Oh boy have I found the book! This is the one that confirms that everything I am doing is RIGHT to WRITE! This man’s journey is he truest testament of resilience.
My son turned me on to this book and I have barely been able to turn it off. The book is from David Goggins and is called “Can’t Hurt Me: Master your mind and defy the odds”. I am only three chapters in and the book is as astonishing as my son promised it would be. It is so hard to believe that anyone could survive the childhood he survived. The very stories left me shocked and shaken.
The abuse that he incurred is unthinkable horror. To hear it was hard, to imagine living it is impossible. While I can NEVER understand what that was nor would I want to, what I did relate to was the impact his mother had on him. He notes that the look on her face was one that he will never forget; the look in her eyes when he knew everything would change. I too recall my mom’s face on so many occasions throughout our lives together and it was that recognition that became our communication that allowed me to serve her long after her inability to speak. That unspeakable bond I cherished was born out of a lifetime of memories that would forever be ours.
He offers challenges at the end of each chapter and I have decided that those challenges are blog-worthy so tonight I will explore the first three chapters of challenges with you and will follow nightly until we have explored all ten together.
FIRST Challenge – Inventory of excuses
What was your bad hand? What kind of BS did you contend with growing up? Were you beaten, abused, bullied, did you ever feel insecure? Did you grow up so supported and comfortable, you never pushed yourself? Are you standing in your own way?
Now flip that shit! Open a Google Doc, a journal, a notes app on your phone and start answering these questions. WRITE, don’t think about it, don’t spellcheck, don’t look back just WRITE until you stop.
My reality in this first challenge is that my hand seemed as normal a hand as anyone else was holding as I knew nothing else. it was only when I was old enough to observe my surroundings versus those around me that I realized that it wasn’t ideal. I told my Aunt’s this weekend that I think the first realization that my reality was “less than” was when I went to my Aunt Susie’s house around the age of 5 or 6 and recognized that her house was like a palace compared to our single wide trailer that had this special effect when you turned on the kitchen light…
SECOND Challenge – Accountability Mirror
Write all your insecurities, dreams, and goals on Post-Its and put them on the mirror you look at every morning. You will use this accountability mirror to remind yourself of your mission each morning.
My reality in this second challenge is that I live this every single day and always have; it is why I never give up! I put a plan in place and I am “always starting” even if it meant I failed hours later; I would start again. This viscous cycle for me was in my weight loss struggles. Despite 30 years and millions of dollars spent on diets I refused to give up. My insecurities played out throughout my life not only because of my physicality but through my early choices. Years later those insecurities would fuel my dreams and goals because I was going to win this war if it killed me and it nearly did.
David Goggins notes that, “It’s time to come eyeball to eyeball with yourself, and get raw and real. This is not a self-love tactic. You can’t fluff it. Don’t massage your ego. This is about abolishing the ego and taking the first step toward becoming the real you!”
My “Accountability Mirror” has always been my Mom and Gary. I would tell them what I “was going to do” before I started every single effort knowing that they would love me despite my failure but would be supportive when I started again. Supportive but not enabling; they always held me to a higher standard and never gave me a “hall pass” on these intentions. It was this accountability that forced my hand in the end. My success was their success and letting them down was worse than letting myself down so it simply was not going to happen.
THIRD Challenge – Step Outside your Comfort Zone
The first step on the journey toward a calloused mind is stepping outside your comfort zone on a regular basis. Write down all the things you don’t like to do or that make you uncomfortable. Especially those things you know are good for you. – Now go do one of them, and do it again.
David Goggins goal was to became a Navy Seal but in order to do this he had to lose 100+ pounds in three months! He also had to pass the ASVAB test after three failed attempts. He set out to do both and was relentless in his efforts.
He noted that he would look at his running shoes for 30-40 minutes before convincing himself to put them on and run. He was in no shape to run but would never be unless he put them on and went despite the pain from yesterday’s run and the mental war in his head. He noted that in order to succeed he had to become so obsessed that people thought he was nuts.
“Not all physical and mental limitations are real, and that I had a habit of giving up way too soon.” – David Goggins
I also can relate to that because the self-discipline it took to lose 140 pounds makes you obsessive and there are days you have to be nuts to keep pushing past the pain, pain that you are not sure is real or just in your head.
He notes that he callused his mind by stepping out of his comfort zone, “the repetition of the challenge will be what creates the callus that allows you to succeed”. Mental toughness as David Goggins explains is doing the things you do not want to do, again and again and again.
He notes “You have to put yourself in a position to win”…regardless of the reality that you may or may not! There are no guarantees, not in this life and not ever, but anything worth having is never easy. The result is when you come out on the other side you will be changed in ways you could not have known and could not have intended but would benefit from for the rest of your life.
“We all have areas in our life that we can improve upon” and finding those means “making your weaknesses your strengths”. He asks you to post a picture that shows your weakness, a picture in the “discomfort zone”. The picture below is a before and after. On the left is me coming through the FINISH LINE nearly last in a mere 5k that took me over an hour. I was uncomfortable as hell that day, but the fact remains that I was out there doing it…owning it. The picture to the right is me finishing one of my first half marathon’s after losing the weight. When I look at the pics I cannot identify which made me more proud as it took as much strength to finish that 5k at 274 pounds as it did to finish that Half 140 pounds lighter and fully trained. In neither case was I guaranteed to “win” or even “finish” but I did it because as David Goggins says “I put myself in a position to win, to succeed” rather than not trying for fear of failure. I am ALWAYS STARTING and it is the ART OF NEVER GIVING UP.
This book speaks to me beyond words spoken through an author, it speaks to my soul of resilience and is a translation of a lifetime of relentlessness. This is my life, listening to HIS life and respecting his journey, so grateful for having the honor to share and reconcile our varied paths.
This is life as I see it – L.