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“I Started Callusing My Mind”

David Goggins is probably the greatest all-around athlete on the planet, better than any of your favorite athletes. But he hasn’t always been that way, and you won’t see him on TV playing sports.

David’s life began in Buffalo, New York. His dad was a pimp who beat the shit out of him and his mother. Eventually, his mom courageously left his father and took David to a town in Indiana, one which, even still in the nineties, allowed the KKK to march in their 4th of July parade. David is black. So you can imagine the environment for him in this new town…

Racism was evident, but he doesn’t harbor ill will to the town; and in the below interview with Joe Rogan, Goggins is adamant most were friendly people, despite having the N-word written on his notebook along with a slew of threats toward him for many years. He explains how many of the racist agitators became his motivation later in life to become a SEAL, and an all around athletic freak of nature.


The Struggle to Success

Growing up as a young boy, David was pretty much illiterate, thanks to his father keeping him away from school. That never helps a kid’s prospects in life. And even after learning to read, David’s confidence and belief in himself was shot. But Goggins explains how as far back as he can remember, he always had a voice in his head telling him he needed to do more with his life – his conscience. 

For many years, he tried to get away from his conscience, because he knew that if he were to follow it, it would be tough and uncomfortable. One line he says in the interview with Joe Rogan that stuck, was, “I started finding things that were comfortable… And the more things I found that were comfortable, the more uncomfortable my mind was.”

I get that (read here, here and here for articles I’ve written on the subject). The moment in life you stop pushing your potential and pursuing your true maximum self, is the moment that feeling of being unfulfilled kicks in, which leads to unhappiness, and even depression. Comfort is not the goal in life. Contentment is dangerous. Goggins articulates that better than anyone.

Listen to that voice in your head. In our busy, social media driven world today, it is harder than ever to hear your conscience. Don’t ignore that feeling of restlessness, uneasiness and your desire to create. As humans, we will psychologically suffer if we don’t listen to that voice in our head. 

Once David Goggins started pursuing what that voice was telling him to seek, he reaffirmed the pursuit every day with positive self-talk. It was a coping mechanism because physically his body was telling him to quit.

He explains, 

“No one is going to come and fucking help me… it’s me against me, period. I had to man up. First thing I got to start doing is facing every fucking fear I have. No matter what the fuck it is. These things would keep me up at night…”

“I had two options. To either be that 300-pound guy who sprayed for cockroaches and made $1,000 a month. And at 24 years old, knowing when I’m fifty years old, I can reflect on this and think about what guy I never became…or I can totally just suck it up and fail and fail and fail until I succeed. So I started calling recruiters up. I said I’m going to be a fuckin Navy SEAL…”

Goggins ended up becoming a Navy SEAL, the elite group of soldiers you all know about, and so much more… he’s still hitting new highs today. And Goggins achieved all this after momentarily completely giving up on life and becoming a 300-pound mess. He turned his life around in the grandest of ways.


David Goggins’ Callused Mind

What I love about David Goggins’ story of the comeback, is that it’s so real. So raw. There’s nothing perfect about it. He admits that to get to his insanely strong mental and physical state, it took years, dozens of quitting moments, and continual failure even after he made up his mind he wanted to be a real-world superhero.

Often when we read about success stories, we learn about a tough life that one day, all of a sudden, a crucial decision was made by said individual and they turned it all around. That sort of success story makes for a great Hollywood script; but rarely does it work that way, which is why I like listening to Goggins tell his story. 

David Goggins admits that after living a shitty, unhealthy life, and finally having his moment when he mentally committed to becoming a Navy SEAL, it was almost immediately, and continually, met with challenges that on the first go-round were too big for him to conquer. But as he ‘callussed his mind’ over a long period, he was eventually able to overcome that immediate challenge; only to meet another one and another. Yet he always overcame the new challenge once his mind was strong (or in his word, ‘callused’).

Achieving success was more mental than physical, according to Goggins – even though his career success was measured by physical performance. Think about that one for a moment. This guy is a former Navy SEAL, world record holder for most pull-ups in 24 hours and ultramarathon runner; the guy looks as though he was carved from granite. That said, he hated running and was scared of the water. Furthermore, in his early twenties, Goggins was a 300-pound obese man who sprayed cockroaches for a living and made $1,000 per month. 

Goggins’ success is all mental. In order to turn his life around and become a real-world legend, he reaffirmed to himself, via positive self-talk, that he was going to the next level. It took years for him to become the famed ultimate athlete who, to raise funds for the Lone Survivor Foundation, ran 135 miles in 24 hours in the peak heat of Death Valley.

Think you have problems? Too many obstacles in front of you to achieve great things in life? Watch this interview with David Goggins. The guy is a badass who overcame his fair share of shit in life. If you have a heartbeat, you’ll find this interview incredibly inspiring.

Stay hungry,





PS – Your mindset matters most, especially if you want to become a successful entrepreneur. Subscribe to my newsletter below to get weekly entrepreneurial motivation and know-how. Only my best content will land in your inbox.