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Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins – Book Review

Self-help books are a peculiar genre of books. They can be either very inspirational or just filled with the complete and utter bullshit. In my experience I have never read a self-help book which was just ‘meh’. This book, well, this book is one of those very inspirational books. Caution: explicit language will follow.

            David Goggins is a Navy SEAL, ultramarathon runner, has the world record of pull ups and is just one bad ass motherfucker. This book is about his life and the struggles has been through, but most importantly, it’s about how he went through them. Every chapter is about some moment in Goggins his life. There is a chapter about his Hell Week in Navy SEAL training. There is a chapter about him trying to break the world record for pull ups. There is a chapter of how his father used to beat his mother and him. The chapters are diverse in topics, so it doesn’t get boring to read. Every chapter ends with a sort of guide on how to deal with shit in your life.

            And damn, this man has had a life. He had a shitty childhood, his dad used to beat him, his brother and his mother. He used to make them work in his skating ring for literally no money. Goggins had gotten a learning disability because of this, which made him quite illiterate for some time. One day his mother had enough and took David with her and he had to live in a 4$ per month apartment with is single mother. He became obese and worked in a low-end job. To say it with his words: He was a loser.

            But here is where it gets inspirational. He has been through hell and he still is able to push back. He has been oppressed by so many forces in his life and instead of wallowing in self-misery and victimhood, he transcends this and becomes a bad-ass motherfucker. Instead of making excuses of his shitty life (and he has plenty of legitimate excuses to make), he tries to make his life a better one, through own action, self-discipline and responsibility.

            Through his self-discipline and unwillingness to give up he became a Navy SEAL, one of the physically hardest things to do. He talks about going through three Hell weeks before he was allowed to join the Navy. Most people would give after the first try and say: “well this just isn’t for me.” But he just kept going through because in his heart he believed that was the thing he wanted to do. The other alternative was going back to be a loser.

            Now I don’t believe that if you quit that you’re a loser (and I don’t believe Goggins thinks this as well). There are situations where you need to quit. The point isn’t not quitting. The point is finding something you really want to do and not quitting until you have it. There is no end, there is only the way. In this sense, David Goggins is spitting some real Taoist philosophy.

            The book is well-written; it’s easy to understand and is sometimes even funny. You really get the feeling that you’re communicating with Goggins. This is even more so when you listen to the audiobook, where Goggins will appear at the end of a chapter and explain a bit more about his experiences. The practical parts are pretty repetitive, but these are just two pages in every chapter, so I didn’t mind that much.

            If you feel like your life is in a rut, or you feel like the world is against you, read this book. It will inspire you (well, it has inspired me) to take action of your own life and try to become something greater than yourself. This will take hard work and a lot of responsibility, but when we persist, we might also become one bad ass motherfucker like Goggins in our own respect.

By elenchusphilosophy

I'm a Philosophy student in Belgium, trying to talk and write about ideas of all kinds of sorts.

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