Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins: Book Summary and Review

David Goggins

After hearing a lot of buzz about this book Can’t Hurt Me from young men, I finally gave it a shot after wanting to improve my pull-up count. I usually avoid “tough guy” books in this realm, like Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink, because I have no desire to join the army or put myself in high-pressure, life-or-death situations.

The book surprised me because it still delivered a lot of relatable value in terms of positive mindset shifts and how to turn around your inner, dark dialogue and your external, crappy life. If you’re not familiar, Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins covers a man who had a tough childhood and mediocre adulthood until he was fed up with it. He went from being obese and hating his low-paying job to a world record holder in pull-up’s and a 100-mile+ marathon running champion. This article includes my podcast, book notes about what I learned, and my review.

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Book Summary

  • He grew up in poverty and endured physical and mental abuse hundreds of times from his father. His dad would find any tiny reason to beat him until there were welts on his back, even if it was just for grazing the road after being told not to ride a bike on the road. His father also beat his mother senselessly frequently.
  • His mother tried to call the police but the police believed dad over mom in those days. Eventually, his mother decided to run away with the children, but she emotionally broke down a couple times during the trip, almost returning because her car broke down on the road and the only hotel around was fully booked.
  • Most people are dealt a bad hand in life. His first exercise for you is to record your “bad hand” in detail; don’t be too vague or short. Then, realize that your challenges can be turned into great power with the right mindset. Most people get it wrong because they adopt a “woe is me” attitude to the obstacles they receive in life. Instead of saying “I’m screwed because of these things,” you can find a way to turn it into a positive, such as “You can’t hurt me because of these things.” This change in mindset takes time. It even took David years.
  • He would hide his true self in masks of the exterior. In school, he would adopt the street, black, gang member even though that wasn’t him. When he got older, he would resort to junk food binging until he weighed almost 300 pounds because he wanted to look tough and intimidating as a big person. But deep inside, he knew he was a coward. He chickened out halfway through completing Navy training because it was so scary and difficult.
  • The second exercise is to have some type of physical accountability mirror so that you can be constantly reminded of what you need to do. It can’t be digital because it won’t work if it’s digital. You have a duty to complete the task you are accountable to.
  • People will judge you, and it won’t feel good, but then they forget about you. Davids recommends that you try not to judge others because sometimes, you’re wrong or it’s hurtful.
  • The third challenge is to keep doing something outside of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but it has to be something that is sustainable and that you can increase as you get comfortable with it. Maybe it’s making your bed every morning, doing the dishes, or going for a run in the morning. Once you get comfortable with that, increase the duration of that run or activity.
  • People want an easy solution to becoming mentally tough. But they already know the answer. It’s gonna be painful. To improve your mental strength, you have to do what you don’t want to do. It’s not about passion or enjoyment.
  • David had to commit to becoming a Navy Seal. He had to lose 100 pounds in a short amount of time to be within an eligible weight and had to pass a written exam. He studied really hard and went from eating junk food to grill chicken, exercising, and feeling hungry every night.
  • He brainwashed himself to enjoy the pain. Each time he didn’t want to go out when it was snowing or raining, he would force himself to. Eventually, he got used to it.
  • Everything in life is mental. In the moment, it may seem like the pain will last forever, but everything ends.
  • David used a mind game tactic on himself to get him through the Navy SEALs hell week, which is a time when they put tryouts through harsh training and conditions to weed people out. He calls it “taking someone’s soul,” and it is something you use on yourself to get you through a tough time. Research and become familiar with your own insecurities and your opponent’s weaknesses. “Taking someone’s soul” is situation dependent and doesn’t always mean defiance. Sometimes, because it taking someone soul, and it is something you use on yourself to get you through a tough time. Research and become familiar with your own insecurities and your opponents weaknesses. Taking someone’s soul is situation dependent and doesn’t always mean defiance. If you’re being bullied, It means being able to laugh at yourself when someone tries to make fun of you, which takes away their power. For a job interview, it could mean showing up your weaknesses rather than laughing at them. Secure people do not bully others. So that’s a weakness in a bully that you can exploit. Sometimes, the best way of taking a bully’s soul is to help them.
