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7 Things to Learn From a Navy SEAL

by Michael Leonard on August 10, 2021

In a world where everyone has an Instagram and motivational messages almost overwhelm our subconscious, don’t listen to any and everyone.

As I’m sure you know, it’s important to only listen to individuals who have a proven track record of success. To only listen to people who have accomplished a ton in real life, not just on social media.

If you’re looking for someone new to follow and inspire you in life, I want to introduce you to David Goggins. He is one of the most intriguing and polarizing people online.

When he talks, millions of people listen and take action. Because he doesn’t just talk the talk, he’s walked it (or ran it) time and time again.

If you’re looking for some motivation so you can get more out of life, he is your guy.

 

Who is David Goggins?

David Goggins is known by many as "The World's Toughest Man.” Getting that title isn’t easy, but he earned it. Check out some of his incredible accomplishments that back that title up:

  • Only member of the US Armed Forces to become a Navy SEAL, graduate US Army Ranger School, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller training.
  • Held the Guinness World Record for most pull-ups (4,030 in 17 hours).
  • Completed 60 endurance races (including the Badwater Ultra Marathon, which is a 135-mile race that takes place in Death Valley).


Since retiring from the military, he’s now a well-known speaker and published a book about his life, Can’t Hurt Me. But how he got on my radar was after reading a different book called, Living With a SEAL, by Jesse Itzler.

This book isn’t your normal self-help book, though. Instead, Jesse Itzler (a mega-successful entrepreneur and co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks) was in a rut in his life.

Despite making hundreds of millions of dollars and competing in endurance races, he wanted more out of himself and knew just the man for the job. During one of his races, he first met David Goggins, who ran 100 miles in 24 hours to qualify for the Badwater Ultra Marathon.

After witnessing this amazing feat, he recruited David to help him change up his life. David ended up moving in with his family for 30 days and helped push him to new limits.

Here are seven things I learned from David Goggins to help you achieve your goals.

 

1. Master Your Mind

To accomplish what David has in the military is borderline crazy for most of us to even think about, let alone try to accomplish. But it’s important to remember he’s a human just like us and that achieving amazing feats is possible for anyone. When asked about his secret to achieving seemingly impossible races and military training, his answer was simple; self-talk and visualization.

If you want to get the most out of your life and really push yourself, you need to get your mind on board. As motivational author Bob Proctor said, “Don't be a victim of negative self-talk, remember you are listening.”

You control your self-talk, so make sure it’s positive and uplifting.


Does that mean you will never say another negative thing again? Absolutely not, you’re human and bound to get into some negative self-talk from time to time. But do everything you can to spot when it happens and instantly replace it with a more empowering positive thought.

The second part of mastering your mind is tapping into the power of visualization. As Psychology Today said, “Mental imagery impacts many cognitive processes in the brain: motor control, attention, perception, planning, and memory. So the brain is getting trained for actual performance during visualization.”

Whenever you set an ambitious goal, make it a point to visualize your success. Bring in specific sounds, colors, and anything else that you can think of to make it more realistic. This will train your brain to help you achieve what you want … just like David used it.

 

2. Ditch Motivation

Don’t you hate it when you are motivated on Monday, but by Wednesday it seems to have vanished?

If you suffer from big drops in motivation, stop trying to pump yourself up. Instead, focus on identifying your values so you can become driven, not motivated.

As David said, “Motivation is crap. Motivation comes and goes. When you’re driven, whatever is in front of you will get destroyed.”

So how do you become more driven?

According to Psychology Today, you should focus on identifying your values and what you stand for. Then, link your values to your work and re-engage in those core values daily. By constantly reminding yourself of who you are and what you want to achieve, you’re more likely to stay engaged.

But if you do need a hit of motivation, just find a clip from Goggins on YouTube and I’m sure it will help!

 

3. Utilize The 40% Rule

If you get a chance, read Living With a Seal. To read about a normal person living, eating, and training with a SEAL is hilarious and inspiring at the same time. One thing Jesse had to learn is to keep going, even when his body was telling him to stop.

As David Goggins said, “When your mind is telling you that you’re done, that you’re exhausted, that you cannot possibly go any further, you’re only actually 40% done.”

Whether it’s business, fitness, or another area of your life, chances are you can keep going. When you want to quit and throw in the towel, find the courage to not give up.

Once you do, you can trick your mind into achieving more than you thought possible.

 

4. Get Honest With Yourself

If you read the intro and were already impressed and feeling inspired, don’t forget his background. Before claiming “World’s Toughest Man”, David was a 300-pound exterminator who never exercised and wasn’t overly ambitious with his life goals.


It wasn’t until he got honest with himself and committed to a goal - become a Navy SEAL - that things started to change. Once he committed to that goal, he dropped nearly 100 pounds in three months and went on to achieve greatness.

So no matter what your past looks like, just know that you can turn it around. Sometimes, you need to have uncomfortable conversations with yourself and figure out what you really want. But once you do, you can have tunnel vision on your main goal.

 

5. Never Underestimate Yourself

At the end of 30 days, Jesse Itzler achieved what he once would have thought was impossible and got into amazing shape. According to the book, in 30 days, he logged:

  • 957 sit-ups
  • 236 pull-ups
  • 200 burpees
  • 6,488 push-ups
  • Ran 222.5 miles


That’s right, he ran 222.5 miles in a month! While he was an endurance runner before, he never logged numbers like these before.

So what’s the point?

Never underestimate yourself and your abilities.

Sometimes a coach or mentor is all you need to help you get more out of any area of your life. Don’t be afraid to get help to help you break through plateaus and break new barriers.

 

6. Stick to The Basics

One of the things that stuck out to me when reading about David’s insane fitness regimen is the simplicity of it. For 30 days when living with Jesse, they kept things simple with running, push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and a few other exercises. No fancy equipment, personal chefs, or anything extra.

If you’re looking to get back into shape or get healthy, try to keep things simple. Don’t overcomplicate the process, instead get back to basics like swimming, running, bodyweight exercises and eating whole foods.

When you keep things simple, I’ve found that it’s easier to maintain new habits and not get overwhelmed in the process. As Bruce Lee said, “Simplicity is the key to brilliance.”

 

7. Challenge Yourself Every Day

If you look at his resume of finishing 60 endurance races, you would probably assume that he loves running. But in an interview, he said that he actually hates running and only does it to get himself out of his comfort zone. As he said, “If you can get through doing things that you hate to do, on the other side is greatness.”

While you don’t need to do a 10+ mile run each day, try to challenge yourself every day. Whether it’s an extra sales call at work, an extra set at the gym, or getting up a little earlier. Keep pushing yourself so you can expand your comfort zone and hit your goals.


David Goggins is one of the few people who walks the walk when it comes to empowering others. If you haven’t yet, check out his YouTube channel, read his book, and follow him to start thinking and acting like a SEAL.

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