The Power of Our Thoughts: Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins 

When someone recommended this book to me, the first thing that caught my attention was only David Goggins’ reputation for doing hundreds of pull-ups in one go, simply because my husband and I had once done CrossFit together. But I didn’t know anything else about the guy.

It turns out that although he was once a U.S. Navy Seal, he didn’t always have his whole life together. In fact, the book opens to his childhood trauma of living with an abusive dad who looked perfect to all the neighbours but kept his kids awake all night running a disco skating rink. It was painful reading about the way his dad would beat his mom and the kids, and even how the police couldn’t do a thing about it. 

But I guess the power behind telling the details of his traumatic past was that it proved that anyone’s past is not a hindrance to rising above the circumstances. It laid the perfect foundation for a book showing us the power we have “to master your mind and defy the odds,” as the subtitle of the book aptly puts it. 

And then, chapter after chapter, he shares stories from his own life, demonstrating the truths he wants to impart. At the end of each chapter, he ends with a Challenge, where he asks close-to-brutal questions to help you move past whatever is hindering you. 

In this post, we hope to share a bit of what each chapter deals with, so that you would know what to expect.

You might be surprised to find that you’re perfectly able to move past what your mind thinks is your natural stopping point!
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Important Questions to Help You Master Your Mind 

The following questions are inspired by the Challenge section at the end of some of the chapters of Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins:

1. What are the things keeping you from growing and succeeding? 

All of us will have different things hindering us from achieving our goals. Maybe we grew up in a broken home. Maybe we were bullied, or abused, or feel insecure about ourselves. Or maybe there’s someone in our life that’s keeping us from going for it. 

Thinking about this is an important step, because it helps us identify our limiting factors, and later on, we will learn what to do about them. Goggins recommends writing these things down in a journal, and, if possible, sharing it with someone. 

2. Where are you right now, and where would you like to be? How could you get there? 

At this point, Goggins encourages us to be honest about where we are. In the chapter itself, he shares his own struggles, and he encourages you to identify your own struggles. Then, figure out what you need to do to reach the goals you have. 

For example, if you need to be more intentional about your education, find a way to do it. He believes that writing these down, on paper, is more helpful than simply thinking about them or noting them down on your smartphone. 

3. What are the things you don’t like or that make you uncomfortable, but are good for you? Start doing them, one at a time. 

Here, Goggins urges you to step out of your comfort zone—regularly! Again, he tells you to write these down in your journal, and to start doing them, and then doing them again and again. 

This doesn’t have to be anything major. It can be as simple as doing the dishes or running a mile each day. The key is that you’re training your mind to do something even when it’s uncomfortable, as long as you know it’s beneficial. This will serve you well in the long run. 

4. What competitive situation are you in right now? Find a way to surpass expectations. 

In this chapter, Goggins helps you identify situations where people have expectations on you. Yes, they may not treat you right, but in this case, he encourages you to aim for excellence, to perform beyond what these people are expecting. This is good practice for you to strive towards the best that you can be, and not limit yourself by what other people’s ideals are. 

5. What are the things you can change, and how would you like to change them? Visualise overcoming those obstacles. 

Do you know that, according to the book, the average person would think two to three thousand thoughts an hour? That’s a lot of things that we think about! Let’s use this power of our mind to visualise the things that we want to change. 

For example, you can start imagining how it would feel if the situation you want to overcome is finally over and done with. That feeling will help propel you toward achieving your goal. 

6. What victories have you had so far? Set goals that are more ambitious, and use past accomplishments to push you forward. 

At this point, Goggins encourages you to take inventory of your past accomplishments, and relish the feeling of having overcome the obstacles. Then, set new goals for yourself and use the memory or the past victories to push yourself to new record bests. 

7. What is your normal stopping point? Push yourself just a little bit beyond that. 

In this chapter, the author explains a very crucial truth about our brains: that it acts as governor, and would reach a point where it begs you to stop something you’re doing. Here, he tells you to remove that limitation by pushing yourself beyond where you would, rationally, stop. You might be surprised to find that you’re perfectly able to move past what your mind thinks is your natural stopping point! 

The key is to move past the limit a little bit at a time. He recommends doing this with a physical activity, because this slow but sure progress will help keep you from injury, while your mind and body adapt to the new workload, and it trains you to take control of your “inner dialogue.”

Mastering Your Mind Can Help You Reach New Heights 

Can’t Hurt Me is definitely one book that shows how much can happen when we learn to master our mind. David Goggins isn’t the only person who can overcome the problems that life threw his way; he simply discovered the power of pushing himself past the limits and harnessing the power of his thoughts. 

If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, head on over to the Amazon link here.

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