    • Taking someone’s soul is a competitive tactic. David use this to stop the instructors of hell week for messing with his crew anymore. You must understand human psyche to do this well. He understood that these instructors were having easy drinking coffee. They weren’t thinking about any of the crew that were suffering at the moment. But Everyone has their demons. So he realized the best thing to do is to occupy some real estate in their mind by showing them that he and his crew were at their best on the worst day of their lives, he got his crew to enthusiastically and energetically continue their work of caring a boat over their head, and he noticed that it shook some of the instructors when they saw it. The disbelief can also help invigorate you.
    • Taking one soul can apply to other competitive endeavors, like at work or during a marathon. It’s about finding the extra mental edge over your competitor because sometimes, all you need to do is last one second longer then your competitor and you have broken them.
  • All physical and emotional pain is finite. It will end at some point.
  • When you stop looking at yourself and focusing on how to help others, it helps you be a better leader and find that stronger purpose to keep going. He did this during hell week by focusing on helping his boat crew get through. He couldn’t show weakness for their sake even when he got injured. When you start to focus on helping others, you stop focusing on your own demons as much.
  • He learned to switch his mindset as a Navy SEAL. Instead of having a victim mentality about everything he’s been through and what he’s going through, he chose to use all those experiences as a blessing because they helped strengthen him. Your problems in life can work for you or against you; it’s your choice. He used his issues to say that no one can hurt him anymore.
  • Negativity, doubt, and bad thoughts will prevent you from achieving the winner’s mindset. You can get a second wind of energy by activating your sympathetic nervous system through using your challenges as strengths. But negative thoughts will block the activation of the sympathetic system. David decided that his past challenges in life have made him strong, whereas others were worse off because their minds were weak from an easy life.
  • David still has some days when he would slip up and not exercise or work out. It was a muscle that he had to train. But he got to the point where it ate at him whenever he missed a day and then make up for it. He would drive back to the gym and do double what he skipped out on sets otherwise, it would eat him the whole night. You have to get to that level where it eats at you for you to succeed.
  • David got kicked out as a Navy SEAL even though he through hell week because one of his knees got super injured and swollen. He tried to hide it and kill the pain with tons of pills, but eventually he had to show it to the medical wing. He wasn’t sure if he would get accepted back or if he had to go through hell week all over again. It turns out it was the latter.
  • If you don’t address the source of your demons and your past, they will come back to haunt you when challenges appear in your life. Many people try to sweep them under the rug, but that doesn’t work. David found this out the hard way. Although he was progressing physically and improving his mental toughness, as proven by passing the Navy SEAL hell week, he discovered that his demons were still there when life challenges occurred. After he got decommissioned because of his injury, his divorced wife which he no longer loved told him that she was pregnant. He wasn’t ready for that yet since he had $30,000 in credit card debt.
  • He had to go through another hell week. This time, he saw someone who was like him, grew up with his own demons, and turned himself into an athlete. This man was talking a lot of shit about everyone else before hell week started. He was always performing the best athletically during tests and during the start of the week. However, David knew that all the talking shit will turn against him because there were moments during the week that required you to work with your team and no one would want to work with him. Also, although he had hardened himself in his mind, he didn’t address his core demons. This man was short and halfway through hell week, he cracked. He started to perform the worst and you could tell that he was starting to feel insecure that he was short when they had him and his team lift the boat over their heads. all the talking shit will turn against him because there were moments during the week that required you to work with your team and no one would want to work with him. Also, although he had hardened himself in his mind, he didn’t address his core demons. This man was short and halfway through hell week, he cracked. He started to perform the worst and you could tell that he was starting to feel insecure that he was short when they had him and his team left the boat over their heads. Eventually, he headed to the medical center complaining that he had fractured or cracked his feet but there was no problem. He had lost mentally and let his demons get him. He ended up giving up.
