Above is a 6-minute video with some of my takeaways.
Working on a rat animation.
3 sentence summary: Goggins is still an uncommon man among uncommon men. From what I understand, Goggins started with audio for the first book and it was massaged into a book. This follow-up book seems more structured than that. It has its pros and cons.
But for Goggins, cons are pros.
On to some takeaways (and YouTube Shorts)
Some are born winners, some are born losers (who then fight to become winners)
…I was born a loser. There are a lot of born losers out there. Every day, babies are born into poverty and broken families, like I was.
Goggins went through abuse of all types throughout his life.
The main enemy: his dad
Your demons don’t die with you. They try to carry on. If the demons are strong enough (and they often are), they’re passed on to family members.
This makes it doubly important to work through your own demons: once for yourself and again for the people in your life.
This reminds me of another person I very much never want to fight: Mark Hunt. From his biography, “Born to Fight”:
I try to remember any light, fun moments we shared as kids, but it’s hard to find anything. If there were any board games, or holidays, or trips to the movies, or the rugby, or the museum, or anything that parents and little kids do together then I don’t remember them. All I remember about that house is a shitload of beatings and what felt like endless days of hunger.
(Yes. I definitely feel how soft my life has been and become when I come into the book looking for motivation to think up 1 second hooks for short-form videos and then read about a dad alternating beating his son in front of his mom and beating his mom in front of his son.)
The 2 Rats
They swam their hearts out…for an average of sixty hours without any food or rest. One swam for eighty-one hours.
Goggins shares a story about research in the 50s with two groups of rats. Both get tossed in water. The first set drowns within 15 minutes.
The second set get rescued and dried off, returned to normal. Saved.
They then return to water and are able to survive far longer than 15 minutes.
Some attribute it to hope. Goggins says it’s belief.
Hope is fleeting. Belief built from resilience is his ultimate fuel.
The mixtape (of hate)
Some people avoid reading comments at all. Goggins records himself reading them and listens to them when he’s down.
I loved those comments. I loved them so much I made a mixtape. I printed them all out, recorded myself saying each one, and then I looped it. Whenever I have a bad day, I listen to it. Sometimes, I walk around the house savoring it in full stereo.
One of my favorite books on self talk is Jon Acuff’s “Soundtracks”, where he relates the voice in our head to music. And a lot of what we listen to all day is negative broken records.
Your brain builds on overthinking’s habit of negativity by doing three additional things: (1) Lying about your memories, (2) Confusing fake trauma with real trauma, (3) Believing what it already believes
Goggins leans into other people’s negative talk and learns to cringe at his own negative self talk.
The lesson here: whether you’re focusing on negative (like Goggins) or trying to sway things to the positive (like Acuff), it’s incredibly powerful and worth learning to focus on controlling your self talk at all.
(While grabbing the cover for this post, I realized I bought the clean edition. I knew something was off. Off to Amazon to re-buy the proper edition.)
Alright I’m back with the parental advisory version.
It’s okay to quit (just don’t rage quit)
It’s not always the wrong move to quit. Even in battle, sometimes we must retreat. You might not be ready for whatever it is you’ve taken on. Perhaps your preparation wasn’t as thorough as you’d thought. Maybe other priorities in life need your attention. It happens, but make sure that it is a conscious decision you’re making, not a reaction. Never quit when your pain and insecurity are at their peak. If you must retreat, quit when it’s easy, not when it’s hard.
Quitting often makes sense, but you want to make sure that it isn’t just a reaction to something.
In “Grit”, Angela Duckworth talks about her own family’s 3 rules for hard things. One of them is that everyone in the family has to do a hard thing—the Duckworths aren’t doing 100-milers in the desert but they have pursuits that require daily deliberate practice. Another rule is that each member picks their own hard thing.
The last rule, similar to what Goggins advises, is that you can’t just rage quit.
This brings me to the second part of the Hard Thing Rule: You can quit. But you can’t quit until the season is over, the tuition payment is up, or some other “natural” stopping point has arrived. You must, at least for the interval to which you’ve committed yourself, finish whatever you begin. In other words, you can’t quit on a day when your teacher yells at you, or you lose a race, or you have to miss a sleepover because of a recital the next morning. You can’t quit on a bad day.
In other words: You must make it to the finish line but that’s when you can choose not to do another race.