I consider myself a relatively active guy. In college I used to work out like crazy, subscribe to Muscle & Fitness, all that stuff. I was aware of a lot of exercise and/or fitness enthusiasts, but I was curious to see if there were any that were African American men, so I did a little searching online and came across this one particular guy. He had a few pics with inspirational quotes but I quickly dismissed him. To me, he looked like a guy that was born with everything, his parents were probably lawyers and he probably went to Columbia or Rutgers. Boy was I wrong!
I can’t remember how I came across him the second time. Maybe I was reading something about black Navy SEALS and he came up again. I remember reading about his first endurance race attempt and putting two and two together like, “oh snap, this the same guy as before!” I was intrigued so I read more about his attempt and then watched his appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast. I was blown away by what he had to say (not least of which was the fact that he was from Buffalo, my hometown). I then discovered that he wrote a book titled “Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins, and of course I ordered it. When I finished it, I knew it would be one of the most important books I would ever read.
The book itself is an autobiography and self-help book in one, which is an interesting format in itself. In it he takes you through his life, from early childhood to the present, narrating in very honest detail his accomplishments and his failures, his highs and his lows. For example, one of his accomplishments was that he once held the record for the most pull-ups done at one time. I can barely do one and this man broke the record for the most pull-ups completed in a single setting! But he also explains how he failed twice, and I think this is one of the things I like most about the book, the fact that he details losses before wins. He explained that his first attempt at breaking the record was on a nationally syndicated talk show, and from what I read he put in one hell of an effort. He wrote how his hands were on fire, skin was coming off his palms, his arms cramping, etc. Despite his tremendous effort, he ultimately had to give up, call it, quits, forfeit. He was devastated and embarrassed. It took him a minute but he made a second attempt at breaking the record. This time he improved his equipment and opted for less fanfare, this time enlisting local news coverage versus national which produced fewer spectators. He put forth a tremendous effort but it yielded the same result. Although he got farther this time than in his previous attempt, he still had to call it quits. He had his mother there this time to console and encourage him.
The thing is, he didn’t totally call it quits. He did another analysis, made adjustments, even less fanfare, bare minimum. With complete focus and determination he broke the mother effin record! Talk about perseverance. And this format, detailing his failures and then his wins, taking us through them like we were there, is repeated throughout the book. He repeated this format in detailing his endurance racing. This is what he really embraced after the service. I think this is where he took it to another level in the book, if you can even imagine that. He was in the military when he decided to enter this ultra-endurance race. I believe he wanted to raise funds for the families of soldiers that died during combat. The race he entered wasn’t just any race, for it was a 100 mile race and the man finished it! Thing is, he BARELY finished and he was, according to him, in terrible shape afterwards. A software mogul that witnessed it was so impressed about this guy not giving up that he invited him to his house to train him (and wrote a book about it). When Mr. Goggins goes over this race in the book, he goes into explicit detail explaining just what kind of shape his body was in after that first race. For example, his feet were bleeding, muscles cramping, along with a few other not so pleasant results, and that wasn’t the worst of it! You just have to read it!
As a sort of bonus, each chapter concludes with procedures you can use to get yourself to the same level he achieved during that chapter. No gimmicks, no bs. Just some tools he developed along the way that helped him get to where he wanted to go. In my life I was able to apply what he spoke about twice. Although I got distracted each time, the zone I was able to enter in was enough evidence for me. I became focused enough that I would head to the gym after jiu jitsu class for an extra workout which was amazing for me but scared me at the same time LOL. I was going to jiu jitsu at a decent pace, like 3 times a week. I wanted to see if I could keep it up as I observed Ramadan and saw that I could. It took a little getting used to, but my body adapted in a few short days. I even had a few days where I did two classes in a day while fasting and attending prayers at night (taraweh).
It’s taken me a while to write this review because it didn’t make permanent changes in my life. I’ve quickly fallen into my old habits unfortunately for as we all know life happens. And if the truth be told his pandemic ain’t helping, but for some maybe it has. I mean, DG failed to become a navy SEAL twice before he finally became one. He took failure as his teacher and adjusted to the lessons it taught to accomplish his goal. It is this very perspective that gives me the confidence that I can do the same.
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