  • David made it through hell week. However, on the last day, he witnessed one of the people trying out die from pneumonia. It was raining day and night.
  • Strategic visualization will help you prepare but you cannot visualize lies. You have to do the work. Be sure to be able to answer questions like why are you doing this? What has callused your mind? What are your demons? Because they will come up when time to get off.
  • As a Navy seal, he heard about 100 mile ultramarathon three days before the event and joined. He had no preparation or training. In fact, he ate Hostess chocolate cakes right before the event and he let his Navy seal boss convince him to do a heavy power lifting session the night before. In fact, he was still a big, linebacker build as a Navy seal, he heard about 100 mile ultramarathon three days before the event and joined. He had no preparation or training. In fact, he ate Hostess chocolate cakes right before the event and he let his Navy seal boss convince him to do a heavy power lifting session the night before. In fact, he was still a big, linebacker build Who only did cardio once a week and focused mostly on power lifting exercises. He looked out of place on the starting line next to a lot of skinny athletes. He was completely unprepared with no nutrition plan or game plan. He thought that having a strategy would make a scene to Rio and to impossible to complete. Some of the experienced runners in organizers kept telling him to slow down but he kept telling that “he got this.” He really just didn’t want to think about strategy because it would freak him out. And during the rain, inevitably, he had to face those questions as to why he was doing this. He told himself he was honoring the fallen soldiers, but he wasn’t sure if that was true. From miles 15 to 25, he actually stayed in fifth place despite being told to slow down to pace himself.
  • He saw this exclusive ultra-marathon race that he wanted to run. The organizer rejected him, saying sarcastically that if he ran another 100-mile race in San Diego within a certain time, he’d reconsider. He ran the race with no training. He rationalized that he was doing it for charity. By mile 70, he had stress fractures. He was informed his pace wouldn’t let him qualify. He got honest with himself and realize he was doing this for himself. It was about him; it was about how much he was willing to suffer.
  • He found renewed energy around mile 70 when he wanted to give up by thinking back to his past achievements to motivate him. He calls it a cookie jar exercise because it’s like pulling out a cookie from the cookie jar to lighten your mood it’s time you think of a memory. When doing this exercise, it doesn’t even have to be a big achievement. Thinking back to small achievements help too.
  • Once David completed the 100 miler, all his toenails had almost fallen off. It made him invigorated because he realize that there’s so much more that was possible if he just believed it and committed.
  • Here’s his next exercise for you: commit to doing something physical or mental. Then, set out to break that record. You will be surprised what you can accomplish. If it’s pull ups or certain amount books to read per month, you can do more.
  • The secret to never procrastinating: David never procrastinated for his big projects because he set a looming deadline and wanted to accomplish it. Sometimes, these deadlines were too soon. For example, he had to lose over 100 pounds in three months to qualify as a Navy SEAL applicant.
  • He went on a 100-mile trail marathon called Hurt 100 to pad his resume to apply for the exclusive ultra-marathon. The other runners supported him but kept telling him that he was unprepared with his equipment, food, and training. He did run in Trina l’amour to prepare for this went down his first ultra marathon. However, this trail run had all sorts of rocks and roots sticking out up in incline whereas all his preparation was done on a flat surface.
  • David says that there’s a “governor” in your brain that tells you that you’re out of energy and to give up. In reality, when you think you’re all used up, you’re only ~50% done. How do you keep going? You have to re-train your mind’s programming to tolerate more and more pain. There’s no shortcut for this; you have to spend years and years pushing your comfort zone and pain threshold, teaching your mind that you can handle more.
  • David ended up walking the last 20 of the Hurt 100. He wasn’t a master of his mind yet. He was still in training. He believes he only used 60% of his capacity during that race. Despite that, his wife had to carry him to the hotel afterwards.
  • Everyone can achieve more than they ever believed possible. David isn’t saying that genetics don’t play a role in that everyone can be LeBron James. He’s just saying that if you change your thinking, you can achieve stage you would’ve thought weren’t  possible.
