Notes

I only gave this book a 6 out of 10 because I think Goggins' message is much more powerful when you hear and watch it from the man himself.

In particular check out these interviews:

This book is about action and taking control of your life. Each chapter ends with a challenge that Goggins recommends you go through. Below are the ones that I found most inspiring.

Challenge 1

What are the current factors limiting your growth and success?

Break your journal and write them all out in minute detail.

Give your pain shape.

You will use your story to fuel your ultimate success 1.

Challenge 2

This is about abolishing the ego.

Digital devices don’t work. Write all your insecurities, dreams, and goals on Post-it’s and tag up your mirror.

Whatever your goal, you’ll need to hold yourself accountable for the small steps it will take to get there. Self-improvement takes dedication and self-discipline.

Challenge 3

Doing things—even small things—that make you uncomfortable will help make you strong. The more often you get uncomfortable the stronger you’ll become, and soon you’ll develop a more productive, can-do dialogue with yourself in stressful situations.

Challenge 4

There is one way to not only earn their respect, but to turn the tables. Excellence.

If it’s a boss, work around the clock. Get to work before then. Leave after they go home. Make sure they see that shit, and when it’s time to deliver, surpass their maximum expectations 2.

Challenge 5

Rather than focusing on bullshit you cannot change, imagine visualizing the things you can. Choose any obstacle in your way, or set a new goal, and visualize overcoming or achieving it 3.

Challenge 6

Write it all out.

Include life obstacles you’ve overcome as well, like quitting smoking or overcoming depression or a stutter.

Set ambitious goals before each workout and let those past victories carry you to new personal bests.

Challenge 8

Get super detailed and document it all with timestamps.

Most people waste four to five hours on a given day, and if you can learn to identify and utilize it, you’ll be on your way toward increased productivity

Goggins' laws of nature

  1. You will be made fun of.

  2. You will feel insecure.

  3. You may not be the best all the time.

  4. You may be the only black, white, Asian, Latino, female, male, gay, lesbian or [fill in your identity here] in a given situation.

  5. There will be times when you feel alone.

  6. Get over it!

Highlights

  • The ritual was simple. I’d shave my face and scalp every night, get loud, and get real 4.

  • The Accountability Mirror, because each day I’d hold myself accountable to the goals I’d set. At first my goals involved shaping up my appearance and accomplishing all my chores without having to be asked. Make your bed like you’re in the military every day!

  • I brainwashed myself into craving discomfort.

  • Every BUD/S class has their share of hard-ass backcountry Texans. No state puts more SEALS in the pipeline. Must be something in the barbecue.

  • Everything in life is a mind game! Whenever we get swept under by life’s dramas, large and small, we are forgetting that no matter how bad the pain gets, no matter how harrowing the torture, all bad things end 5.

  • Physical training is the perfect crucible to learn how to manage your thought process because when you’re working out, your focus is more likely to be single pointed, and your response to stress and pain is immediate and measurable 6.

  • Like the Taoists say, those that know don’t speak, and those who speak, well, they don’t know jack shit.

  • If you allow your mind to remain undisciplined in an environment of intense suffering (it won’t feel like it, but it is very much a choice you are making) , the only answer you are likely to find is the one that will make it stop as fast as possible.

  • What am I capable of?

    I couldn’t answer that question, but as I looked around the finish line that day and considered what I’d accomplished, it became clear that we are all leaving a lot of money on the table without realizing it. We habitually settle for less than our best: at vork in school, in our relationships, and on the playing field or race course. We settle as individuals, and we teach our children settle for less than their best, and all of that ripples out, merges, and multiplies within our communities and society as a whole.

    We’re not talking some bad weekend in Vegas, no more cash at the ATM kind of loss either. In that moment, the cost of missing out on so much excellence in this eternally fucked-up world felt incalculable to me, and it still does. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.

  • I loved walking up at 5 a.m. and starting work with three hours of cardio already in the bank while most of my teammates hadn’t even finished their coffee. It gave me a mental edge, a better sense of self-awareness, and a gave ton of self-confidence,

  • Most of us give up when we’ve only given around 40 percent of our maximum effort. Even when we feel like we’ve reached our absolute limit, we still have 60 percent more to give! The only way to move beyond your 40 percent is to callous your mind, day after day.

  • Our culture has become hooked on the quick-fix, the life hack, efficiency. Everyone is on the hunt for that simple action algorithm that nets maximum profit with the least amount of effort. There’s no denying this attitude may get you some of the trappings of success, if you’re lucky, but it will not lead to a calloused mind or self-mastery. If you want to master the mind and remove your governor, you’ll have to become addicted to hard work. Because passion and obsession, even talent, are only useful tools if you have the work ethic to back them up. My work ethic is the single most important factor in all of my accomplishments.

  • You Must Win The Morning.

  • On Saturdays, I’d sleep in until 7 a.m., hit a three-hour workout, and spend the rest of the weekend with Kate. If I didn’t have a race, Sundays were my active recovery days 7.

  • Listen to your body, sneak in those ten- to twenty-minute power naps when necessary, and take one full rest day per week.

  • The sole reason I work out like I do isn’t to prepare for and win ultra races. I don’t have an athletic motive at all. It’s to prepare my mind for life itself. Life will always be the most grueling endurance sport, and when you train hard, get uncomfortable, and callous your mind, you will become a more versatile competitor, trained to find a way forward no matter what.

  • Starting at zero is a mindset that says my refrigerator is never full, and it never will be. We can always become stronger and more agile, mentally and physically 8.

  • There is no gift as overlooked or inevitable as failure

  • It takes great strength to be vulnerable enough to put your ass on the line, in public, and work toward a dream that feels like it’s slipping away.

  • I hit the turf with my heel first, and peeling the muddy trail with the entire surface area of my foot increased my odds of slipping and falling. Karl didn’t run like that. He moved like a goat, bouncing on his toes and running along the edges of the trail. As soon as his toes hit the ground he fired his legs into the air. That’s why he looked like he was floating. By design, he barely touched the ground, while his head and core remained stable and engaged. From that moment onward, his movements were permanently etched in my brain like a cave painting. I visualized them all the time and put his techniques into practice during training runs 9.

  • Pain unlocks a secret doorway in the mind. One that leads to both peak performance and beautiful silence.

  • Peaceful but never satisfied.

  • The Buddha famously said that life is suffering. I’m not a Buddhist, but I know what he meant and so do you. To exist in this world, we must contend with humiliation, broken dreams, sadness, and loss. That’s just nature.


  1. this maxim reminds me of Tony Robbins. ↩︎

  2. It also helps to under-promise and over-deliver. Also, check out Mastery↩︎

  3. the best resource on this line of though is The Obstacle Is The Way↩︎

  4. rituals are powerful, they help you get into the right mood. ↩︎

  5. Stoicism. ↩︎

  6. strenuous exercise is one of my favorite keystone habits ↩︎

  7. time-blocking is a powerful technique for making the most of your time. ↩︎

  8. see also Zen Mind, Beginners Mind ↩︎

  9. running is as much art as it is science. ↩︎