Can’t Hurt Me

By David Coggins

(Download .pdf synopsis)


Life story of David Coggins, who overcame poverty, prejudice and abuse to become the only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger and Air Force Tactical Air Controller. Coggins set numerous records in endurance events and was named The Fittest Man in America by Outside magazine.

Key Takeaway(s):

Not all physical and mental limitations are real, and the proclivity can be to give up too soon.

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.”

Accepting weakness: “Only when you identify and accept your weaknesses will you finally stop running from your past.”

To develop a bulletproof mind: Go to the source of all your fears and insecurities.

40% Rule: Most of us give up when we’ve only given around 40 percent of our maximum effort. Stretch your pain tolerance and let go of your identity to access your remaining 60%. Remove your governor (see Challenge 7 below) and you will be capable of so much more, but progress takes time.

Entitlement: It’s dead weight. Cut it loose. Things won’t always go your way. Don’t let a single failure derail your mission.

You are the sum total of the obstacles that you overcome.

Mental Cookie Jar: Journal your achievements and the major obstacles you have overcome. Reach into that mental cookie jar when you are challenged and let your past victories carry you to new personal bests.


3 — Callous your mind by stepping out of your comfort zone on a regular basis. Journal things that you don’t like to do or that make you uncomfortable, especially those things that are good for you. Once the list is compiled, do one of them, and do it again.

5 — Average person thinks 2K-3K thoughts/hour. “Rather than focusing on bullshit you cannot change, imagine visualizing the things you can.” VISUALIZE overcoming your obstacle or achieving your goal. Visualize challenges and how you will attack them. Paint a picture of what success looks and feels like. (“Strategic visualization”)

7 — Slowly start to remove the governor from your brain. When you are tired, in pain, and/or your body is begging you to stop, do 5% to 10% more.

8 — Compartmentalize your day. 3 week challenge. Week 1: Take notes about your normal schedule. When do you work? Nonstop or interrupted? Identify areas to increase productivity. Week 2: Build an optimal schedule and pursue it relentlessly. Week 3: You should now have a working schedule that maximizes efficiency without sacrificing sleep, exercise.

10 — File your own belated After Action Reports, journaling your most recent heart-wrenching failures. First, write all the good things that came from the failure. It’s rarely all bad. Note how you handled the failure. What was your mindset, from preparation to execution? Go back and make a list of the things that you can fix.

What I got out of it:

You must control your own mindset and dominate your thought process, b/c life is just one big mind game. You can callous your mind with your failures, keeping the 40% rule in sight so you learn to achieve more.