  • David believes you can pull out more energy and motivation when you compete with yourself rather than compete with others. You start to feed off them and run their race rather than look inside and compete against yourself.
  • David tricked the “ Gouverneur“ during this race by telling himself that once he got over the next hill, he would have permission to quit if you wanted to. Each time he got to the next hill, he would get renewed energy and repeat the process.
  • His next exercise is to push a little further when you think you can’t push anymore. When you feel like your body is screaming at you to stop, push 5 to 10% more. This gradual increase will prevent injury and reset your baseline. Every week after that push 5 to 10% more beyond your last point. If the max push-ups you’ve ever done is 100, do 105 or 110.
  • David ended up running Bad Water and finishing in fifth place. He didn’t feel as good about it as he could because he felt like there’s more potential in him that he could pull out. It’s a real learning lesson and when here was accomplishing this great feat and seeing the potential of being able to eat out every tiny bit of energy you had left, which he saw in the competitors that beat him. This race was also for his charity.
  • Next, he competed in the Ultraman marathon in Hawaii which is like an Iron Man on steroids. He ended up finishing second by 10 minutes, and he blew out his tire on his bike for which cost over 20 minutes to get fixed. He believe he lost when he stopped running his own race and started comparing himself and seeing himself beat the person ahead of him. He was so sure that he was a better runner than anyone else giving his learning experience that he shot out of the gate too hot to make up for his lost flat tire time. This caused him to crash too late would you allow his competitor to catch up.
  • Passion and talent or secondary to a strong work ethic. David’s work ethic contributed most to his success. You have 160 hours in a week and you should be doing more work then the 40 hour work week. You have enough time to work hard, spend with family, and get your nutrition and exercise in order.
  • Always be ready to adjust to the unexpected when it happens so that you make the most of it rather than let it get you down. If you’re a runner and you get injured, use the opportunity to do more yoga and improve your flexibility, which will help you as a runner and prevent injury in the future. If you’re a guitar player and you break one hand, sit down at a piano and use the other hand to learn a new musical skill.
  • David’s next challenge for you is to document every moment of your day with timestamps. This will provide a baseline for how much time you waste in the day. Most people waste 45 hours a week and you can easily spot a lot of fat with this method. Then, start trimming the fat, stop multitasking, and focus on a task. Multitasking causes many people to half ass most of what they do. Focus on the task at hand and nothing else. Work on not using social media or anything else when you have to do something. When you’re resting and recovering, just focus on that. Don’t check email or use social media at the same time. By the third week, you should have a set calendar based on what you’ve discovered so that you can start to build a solid routine and solid habits.
  • David’s unexpected event occurred when he had heart and breathing issues. It turns out that he had a birth defect with his heart. A couple surgeries that were supposed to fix the issue didn’t fix it.
  • A true leader stays exhausted, abhors arrogance, leads by example, never looks down on the weakest link, and fights for his or her team.
  • What are you white black, polkadot, gay, straight, rich, poor, you have to make it happen. Don’t make excuses.
  • David resolve to be the best out of the best, most uncommon out of the uncommon. He didn’t just want to be a navy SEAL, he decided he wanted to be one of the toughest Navy SEALs. He aimed to join the squad of SEALs that requires the highest standards and experience, the ones that get the toughest missions like the one to find Osama Bin Laden.
  • He also requested for training other branches of the military and Air Force since he figured they were other tough individuals and training models that he could use to develop himself and learn. His request got denied six times, but he finally got accepted to become to join the army ranger program, which was very tough and had a low completion rate. Rangers score was more difficult than BUDS because they don’t feed you well and you’re locked into the school the entire day and night. Whereas in BUDS, you’re done after a certain time of day, as long as it’s not hell week, and you’re giving a lot to eat.
  • Don’t get soft or start taking things for granted. He noticed other men reap the rewards of their work and then just cruise and stay at that level of comfort. He recommends always expanding your mind and your skills by exploring new areas of discomfort or new obstacles and goals when you have achieved success in an area.
