I set aside the blog post I intended to share this week in favor of instead sharing the transcript of an interview with David Goggins, who is the author of a book I’m currently running a contest to give away.
Everyone has difficulties to deal with in life. Mine are particularly challenging to me. This is a month I find especially tough. I find it both motivating and helpful to learn about how other people overcome the obstacles and troubles in their paths. On the surface of it, I couldn’t be more different from this man, yet his story resonates with me in ways that are hard to explain.
This is from a Goalcast interview, October 8, 2019.
David Goggins – Find Your Greatness
Ultra-endurance athlete David Goggins talks about his childhood struggles with racism and bullying, and says that when you find what truly drives you, nothing can stop your journey to greatness.
“I got called nigger every day of my life growing up, lived in a small town. The Klan headquarters at that time was about 20 minutes from where I lived. One of the high-ups in the KKK’s son sat behind me in two classes, so he called me nigger all the time. Got my first car, they spray painted “Nigger we’re going to kill you” on it. I was weighing like 297 pounds. I was just an insecure, scared kid. I had to make a change in my life.
“I was at a all-time low and I wasn’t going anywhere, and I was exactly what everybody said I was going to be, which is nothing. The best thing that happened to me, no one helped me. I had to figure out I wasn’t going to be a punk kid all my life. The only way I could turn it around was to suffer. I had to build calluses in my brain the same way I build calluses on my hands. I broke the Guinness Book of World Records for pullups a long time ago, but I failed at it twice. I did 67,000 pullups in trying to break this record. To do 4,030 pullups I had to do 67,000 for training for that.”
“What I realized is for me to become the man I wanted to become, I saw myself as the weakest person God ever created. I never blamed God for anything he did to me. I wanted to change that to be the hardest man ever created. Am I that? I don’t know, but you had to have a goal. My goal when I was sitting there not going to school, being bullied, having no self-esteem, my goal was the only person that’s going to turn this person around is me. I was so driven, I’m not going to say motivated because motivation’s crap. Motivation comes and goes. When you’re driven whatever’s in front of you will get destroyed.
“We live in an external world. Everything is you got to see it, touch it, it’s external. If you can for the rest of your life live inside of yourself, stop listening to people who are calling you fat, gay, transsexual, nigger, everything that makes no sense. All these insecure people putting their insecurities on you, you got to flush it out. You got to just be whoever the hell God, or whoever the hell you believe in, if you believe in nothing but yourself, I don’t care what it is. You got to take everything and throw it away. You have to believe in one thing and that is yourself.
“I’m not saying don’t believe in God or what you believe in, but right now for you to find greatness in yourself, you’re not going to find it by looking in a book or by even hearing me. I may give you the spark but you’ve got to go inside yourself to find it. How? That’s the question. How are you going to do that? Thicken your skin. Become more of a human being. Don’t be afraid of the reflection in the mirror because that’s all you can be afraid of. Once you overcome the reflection in the mirror, on the other side is greatness. That’s what people don’t understand.
“By me running I am callusing my mind. I’m not training for a race. I’m training for life. I’m training for the time when I get that 2:00 in the morning call that my mom is dead or something happens tragic in life, I don’t fall apart. I’m training my mind and my body and my spirit so it’s all one so I can handle what life is going to throw at me because the life I’ve lived, it throws a whole bunch at you. If you’re not physically and mentally prepared for that you’re just going to crumble and you’re good for nobody.
“In times of suffering what we do is we forget how hard we really are, because that’s what suffering is. Suffering’s a test. It’s all it is. Suffering is the true test of life. The beauty is remembering this young, dumb, what people called nigger, is now where I’m at today. That is when you finally get to that point for me, it’s forever lasting peace. Greatness isn’t running 200 miles at a time or doing 4,000 pullups or being a seal. Greatness is whatever the hell you’ve dreamed of in your own mind. You’ve got to foresee it. You got to first create this vision in your mind, and then that’s when I come into play.
“Once you create this vision in your mind it’s how am I going to get there now. We are all great. No matter if you think you’re dumb, no matter if you think you’re fat, no matter if you are fat, no matter if you’ve been bullied or no matter if you just got back from Iraq or Afghanistan and you have no legs or your arms or whatever man. We all have greatness. It’s just you got to find the courage. You got to find the courage to put your Bose headphones on and silence the noise out of this world and to find it.”
For those of you previously unfamiliar with Goggins, I thought it might be good to share some of his words with you. If you win an e-copy of the book, or you decide to buy it for yourself, please be aware that there are two versions. One is the original, the other is the “clean” version. The original contains the colorful language that is natural to the writer, particularly given his impoverished upbringing and 20-year military career. If you happen to win a copy, I will give you a choice between them.
If you have any comments you’d like to share about the interview you just read , please email me at email@example.com.