The CFO'S Perspective

Book Review: “Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds” by David Goggins

cant-hurt-me-bookToday Eric Moore shares his thoughts about the book: “Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds” by David Goggins

About David Goggins:

“For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare - poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse colored his days and haunted his nights. But through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a U.S. Armed Forces icon and one of the world's top endurance athletes. The only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, he went on to set records in numerous endurance events, inspiring Outside magazine to name him The Fittest (Real) Man in America.”

Eric Moore’s thoughts and review:

What an inspiring book!  David Goggins proclaims, “life is unfair and the sooner you accept the sooner you can prepare for it.  The best way to approach life is with a “Can’t Hurt Me” mentality”.  David was viewed as an ultimate underdog and a weak man.  And to survive, he set out to build his own bulletproof mindset.  He wasn’t looking for fame, financial success, or a pat on the back.  He was looking for fulfillment and to connect with his life’s purpose.  And the only way he found it was within himself -by going to war with himself.

Goggins states, “in today’s society, you are in danger of living a life that is so soft and comfortable that you will never realize your true potential”.  “Can’t Hurt Me” is David Goggins ethos to push your mental boundaries and help you realize your true potential.  Here is a brief summary of his “Can’t Hurt Me” mentality.

Mission 1: Write Down All Your Difficulties

David tells the story of his abusive father and how he suffered many emotional scars in life.  He exhorts readers to take stock of all the difficulties and hardships faced in life.  Alternatively, he exhorts readers to acknowledge if you’ve had it too easy in life so far and never had to push yourself.

Mission 2: Own The Truth Of Your Shortcomings

David talks about how he and his mother moved out of their home to escape his abusive father.  He talks about racial hatred, financial problems, and the different “mask” he wore as a teenager to hide his insecurities.  David proclaims our mind will always follow the path of least resistance and unless you learn to discipline your own mind, it will always keep you “safe and average in life”.  He states you must brutally honest with yourself and you can’t tell yourself lies.  Any self-improvement starts with brutal honesty.

Mission 3: Do All The Things That Make You Uncomfortable

 David talks about pulling out of military training due to medical reasons.  Diagnosed with sickle cells disease, he had the choice of staying committed to his training or quitting.  Faced with the first obstacle that came his way, he used the excuse to quit.  David said, the reminder of having dropped out of Pararescue school depressed him.  Later he sees an advertisement for becoming a Navy Seal and realizes that there can be answers in suffering.  David explains you must do something that makes you uncomfortable and something that you don’t want to do every day.
Even if that’s making your bed, ironing your clothes, or waking up early to go for a run.  Start small, and slowly build things up over time.  This is how you callous your mind and build a bulletproof mentality.

Mission 4: Choose Any Competitive Situation, Pick Your Opponent & Beat Them With Excellence

David talks about how everything in life can be a mind game.  He says to himself Navy Seal training was a mind game and many Seals in training don’t realize and understand the game until it’s too late and they quit.  What’s the mind game?  The mind game is that you can always find more within you and move mental boundaries, and all pain eventually ends.  When you understand this, no one will be able to “hurt you” and you can beat all of your opponents with excellence.  Beating opponents with excellence entails delivering what they thought was impossible and showing yourself at your best while they are at their worst.  This mindset is what David refers to as “taking their soul”.

Mission 5: Visualize & Include Challenges, Why You’re Doing It, What’s The Fuel

David proclaims that Navy Seal training is about showing you can handle much more than you think you can, and with that comes a stronger mentality.  He states that a calloused mind can help you overcome the toughest moments and challenges of life.  Remembering what you’ve overcome and conquered can help you bypass negative thought loops in your mind that try and take over when you want to give in and quit.  When you “accept the pain” and refuse to give up, you engage the sympathetic nervous system -your fight or flight response- to change your hormonal flow and give you the strength necessary to handle any challenge.  The best way to callous your mind is to push the hardest when you want to quit the most.  You want to get to the point where not doing the things that you know you should haunts you.

David also mentions an alternative view of the Art of Visualization.  He states when visualizing, don’t just visualize the reward or final success.  It’s very important to also visualize the difficult challenges you will be facing, the reason why you’re doing it, and what will be fueling you in those dark moments.  This will help you be fully prepared to embrace the suffering and have the right mindset to make it across the finish line.

Mission 6: Build Your Cookie Jar Of Accomplishments & Use For Motivation

David talks about how pain is his reward for finishing any type of race. The pain was the reminder that he had done it, and he was proving to himself how strong and callous his mind was becoming.  David says, “In the most painful times of my life, I saw the most beauty”.  He introduces his concept of a “cookie jar”, which is a metaphorical place where you put all of your documented victories and the resolve/mental toughness it took to make it happen.  Then, in any difficult times experienced in the future, when motivation and strength was needed, you can open the cookie jar and remind yourself of all past successes.  The purpose of the cookie jar is not to make you feel good about yourself, it’s to remind you that based on past victories...nothing is impossible.

