Can't Hurt Me

10 practices to master your mind and unlock its potential, by Navy SEAL David Goggins:

1) Note down your bad cards

We all were dealt some bad cards. Make an inventory of all the factors you faced in your life that should limit you: traumatic events, insecurities, overprotective parents, sanitized life, etc.

2) Create an Accountability Mirror

Write all your bad cards, dreams, and goals on post-its and put them on your mirror. Take a good look at yourself: be rough, remove your ego, and own everything. Be aware of where you are, what you need to do to achieve your goals on a daily basis (micro-habits), and be ruthlessly self-accountable.

3) Develop a calloused mind

Write down everything you don't like or that makes you uncomfortable. Go through each item and progressively improve, one step at a time. The more you face uncomfortable situations, the more resilient and confident you'll become.

4) Aim for excellence

Pick a competitive situation you're facing and define the judges (teachers, coaches, bosses, clients). Find the standards they set as an ideal outcome and over-deliver: spend extra-time, do extra-more, focus deeper, and get noticed. No matter how hostile or indifferent your judges are, use the negativity to fuel you and earn their respect.

5) Visualize your successes

Set a new goal and imagine yourself achieving it. See it, feel it. Visualize the challenges that may come your way and solve them in your head. In moments of excruciating doubts and pain, you might need to have figured out answers to basic yet fundamental questions, such as: "Why are you doing this? What is driving you toward this achievement? Where does the darkness you’re using as fuel come from? What has calloused your mind?" The first four challenges should have already helped you answering them. Of course, visualization is no substitute to regular deliberate practice: you'll need both to succeed.

6) Find your cookie jar

Your cookie jar is your personal mental trophy room. Write down your achievements, the obstacles you've overcome, and how it felt like. When times get hard, have a cookie and let it fuel you to reach higher heights.

7) Remove the governor

Most people give up at around 40% of their maximum effort, but we can learn to push past our stopping point and tap into our reserve by gradually stretching our pain tolerance: "[...] get to the point where you are so tired and in pain that your mind is begging you to stop. Then push just 5 to 10 percent further." Don't dabble in self-limiting stories and don't quit when it gets difficult: ramp-up slowly to prevent injuries but keep pushing, because it's a mind game with yourself.

8) Schedule your day

We waste a lot of time multi-tasking. Scheduling our day is important to avoid that:

1) Take notes about your schedule for a week: "When do you work? Are you working nonstop or checking your phone? How long are your meal breaks? When do you exercise, watch TV, or chat to friends? How long is your commute? Are you driving?" Add descriptions and timestamps.

2) Build an optimal schedule during the second week by locking everything into 15 to 30-minute blocks. When you do something, only do one thing at a time and deeply focus. Schedule meal breaks, exercise, and rest. When you rest, don't check your email or social media.

3) Keep on taking notes to find some residual dead space.

9) Excelsior

Greatness is not a one-time thing: it's a constant pursuit. Find new challenges and keep griding. Staying complacent will only weaken your mind.

10) Document your failures

Each time you face failure, write down the things that went well, how you handled it, and how it affected your life. Write down your process, from preparation to execution, and how you were thinking. List down the things you can fix, study them, and try again as soon as possible. Combine all the practices we defined previously, and keep trying till you succeed!


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