  • He believes one reason he succeeded was his mindset of embracing the fact that he was nobody with no superior rank. He liked how the military didn’t assign superior range to people and made everyone a private. He joined the military training to be a Ranger when others who had already become a Navy seal thought that it was beneath them because of their rank. But he embrace the fact that he was back to square one and then nobody like everyone else and he had to prove himself.
  • David ended up being a bad leader for around 50 men he was assigned because they won’t give up to his high standards. He carried around his attitude of disappointment. They weren’t interested in his extra, custom workouts and routines he wanted them to do. He tells the reader that what he was doing was part of his ego. Instead of lording it over them or thinking you’re better, he should have lifted them up as well and encouraged them to be the best versions of themselves. Rather than thinking he was superior and causing a rift, he should’ve encouraged them and that felt like he was better or distant from them.
  • There is usually much more left in the tank than you realize. You can push further, perform order, hold on longer. David started noticing this himself based on how far you have come. He was able to continue pushing even after breaking both his legs in a race, which prove to him that he had a lot more in the tank when he could’ve given up I told him self that he had given he’s 100% already.
  • David made it to the final selection process for the Delta group didn’t make it. He suspects that the interview process had something to do with it, he was completely qualified for my skills perspective, but didn’t fit in to the brotherhood and fraternity because he wasn’t a fraternity, group type of guy. The interview focused on him fitting in as one of the only black guys involved a lot of racism, but that didn’t bother him at all. He was used to it and there’s nothing they could say that he can dish back. The interview focused on him fitting in as one of the only black guys involved a lot of racism, but that didn’t bother him at all. He was used to it and there’s nothing they could say that he couldn’t  dish back.
  • Instead of applying again, he decided to try out for the Air Force’s version of this super high-level group. He finished first in a lot of the physical fitness tests that had you navigate the terrain to find the end. But along one of the last rounds, he rolled his ankle sprinting down the hill with rocks. Despite wrapping it up to finish the race and icing it that night, he wasn’t able to complete the next fitness test in a sufficient standard of time. The instructors were impressed and asked him to try again.
  • David’s next challenge is for the uncommon among us, which isn’t for everyone. When you achieve a level of greatness, status, or respect, you tend to get complacent. Don’t. Instead, start to pursue greatness even further. It won’t be easy and it may be the hardest thing you’ve done. It will require sacrifice, singular focus, which may upset the balance in other areas of your life. That means not just getting into Harvard, but graduating number one or not just graduating BUDS but running Badwater too. This isn’t for everyone because it requires everything out of you.
  • David rubbed some of his teammates the wrong way because he made them feel like they were under achievers and he didn’t respect them and they didn’t respect him. He said that was a bad attitude for him to have and that he wasn’t trying to make him feel bad, he was just trying to unlock a higher level within himself.
  • David had to wait 18 months in between heart surgeries, which prevented him from doing what he wanted which was to use his skills and physical prowess to fight. When he finally got his surgery and healed up, he was given the option to travel to any boss he wanted to. He said he wanted to apply to Delta again because he had unfinished business. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it through. During one of the first election rounds, he mistakenly thought that he had five checkpoints like the days before instead of six. He had to break protocol to reach the six check point in time and that disqualified him.
  • David had to take a break from ultrarunning when he started getting neck pain and other symptoms. He had a suspicion that everyone crosses the threshold at some point I’m just running too much. The doctors did clear him of any major issues. It wasn’t a tumor or anything. So, David turn his attention to the pull up bar.
  • David didn’t just want to be known for one thing. he started researching record for pull-ups and set his sights on breaking the Guinness world record for most pull ups in 24 hours. It seem daunting, but when he broke it down into how many pull-ups he had to do per minute, six, it was manageable. Plus, he was already very experienced and skilled with pull ups, having cranked out over 40,000 in his lifetime. He trained and prepared for it, and attempted the feet on the Today show with camera and lights. When he started, he realize the bar had a lot more gear than he was used to. But there’s nothing he could do about it and he figured that just means he has to use a bit more force, and it shouldn’t be an excuse. About halfway through, he was pacing faster than planned, but doubt starting to seep into his mind. His massage therapist was working his arms but they were swelling from the lactic acid. His team tried to secure the bar by taping it to the pipes nearby. He initially planned to eat nothing but a energy drink throughout the work out, but it wasn’t enough nourishment, so he ordered a cheeseburger. He hit a point where he believed he couldn’t succeed. His body was verging on complete muscle failure. He gave up at 2,500 pullups, with no energy to even lift his arm.
