."


  1. How does taking personal accountability lead to self-respect and confidence in one's life?
  2. What are the ways to recognize and break free from the 'quicksand' of comfortable but harmful choices in life?
  3. How can one push past the perceived limit of 40% capability to achieve their true potential?
  4. In what ways does embracing discomfort contribute to personal toughness and resilience?
  5. How can changing one's mindset help overcome life's challenges and move past mediocrity?
  6. What role does setting goals and regularly reflecting in the 'Accountability Mirror' play in personal growth and overcoming self-imposed limitations?

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