• Vernon C. Lindsay, PhD

#youcanthurtme


You can't hurt me. Although the title of David Goggins' book is, "Can't Hurt Me: Master the Mind and Defy the Odds," it is a far stretch from a campaign to embrace an invincible state of being. It is a compelling vulnerable memoir of a retired Navy Seal who went to war with himself and for the United States.

If you don't enjoy reading or listening to profanity, this book is not for you! Goggins had a rough childhood. He survived child abuse, witnessed death, and encountered multiple racist attacks. Through uncensored language, Goggins' book offers a raw viewing into a difficult life that formed a warrior.

Goggins does not intend to motivate you by sharing his story. He says that he wants to encourage you to develop drive. Motivation he insists is fleeting, whereas drive endures pain and pushes you to levels beyond ordinary.

For example, let's take the recent tragedies of the shootings in El Paso and Ohio. It is difficult to learn more about the lives lost as part of another senseless act of violence.

We may be tempted to sign off social media, avoid the tv, and ignore the newspaper not to feel sad or disturbed. Our mental health is a critical component of our well-being. I believe Goggins would suggest that we also must use these disheartening events to push us to new levels of leadership.

I resonated with Goggins’ story. From growing up as a Black male in the US to the work I have done with Capoeira and my family's move abroad, I often nodded my head as I listened to the Audible version of the book twice this week! Unlike Goggins, I didn't endure child abuse or run sixty ultramarathons (foot races that exceed 26.2 miles), but I have endured multiple challenges in my lifetime.

In the Audible version of the book, Goggins includes a podcast interview with the writer who brought his story to text. Each chapter ends with additional insight into the shared stories and strategies to strengthen your thinking and approaches to life. In listening to the book, I found some incredible tools within myself to endure mental and physical difficulties.

One call to action requires you to assess a past failure. Goggins asks you to write about something you didn't achieve. In the exercise, you are asked to recognize what went right and where you made mistakes in a past endeavor. I completed this activity by reflecting on some past business failures and current financial challenges.

You should take a moment now, and write for a few minutes about a past failure. Acknowledge your victories and missed opportunities to improve. It's this process that can help you to take more ownership of failures to learn and move forward toward future successes.

I recommend that you buy Goggins' book, "Can't Hurt Me: Master the Mind and Defy the Odds."

Understand that you might find his language offensive. It embodies vocabulary consistent with hypermasculinity and misogyny. I also beg you to avoid focusing on how he articulates his story and listen to the message. You can find some paths aligned with realizing your full human potential. The book is a gem.