Skip to main content

You Can’t Hurt David Goggins: Going Beyond Motivation & Why Mindset Is Everything

By January 1, 2019January 23rd, 2024No Comments
Play Video
Episode #413



I can think of no better guest to usher in 2019 than the mighty one himself.

Incontrovertibly the most inspirational person I have ever met, today David Goggins returns for his second turn on the podcast — a conversation that will catapult you into the new year with the tools and hard truth you need to chase huge dreams, shatter personal limits and transform your life wholesale.

Often referred to as the hardest man alive, David is the only member of the US Armed Forces to complete SEAL training (including three Hell Weeks), the U.S. Army Ranger School (where he graduated as Enlisted Honor Man) and Air Force Tactical Air Controller Training.

But David is perhaps best known for his superhuman feats of strength and ultra-endurance.

After several of his friends died in a 2005 helicopter crash while deployed in Afghanistan, David honored their memory by tackling the most difficult endurance challenges on Earth to raise funds and awareness for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides college scholarships and grants to the children of fallen special ops soldiers.

Hence began a most unexpected yet remarkably storied athletic career as one of the world’s most accomplished endurance athletes. Highlights include:

  • 2005: ran 100 miles in under 24 hours on no training;
  • 2013: world record for most pullups in a 24 hour period (4,030);
  • 2007: 3rd place — Badwater 135 – a 135 mile ultramarathon across Death Valley widely considered to be the world’s most difficult foot race;
  • 2006: 2nd place — Ultraman World Championships, a double-ironman distance race widely considered to be the world’s most difficult triathlon;
  • 2007: 1st place — 48-Hour National Championship endurance foot race, where he ran 203.5 miles, beating the previous record by 20 miles; and
  • 2007 – 2016 — additional top finishes at dozens of the world’s most grueling endurance races, including The HURT 100, Leadville 100, Western States & more.

But David’s greatest accomplishment isn’t athletic. It’s self-mastery.

From day one, David has faced a concatenation of seemingly insurmountable obstacles – poverty, psychological and physical abuse, obesity, learning disabilities, asthma, sickle cell anemia, and even a congenital heart defect that often left him competing — and winning — on a mere fraction of his actual physical capabilities. It’s a scenario that would have buried the best of us. And yet, against all odds, David conquered them all, and ultimately found a way out.

It’s the story of a man who transformed pain into obsession and, phoenix-like, rose from a state of utter desperation to take complete ownership of his life and total command of his mind to manifest a most extraordinary life.

David’s implausible journey is laid bare in his recently released memoir, Can’t Hurt Me* — one of the most honest, powerful and impactful stories of hardship, redemption and personal perseverance I have ever read. Certain books instruct. Others inspire. But it’s the rare read that holds the potential to reframe your sense of personal capability and completely change your life. This book does just that — a statement I don’t make lightly. I highly suggest the audiobook version*,which is read by David’s co-writer (and my friend and former podcast guest) Adam Skolnick (RRP #218). Each chapter is followed by a compelling, off-the-cuff, free-form “podcast” conversation between Adam and David that takes the storytelling experience to an entirely new level.

You have to go to war with yourself before you can find peace.


In addition to being one of the most remarkable people I have ever met, David has had a profound impact on me personally. It was his singular example that ignited my passion for ultra-endurance back in 2007 and fueled the self-belief required to pursue a new life. In truth, I’m not sure I would have achieved my athletic and life goals had he not blazed the path before me. I simply cannot ever repay the debt of gratitude I have for this man.

I published my first conversation with David exactly 2 years ago (#RRP 266) on New Years Day 2017. He’s a podcast star these days, but that was his first real, long-form podcast. One of the most powerful conversations I’ve had the honor of hosting, it was a proud moment and remains my most popular and downloaded episode in the history of this show – by a long-shot.

When you think you are done, you are only at 40% of your bodies capability.


Today he returns. He’s better than ever. And also, not insignificantly, happier. A man who has vanquished his demons and emerged from the cave, finally at peace with himself and the world.

Picking up where we left off, this is a brutally honest conversation about the primacy of self-ownership. It’s about passion and self-accountability. It’s about the limiting beliefs that hold us back and the importance of mindset to overcome them. And it’s about the embrace of obstacles and suffering as a crucible for growth and self-knowledge.

Think of him as artist. His medium is his life. His message is that we all harbor a masterpiece within. And his example is that literally anything is possible.

Welcome to 2019 people. It’s time to torch complacency. Get brutally honest with yourself. Embrace vulnerability. Callous the mind. And get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Because your life is not some future event. Your life is now.

Language advisory: David isn’t shy with his words. This is a freight-train of four-letter expletives. So just a heads up.

Video: For the visually inclined, you can watch the entire exchange on YouTube here:

Peace + Plants,

Listen, Watch, & Subscribe

For 1000s of delicious, customized plant-based recipes & so much more, check out our Plantpower Meal Planner.

For a complete list of all RRP sponsors, vanity URLs & discount codes, visit my Resources.

Notable People Discussed

  • Adam Skolnick: Award-winning journalist, Author of One Breath* and Indolirium*, Ghost operator on Can’t Hurt Me* and podcast guest
  • Chris Kyle: (subject of the film: American Sniper*) was a United States Navy SEAL and sniper. He served four tours in the Iraq War and was awarded several commendations for acts of heroism and meritorious service in combat
  • Marcus Luttrell: former United States Navy SEAL, who received the Navy Cross and Purple Heart for his actions in June 2005 against Taliban fighters during Operation Red Wings and author of Lone Survivor*
  • Morgan Luttrell: Former Navy SEAL, deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan during a 14-year military career. Studying to become a cognitive scientist. His goal is to treat veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Scott Gearen: Pararescueman who survived a high altitude jump from 13,000 ft. and heavily influenced David Goggins
  • Cameron Hanes: Under Amour athlete and bowhunter

Patronize Our Sponsors: For a complete list of all RRP sponsors and their respective vanity URLs and discount codes, click “Sponsors” here.

Thanks to Moby for this week’s interstitial track: “Freak“; Jason Camiolo for production, audio engineering and show notes; Margo Lubin and Blake Curtis for video, editing and graphics. Theme music by Ana Leimma.

*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.