Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy The Odds by David Goggins – Book Summary

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Ready to learn the most important takeaways from Can’t Hurt Me in less than two minutes? Keep reading!

Why This Book Matters:

David Goggins overcame childhood abuse, extreme poverty, and debilitating obesity to achieve his dreams of becoming a Navy SEAL and a super-fit ultra runner.

Through his story, Goggins illustrates just how vital a rock solid work ethic is to overcoming the most challenging odds, and explains how anyone can cultivate this mindset to become an unstoppable force.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Don’t use even the worst circumstance as a reason you can’t reach your goal
    1. As long as your work ethic is strong, you can do anything you put your mind to, even if the obstacles in your way seem insurmountable.
    2. Example: Beginning at the age of six, David slaved every day under harsh conditions for his abusive father’s business until he and his mother escaped.
  2. You must push past fear and failure in order to discover your true potential
    1. You’ll never understand what you’re truly capable of if you don’t continue to try, even if you have given up in the past or you’re starting in very difficult circumstances.
    2. Example: David endured years of toxic stress, faltered academically, became morbidly obese, and failed out of Air Force training before refocusing his mind on success.
  3. Allegiance to your dream and unrelenting tunnel vision is the recipe for success
    1. Decide exactly what your goal is, and stay 100% focused on moving yourself towards that goal as quickly as you can.
    2. Example: David needed to lose 100 lbs in three months to even be considered for Navy SEAL training. He spent over ten hours each day biking, swimming, and working out to lose enough weight to be accepted into SEAL training.
  4. The dream does not matter if the work ethic isn’t there
    1. Fulfilling your dream is not wholly dependent on the kind of goal you choose or the talent you possess. Finding success is much more a matter of raw determination.
    2. Example: After achieving his goal of becoming a Navy SEAL, David took up a new challenge of extreme long distance running. After intensive training, his hard work and determination landed him 5th in arguably the world’s most grueling ultra running race.
  5. You can emulate David’s success by pushing past the suffering that limits you
    1. David’s 40% rule says that we give up most of the time when we’ve only expended 40% of our effort. You must overcome societal addictions to quick fixes, push past the 40% barrier, and devote 100% of your effort to get you where you want to go.
    2. Example: Because David is committed to ultra fitness, he works a full-time job and still manages to run 10 miles, bike 40 miles, hit the gym every day, and still be home every night by 7 pm.

Want To Keep Reading?

  1. Read A Longer Form Summary on Blinkist
  2. Buy The Book on Amazon
  3. Listen To The Audiobook
I started Two Minute Books to help people improve their lives and their businesses or careers. My work has been featured by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the U.S. & U.K. Governments. You can read my writing about digital nomading & life improvement at