  • He didn’t hang his head at the failure; he saw it as a lesson that paved himself for future success. He realized he never should have gone on the show since it was too distracting. He went on the show to raise awareness since he was attempting to record to raise money for fallen heroes families for charity. But thinking of money first and the exposure was a bad move, because he should’ve not gone on the show and attempted to record in a less distracting place. Too many people asked for pictures in between sets, which affected his mind. Also, he didn’t respect the record enough. He figured that he could completed it using his rusty pull up bar. He should’ve taken more salt tablets to prevent cramping and should’ve taken shorter breaks.
  • David took the lessons he learned into his second attempt at the pullup record, just two months later. He had a secure bar, a smaller crowd, and salt tablets and gels ready. He got several hundred pullup’s farther this time, but his palms were so torn up that they were essentially an open would. His mother called her local physician over during the attempt, and the physician asked that he stopped. The physician claimed he had his muscle fatigue so much that his muscles couldn’t get enough glucose so it was secreting protein into the bloodstream. The kidneys have to filter out this protein, but if it can’t filter it out fast enough, it’s been known to cause death. Instead, David went with her second suggestion, which was to inject something into his palms to dull the pain. The injection was one of the most painful things he experienced, but he didn’t care because he was on a mission. Unfortunately, he didn’t succeed this time either in breaking the record.
  • Immediately after his second failure, he already made up his mind to try again despite doctors recommending against it.
  • David’s third attempt occurred about a month later. His palms had healed up. He prepared more than before.
    • He reduced the amount of people around him even further since he preferred a quiet space where he could be alone in his mind.
    • He got a mattress company to create custom-made foam that he could use for his palms. He didn’t tape them into his palms. It was enough just to hold them there. Guinness approved its use.
    • After a failure, analyze your preparation and execution. David preparation and execution were good for his second attempt at the pull-up record, but his belief wasn’t strong. He had to eliminate doubt on his next attempt.
    • He updated his approach based on his previous failures. He started slower at three or four pull ups every minute instead of six. While six per minute would theoretically get him to his record, he could never maintain six over time after many hours.
    • He prepared his mind for the ten-hour mark when he usually ends up having to take a long break. This time, he told himself he would never take a break for more than five minutes.
    • It was scary since he knew how fast and out-of-the-blue muscle failure could occur. Every pull-up could’ve been his last.
    • He saw the current record holder as the enemy to beat. It wasn’t anything personal against this man; he didn’t even know him. He just needed everything possible to have that edge.
  • David broke the pull-up record on his third attempt. He didn’t celebrate much or get much adoration or press for it. But he didn’t do it for the adoration, money, or women. He did it for charity and to prove to himself how far he could go and be the most badass person ever. That was enough for him.
  • Going through something like breaking the pullup record isn’t fun. It isn’t supposed to be. It wasn’t pleasurable, and he didn’t do it because it was fun. (This point is fascinating because it runs contrary to other schools of thought on ‘find your passion’ which may give the implication that once you’ve found your passion for a career, everything you do in that career should “supposedly” always be super fun and pleasurable – I think that idea is false. There’s always some pain you need to give to get to where you want.)
  • Get rid of an entitled mindset. Instead, focus on what you want to earn. Just because you imagine something doesn’t mean you should feel like you deserve it . Don’t blame anything. Failure is a great gift, not something that should get you down. Learn from your failures.
  • Self-talk is so important. But it’s not easy.
