“Roger that.” — David Goggins
I listened to David Goggins’s audiobook while running in the early mornings, chasing my shadows off trees, hopping across puddles, leaping through mud and leaves and snowy trails, echoing deep in the silent wilderness. Watching my breath, rolling out in the cold, before fading away.
His audiobook chapters follow with an informal conversation between him and Adam Skolnick (podcast/book combination), their laughter and wisdom weaving throughout the original text.
Goggins was raised in darkness. Seeking himself while surviving a childhood of small-town racism, familial abuse, neglect, and the brutal death of his step-father.
To create this book, he needed to return to his past, remembering his vulnerabilities in trauma. His story, on the surface, seems superhuman. An ultra-endurance champion, a survivor of three hell weeks (while duct-taping his broken legs to run), a Navy Seal, a pull-up world record holder. Losing over a hundred pounds in fewer than three months and smashing through Army Ranger school and running long distances with heart defects and stretching through intense adrenal depletion.
He may appear like an outlier, an anomalous champion, but he had suffered for many years before he could reclaim his mind. He had to sink into icy waters that drowned him down into an endless descent — down into a place where only he lived, where only he could escape, gasping, choking to touch the dim light surface of air.
He had to look at himself in the raw truth, willing to do what he hated until he could love his own suffering. Then through that pain, he could find peace. Callusing his mind by grinding through daily challenges, working toward self-mastery. Not shying away from the shadows, which twisted round his past, almost swallowing him whole.
Most people settle into mediocrity. Forever on the sidelines of what they can become. They work to achieve their goals and then they sit back with a sparkly reward, complacent, doing merely what feels suitable enough for passing, for idle praise and rationalized acceptance. Self-satisfied enough to share their accomplishments on social media but their prizes are not much more important than a fleeting pleasure before they fall back into normalcy again.
Goggins believes that one should look squarely at themselves in the “accountability mirror” and penetrate through any rainbow delusions of comfort. People should tell themselves the motherfucking truth and not hide from who they are.
Nothing is ever finished. The reward for hard work is the hard work itself. One must always test their minds fully, grinding through the spit and blood and shit. They must use their time wisely, uncivilized in their raw, rugged pursuit. Creating who they are through self-imposed struggle, challenging their resolve, grappling with what exists beyond the limits of their exhaustion. Becoming more every day until their last breath. Dying whole.