“I don’t stop when I’m tired. I stop when I’m done.”-David Goggins
Jesse Itzler’s 2015 bestselling memoir “Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet” chronicles the author’s attempt to physically and mentally break away from ordinary by inviting a former Navy SEAL to live and train with him over a month. What follows is a series of daily tests that push Itzler to the limits of human endurance. From pre-dawn runs in freezing temperatures to hand blistering pull-up marathons, SEAL (as he is referred to throughout the book) displays a mental and physical toughness that seems, at times, to be beyond comprehension. Referred to simply as “SEAL” throughout the book, it has recently been revealed that Itzler’s companion and sometimes tormentor was none other than David Goggins.
Following the release of Itzler’s memoir, multiple appearances on the Joe Rogan podcast, and the release of his autobiography,“Can’t Hurt Me” Goggins has received a great deal of attention in the last couple of years. But David Goggin’s feats and displays of mental fortitude are anything but new. From the start, Goggins seemed born to a life offering two options: be crushed under circumstances or become a man willing and able to meet them. Goggins choose the latter. Years of childhood abuse, racism, and poverty that would have broken most men instead created an unconquerable drive in Googins, whose list of accomplishments is enough to get even the most sloth amongst off our asses and into the fight:
- After two failed attempts at passing the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, Googins persisted, passed the ASVAB, and served in the United States’ Air Force Tactical Air Control Party.
- After completing his Air Force commitment, a disillusioned Goggins abandoned a career in pest control, overcame obesity and a congenital heart defect, and aspired to join the most elite fighting force in the world: the US Navy SEALS.
- Despite two previous failed attempts, Googins completed the infamously difficult BUD/S training and graduated as a Navy SEAL with Class 235 in 2001. After being assigned to SEAL Team 5, Goggins later completed a tour of duty in Iraq. In addition to becoming a SEAL, Googins also completed Army Ranger school in 2004.
- Although he had never completed a marathon, Goggin’s entered the San Diego One Day in 2005, and after running 101 miles in just over 19 hours, qualified for the famed Badwater Ultramarathon.
- Googins has since completed multiple ultramarathons including the Infinitus 88k, Furnace-Creek 508, and 48-hour National Championship. In the process, Googins has raised millions of dollars for charitable organizations-most notably, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
Any one of these accomplishments is enough to qualify David Goggins as one of the most inspiring, persistent, and driven men of our generation. But it is not his accomplishments, but the spirit behind them, that places Googins at the top of our list of Featured Alphas. Goggins’s ability to overcome a painful and abusive past, to not concede to physical, mental, or societal limitations, to abandon a lackluster existence, and to persist through failure, disappointment, and loss convey fighting spirit that we can all aspire to. Shrugging off fanfare and self-promotion, Googins has done all this for no other reason than to reach the absolute pinnacle of his potential and, more importantly, to give back to us in the process.
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