  • The next challenge: think about all the heartwretching and most recent failures. Journal them with pen and paper and feel it, not digitally. Think about how you prepared and executed, figure out what you did in and how you can do better, schedule your next attempt asap and use your lessons learned. Keep all the other lessons mentioned earlier in your head while doing so. If it is a failure you cant recreate or redo, still so this exercise.

Book Discussion and Review

  • The audiobook version is much better than the book version because the author adds his own commentary to the text, like a podcast. He adds extra insights, such as the fact that he had dozens more visceral experiences as a kid that he couldn’t include, but he chose the ones he did because they had the most emotional damage on his mother, even though his mom was usually a rock.
  • I wonder if David’s way is the only way. I don’t think it is. He has a very extreme method that was spared from him hitting rock-bottom and from him wanting to make something of his life and not be another statistic. I think there’s definitely stuff I can take from that method. However, I can also see such an extreme method of feeling that hunger from dieting and the pain from your injuries and work causing you to burn out or hate what you do. It reminds me of bodybuilders that develop binge/starve toxic relationships with nutrition and exercise. I believe there are ways of learning to love working out and dieting in a way where you can ease into it.
  • The whole story of David signing up for an ultra marathon a couple days before he found out about it with no training, game plan, or conditioning seemed foolish and irrational. It seem like some manifestation of his psyche and his attempts to deal with his psychological issues. Perhaps, one hidden motivator for all the extreme things he does is because he thinks that’s what he asked to do and that’s how you have to commit to toughen him up and deal with all the crap he went to growing up. I don’t think all his tips, therefore, or relatable or completely applicable to most of the general public reading this because he got some of that fuel from a deep dark place that others never experienced. Nor do I think it’s all completely healthy. Fortunately, he came out unscathed from the ultra marathon, but doing such extreme, for hearty things will lead to physical and mental injuries and problems in the long run. If anything, it made me wonder if he should’ve taking more of his own advice at that time and really questioned why he was doing the things he did and if they’re really necessary to make him happy or feel enough for whatever else he’s going for. In some ways, it probably did help him. It helped him create this book full of extreme stories that sells well and probably helped his career. But also, without controlling it, I can get out of control and lead to all sorts of extreme behavior that can damage relationships or negatively affect your life.
  • I worry that some people will hear a story of him taking on a ultra marathon with no training and see you as amazing, admirable and, and nothing else but epic. But really, It was a poor move, and he underestimated how hard it would be, which caused injuries and health issues for him. You honestly should’ve done with more training first. He does admit in the audiobook commentary that it was the hardest experience he ever went through and points to the fact that he really underestimated it and made a stupid decision.
    • His general pursuit of discomfort and suffering is admirable, but I believe his advice could be done with more thought and intelligence so that readers account for injury prevention. I saw someone post in the Can’t Hurt Me Facebook group about how he’s doing bear crawls in the rain even though it’s uncomfortable; I used to think it was badass to run in the cold and rain in long-distance track in high school, but that’s how I pulled my hamstring for the first time, which took me out of commission for a good half year. If you do, make sure you warm up a lot and start off slow (two things I didn’t do). There are other ways of experiencing the same discomfort that are smarter (cold shower maybe?).
  • I think people should listen to the audiobook version since it’s commentary really gives more inside and details. He may seem foolish in some of his 0 to 100 actions, trying to sign up for a ultra marathon and run it without any experience for example. But his commentary in lightened you and let you know that he screwed up. He admits it and he recommends that you don’t do that and whether gradually build up by 5 or 10% every week.
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By Will Chou

I am the the founder of this site and I am grateful you are here to be part of this awesome community. I help hard-working Asian American Millennials get rich doing work they love.


  1. Although “Can’t hurt me” gives a lot of insights about the fact that pain is inevitable and we should embrace it, I guess, it doesn’t neccasarily mean everyone should push themselves to that point physically where it affects their health. Stoics would prefer to train mind rather than body. As a matter of fact, there is this saying by Senecca that goes “We train body so rigorously that so that it will not be disobedient to the mind”

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