The Rich Roll Podcast: David Goggins Interview Notes

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David Goggins talks about his book, early life struggles, military career, indomitable mindset, life lessons, ultramarathon, and more on the Rich Roll Podcast.

David Goggins (@davidgoggins) is an Ultra-endurance athlete, Motivational Speaker, and Author. He is a retired United States Navy SEAL and former member of the United States Air Force Tactical Air Control Party. He previously held the record for the most number of pull-ups (4,030) in 24 hours. His self-help memoir, Can’t Hurt Me shares his story to inspire people to push past pain, destroy fear, and achieve their full potential.

Enjoy the takeaways of the conversation drafted concisely in this The Rich Roll Podcast David Goggins Interview Notes.

Key Takeaways

  • Writing his memoir was one of the hardest things that David Goggins has done.
  • David Goggins grew up a scared kid after his father physically and mentally abused him and his mother for years.
  • He moved out with his mother to Brazil, Indiana where he learned to take care of himself without bothering his mother.
  • David Goggins met Scott Guerin, an Air Force Para-rescue man when he was in junior high school and requested to stay with him for a week. He saw Scott as the ideal tough man who he wanted to emulate.
  • He failed his ASVAB test twice for the United States Air Force and once for the United States Navy.
  • He had copied all the way in school but he couldn’t do that with the ASVAB test. He crammed up years of schooling into 6 months where he got better at reading and writing. He finally cracked the ASVAB test.
  • David Goggins went through U.S. Navy BUD/S training three times before graduating.
  • He developed the mindset of being uncommon among the uncommon. It turned out to be both his strength and Achilles’ heel.
  • David Goggins had a stellar military career but he didn’t identify himself with the brotherhood.
  • Along the way, he learned to take time to celebrate the victories briefly before going back to work.
  • David Goggins believes in God and believes that he was perfectly put in place to tell a story.
  • His fear is not living up to the potential that he is capable of.
  • David Goggins maintains a daily journal that helps him fix things in life and keep getting better.
  • Whenever he faces a tough situation, to resolve his will, he reaches into the ‘Cookie Jar’ of mental fortitude to remind him of all the difficult things he faced in the past.
  • Motivation is not a sustainable fuel. It is a spark. Sustainable fuel is the relentless drive and obsession.
  • David Goggins wants people to change the dialogue they have in their heads.

David Goggins Quotes

  • “I get a lot of my strength from being introverted.”
  • “The one thing that made me who I am today is being vulnerable. It’s breaking myself down to the absolute rock bottom.”
  • “I have the ability to see the end before the beginning even begins.”
  • “Visualizing is my biggest tool of life.”
  • “If I put my 100 percent into what’s in front of me, I will destroy it.”
  • “Whenever I’m weak at something, whenever I’m scared of something, I master it.”
  • “The most important conversation is the one you have with yourself.”
  • “The greater the suffer, the greater the peace I’ve found.”
  • “The only thing that gets me mad nowadays is that so many people die with untapped potential because they think someone else is fucking better than them and they were not born with the greatest tools.”
  • “Nothing is a permanent fix man. That’s why I grind every day because nothing is permanent.”
  • “When people don’t understand you anymore, you’re in that spot of obsession and drive.”

Growing Up with Domestic Violence

David Goggins grew up with domestic violence at home where his father thrashed his mother and him. He was beaten trying to protect his mother.

  • David Goggins’ father was an insecure and alcoholic man.
  • His father didn’t care about anything but himself.
  • David Goggins would get beat up trying to protect his mother from his father’s violence.
  • He was mentally and physically broken at a young age from the ordeal.
  • He moved to Brazil, Indiana with his mother while he was 8 years old.
  • David Goggins had a stutter and learning disability but did not bother his mother with his issues.

Scott Guerin and ASVAB Tests

David Goggins met a former Air Force Para-rescue man named Scott Guerin. He was captivated by him and wanted to be a tough man like him.

  • David Goggins reached out to Scott Guerin and asked if he could stay with him for a week.
  • He hung out with Scott for a week and decided to become a pararescueman.
  • David Goggins failed the ASVAB test twice for the United States Air Force.
  • He had copied all through school and had to study to pass the ASVAB test.
  • He crammed years of schooling into 6 months and got better at reading and writing.
  • He cracked the ASVAB test in his third attempt.

United States Navy SEAL

David Goggins became a United States Navy SEAL after going through BUD/S training three times. He graduated with the BUD/S Class 235.

  • David Goggins decided not to quit and persevered to graduate from BUD/S training.
  • He reset his mind to get up every day at 4 am to suffer.
  • He got on to a concept called ‘Stealing Souls’ while he was in training to irritate the instructors by showing that he enjoyed the suffering.
  • David Goggins wanted to be uncommon among the uncommon and hence did not identify himself with part of the brotherhood of the U.S. Navy SEALs.
  • He went to the Ranger School and graduated from it with the distinction of enlisted “Top Honor Man.”
  • He had two heart surgeries which made him stay in training for a long time.
  • He deployed to Iraq once during his military career.

Life Lessons

David Goggins reset his mind and began to reap rewards for not quitting and persevering till the end. He learned a lot of lessons through the experience.

Celebrating Victories

  • David Goggins realized the need to celebrate victories along the way.
  • He would observe where he was at briefly and then go back to fighting.


  • David Goggins believes in God.
  • He believes that God has put him perfectly in place to tell a story.
  • His fear is being judged by God and knowing that he did not live up to his full potential.

Learning Everyday

  • David Goggins knows that nothing is a permanent fix and works on himself every day.
  • He maintains a journal every day to study himself and fix things in life.

Cookie Jar

  • David Goggins taps into the ‘Cookie Jar’ of mental fortitude during hard times to give him strength.
  • He remembers the dungeon where he comes from and pushes himself to keep going.
  • David Goggins torches complacency every day.

Obsession and Greatness

  • It takes a lot of time to become great.
  • There are no quick hacks or shortcuts to greatness.
  • Remember, it is a race against yourself and no one else.
  • Motivation is not a sustainable fuel.
  • Motivation is a spark.
  • To become great you have to be truly obsessed.
  • David Goggins says that when people don’t understand you anymore, you’re in the spot of obsession and drive.

Other Notes

  • David Goggins self-published his book to have control over his story.
  • Small towns narrow your mind and thinking. You need to get out to become open-minded and see a lot of things.
  • David Goggins visualizes the end before he even begins.
  • Some of David Goggins’ actions rubbed some people in the military in the wrong way.
  • Although he was cramping a lot and his body was giving up, he endured the pain to complete the Badwater Ultramarathon in 2013.
  • David Goggins listens to only people who talk about what they are doing. He doesn’t care about people reliving the glory days.
  • A lot of people misunderstand the Goggins is unhappy. They don’t realize that he is a focused driven being.
  • David Goggins says that you must go to war with yourself before finding peace.
  • David Goggins wants people to change the dialogue in their heads.