Mission 7: Remove The Governor From Your Brain With Constant Incremental Growth

David introduces us to the concept that there is a “governor” on our mind.  He explains this by his 40% rule.  His rule states that when most of us feel like we are hitting our limits, there is still another 60% in our performance tanks.  The only way to remove the governor is to embrace the pain and push beyond the discomfort – move mental boundaries.  He explains we will always fall short of our true potential unless we remove the governor on our mind.

Mission 8: Schedule Your Life To Make The Most Out Of Your Life

Most people have an inaccurate image of special operations officers such as the Navy Seals.
David mentions they are more normal than most people would guess.  A majority of them after Navy Seal Training didn’t want to further test themselves to the limits.  David told a story of how he met Michael Jordan in his prime and it was a huge revelation for him when he realized he was just another human being.

David Goggins was not interested in being another “normal” Navy Seal.  Settling down comfortably was not what he was looking for and that’s why he went into testing himself further with ultra-marathons. (100+ mile races with often difficult terrain.)  His ultra-marathon experiences are quite extreme and David encourages people to squeeze as much potential from each and every day.

Mission 9: Sustain Greatness By Staying In Constant Pursuit

David’s life demonstrates the mindset of an underdog in the military.  Even when he climbed to the top of the world’s military elite, he reflects that indeed he was not “one of the boys”.
“Of course I wasn’t”, he says, “I came from nothing”.  David realized he was part of the teams, yet not the brotherhood.  He realized he was uncommon among the uncommons, and came to the conclusion, “so be it”!

David then decided to pursue additional challenges and enlists in Army Ranger School.  He decided to live a life in constant pursuit of living to his fullest potential.  David states, “It’s easy to stand out among everyday people and be a big fish in small pond.  It’s much more difficult when you’re a wolf, surrounded by wolves.”  He encourages people to torch the complacency you feel in your everyday life and continue to challenge yourself in every way.  It’s in the midst of constant challenge where you will find the friction necessary to help you grow even stronger and further callous your mind.  Before you know it, David states, “you will stand alone”.

Mission 10: Write All Failures, Learn From Them & Go At It Again

David set out on a quest to beat the Guinness Book of World Records 24hr pull-up record.  Even though he failed on his first attempt, he came back with a roar on his second attempt and “took the soul” of the existing world record holder.  He lived, he failed, he learned, and he reached his goal.  David displays amazing resolve as he sets out to move mental boundaries in his life.  There isn’t much that can stop him from achieving what he sets out to conquer.

Final Thoughts: David Goggins & God

David talks about worldview, including his spirituality.  He believes in a God who knows everything and holds everyone accountable for their words and actions.  His biggest fear in life was not living to his full potential and how he would someday feel when he meets his creator.


David’s life experiences greatly inspire me as a leader to continue to persevere in the midst of all challenge and adversity.  He reminds me to be bold in setting clear vision and goals, and to not stop until every goal is achieved.  “Can’t Hurt Me” is a solid ethos to help push and move your mental boundaries and help you realize your true potential.

Key takeaways from this book are:

  • Mental boundaries can be moved and enlarged.

  • Pain and suffering can be welcomed and embraced. They help you reach your full human potential.

  • We are capable of far more than we believe (Navy Seals 40% rule).

  • Exercising discipline and persistence can help you achieve just about anything you have a desire to accomplish in life.

Why I recommend this book to business leaders.

  • I believe it's a good reminder about the importance of leading yourself well. Which will also inspire others to lead themselves well.
  • It’s a source of great inspiration to overcome any life or business obstacles that come your way.
  • It’s a catalyst to help business leaders remove mental boundaries.
  • This book will help you dream bigger and set greater personal and business goals.

Also available on Kindle and audiobook formats, this book is receiving rave reviews:


What is on your summer reading list that you found remarkable?
Please share in a comment below!

About the Author

Erics-headshot-200x300Eric Moore is the Practice Manager of Accounting Solutions Partners. He brings two decades of progressive experience in Controller, CFO, and General Management roles with privately held companies, and has a broad perspective from working in environments ranging from start-ups to multi-generational mid-market companies with revenue in excess of $100M.

As Practice Manager, Eric is responsible for managing the consulting teams for Accounting Solutions Partners in all markets, for setting and executing business strategy, and acting as the primary client manager for all engagements. His experience as a consultant with both Accounting Solutions Partners and CFO Selections, as well as his previous time in general management, make him uniquely qualified to lead the firm.

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Topics: Leadership, Book Review, Personal Development

Topics: Leadership Book Review Personal Development