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

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

by David Goggins

Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds is an extraordinary coming-of-age memoir, full of personal stories about the author’s horrible childhood, unpromising youth, and complex maturity. The book reveals the author’s astonishing character transformation, which resulted from working hard, transcending his own limitations, and achieving excellence. 

Rich in practical advice, which is derived from Goggins’s personal experience, Can’t Hurt Me invites the readers to be accountable for their own goals, while continuously following the 40% Rule and stepping outside their comfort zone.

Summary Notes

I Should Have Been a Statistic

“I felt proud wearing a uniform and knowing at least for a few hours I could pretend that I was a normal kid.”

All of us have faced obstacles and limitations of different kinds in our lifetimes. Some factors that have hindered our progress have been external, but some have been internal. Abuse, insecurities, and problems make a serious and lasting impact on people, especially if they are younger, vulnerable, and still developing. 

On a positive note, such negative circumstances may push people to make a serious effort to overcome their afflictions and misfortunes and make something of themselves. Sometimes, people fail to push themselves if their lives have been very comfortable and risk-free. Staying too long in a comfort zone may be also perceived as a limitation to personal growth and success. 

We should often contemplate our limitations with an open mind and we should strive to identify the circumstances and people that stand between us and our goals and dreams. This would be the first step to empowerment and to accomplishing our personal and professional goals.

Actions to take

Truth Hurts

“Tell the truth about the real reasons for your limitations and you will turn that negativity, which is real, into jet fuel.”

The goals we set can be our driving force and what motivates us to turn all the negativity of our bleak present into a positive and bright future. Keeping ourselves accountable for the goals we set is vital for our personal growth. Accountability is possible only if we are willing to face the hard truths about our lives. The desire to change can be our impetus in life, although change does take a lot of work and effort on our part. 

Spending years of your life doing something that you hate makes you a coward who does not want to take any risks to make a significant change. This is a harsh truth, but it is still a truth that you should admit to yourself. 

People are accustomed to lying to themselves because there is a specific purpose to it - they avoid taking responsibility for their own lives. If you feel that something is stopping you from achieving your goals, then that something is you. In such negative circumstances, you are the one that places limitations on yourself. On the other hand, if you are honest with yourself, you might still have time to accomplish what you’ve dreamed of. 

Everybody feels insecure, but a step forward to becoming more self-confident is to write your insecurities on post-its and stick them in a mirror. Afterward, write the necessary steps you need to take to fight those insecurities or to accomplish your goals. Keep in mind that you are accountable for your goals.

Actions to take

The Impossible Task

“I realized that not all physical and mental limitations are real.”

When darkness surrounds you for a prolonged period, it’s difficult to imagine that there could be a life-saving ray of light. The goal is to see darkness as a test of your character and use it for empowerment. Working hard on yourself means acknowledging and accepting that sometimes we perceive limitations where they don’t actually exist. 

Real personal growth can begin when you regularly step outside your comfort zone. To do so, first, we need to contemplate the things that make us uncomfortable and the things that we know are good for us, but we don’t want to do. Growth is uncomfortable but necessary, so doing things that take us to a discomfort zone is crucial for our personal development. 

Immense life changes do not happen instantly, so focus on small changes by challenging yourself on a daily basis. As you expand your comfort zone with every new day, you will notice your character weaknesses have transformed into strengths.

Actions to take

Taking Souls

“Everything in life is a mind game!”

Dealing with other people’s antagonism can be a source of tremendous negativity, stress, and despair. We often face different opponents from different walks of life who stand in the way of our goals and dreams. Competitive situations can be used to our advantage if we make an effort to emerge victorious from them. 

Pushing yourself to do better than your opponents may result in accomplishments you never thought were possible. Striving to outperform everyone who hinders your development will yield life-changing results. Excellence will be the deciding factor when it comes to your personal and professional success. It is the best way to earn anybody’s respect and surpass them.

Actions to take

Armored Mind

“I stopped seeing myself as the victim of bad circumstance, and saw my life as the ultimate training ground instead.”

True wisdom means being able to distinguish between the things that you can change from the things you cannot change. Try discarding the thoughts that do not lead to anything productive. It isn’t worth spending time contemplating circumstances and outcomes that you cannot change. Instead, focus on the things that you can change. First, visualize an obstacle in your way to greatness. Then, visualize overcoming that obstacle. Try to engage emotionally whilst visualizing a victory. 

Next, visualize accomplishing a goal. Allow for your feelings of satisfaction to motivate you to advance forward with your life. 

The difference between visualizing an achievement and daydreaming is that only the former will yield actual results. It suggests visualizing any obstacles in the way and any steps you need to take in order to make your dreams a reality. 

The chances for success will be dramatically improved if you take some time to analyze and assess your own personality and motivations. Think about what motivates you to accomplish a certain goal and which negative experiences drive you forward. Then, accept a win even if you are not the best at something. What constitutes a victory can be an overcoming of fear or transcending a personal limitation.

Actions to take

The Most Powerful Weapon

“How do you push yourself when pain is all you feel with every step?”

More often than not, people tend to settle for less than the very best. This applies to different aspects of their lives, both professional and personal. In fact, many people unknowingly follow the 40% Rule, which means that they only give up to 40% of their maximum effort when completing a task, thinking that they have given their best. What they don’t realize is that they could be doing a lot better with more effort. 

You need to find the strength to transcend your own limitations because they often aren’t real, but self-imposed. 

Settling for less than what we deserve and want happens frequently because we are afraid of taking risks, or we are unwilling to put in the work necessary for accomplishing our goals. 

If we want to gradually grow as a person or a professional, we must push past our stopping point. When we feel like we have reached our limit, we need to muster the courage and find the strength for another step forward. When you realize that the only person you are up against is yourself, you will be able to transcend your limitations.

Actions to take

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