David Goggins was born in 1975 in New York. His childhood was characterized by his father's violent and demanding behavior. From the age of six, David, along with his mother and older brother, worked tirelessly at his father's roller-disco rink almost every night until midnight. David would often fall asleep in school because of his work for his father.
David's father's brutal behavior made life unbearable. He often viciously beat David and his mother. When David was eight, he and his mother escaped from their tormentor, but their newfound freedom was bittersweet as his older brother decided to stay with their father.
David's life after escaping his father was marked by poverty and the trauma of his past. His father's refusal to provide financial support left David and his mother living in public housing on meager means.
The toxic stress David experienced from his father's abuse resulted in long-term changes to his brain chemistry, made him lose his hair and skin pigment, caused a nervous stutter, and affected his memory and ability to learn.
Struggling in school, David was labeled as "stupid" and faced ridicule from teachers. To avoid being kicked out of school, he resorted to cheating, but this severely impacted his education, and he was barely literate heading into his teenage years.
He hoped to join the Air Force, but his fear of swimming caused him to quit.
He worked as a pest exterminator and turned to food to cope with his disappointing life, ballooning to almost 300 pounds.
David Goggins was inspired to become a Navy SEAL after watching a documentary about them. However, he was too heavy to join and had less than three months to lose over 100 pounds of weight. Goggins set up a punishing daily fitness regimen, which started at 4:30 am, and through unwavering dedication and determination, he achieved the improbable. He joined the program, underwent grueling training, and eventually became a Navy SEAL.
After achieving his goal of becoming a Navy SEAL, David turned to ultramarathoning. He decided to raise money for the families of fellow Navy SEALS killed in Afghanistan by competing in the Badwater 135, a 135-mile race in Death Valley, known as the toughest foot race on earth.
To qualify, David completed the San Diego One Day (a 100-mile race) in just 19 hours without any special training.
David prepared and trained rigorously for Badwater 135. He finished the race in 30 hours, coming in fifth place.
A few years later, David competed in the Ironman World Championship.
David coined the "40% Rule", which states that most people only give about 40% of their maximum effort before they give up. By pushing through the pain tolerance and letting go of self-limiting beliefs, individuals can access their other 60%, surpass their perceived limits and achieve new levels of performance and excellence in all areas of life.
David recommends winning the morning by getting up early and working towards their goals before their day begins. He follows this routine himself, starting his day at 4 am with a six-to-ten-mile run, biking 25 miles to work, working at his desk job, and then fitting in a gym session or another run during his lunch break.
David uses the "Cookie Jar Method" to overcome difficult situations. It involves envisioning a cookie jar where you collect all the challenges you've conquered and achievements you've accomplished as cookies. In times of hardship, you can refer to your cookie jar to remind yourself of your past resilience. The cookie jar acts as a mental reservoir that can be used to reinforce your ability to overcome whatever difficulties you're currently facing.
David attributes his accomplishments and his transformation from someone who's despairing and obese to a Navy SEAL and ultramarathoner to a strong work ethic. He believes that there are no quick fixes to success, and by pushing yourself and working hard every day, anyone can achieve their dreams.