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David Goggins: the internet’s number one motivator

Words by Nathan Irvine

Real talk

While most self-proclaimed life coaches and motivators try to gently push you towards doing the right thing, David Goggins does not. The 46-year-old, retired Navy SEAL doesn’t sugar coat his advice. He doesn’t care about your feelings. And he certainly hasn’t got time for your excuses. With often profanity-ladened speeches conducted whilst performing some energetic feat, Goggins’ drill sergeant approach to giving you a kick up the backside is unique. But it’s incredibly effective.

Googins’ autobiography, the bestselling Can’t Hurt Me, gives you an incredible insight into the man of today. Battling obesity and with very little motivation to get out of a dead-end job as a pest controller, he managed to knuckle down and transform his life.

He had to overcome so much to get into SEAL team, such as injuries that forced him to do the dreaded Hell Week multiple times (most can’t even do it once), fear of water and dyslexia. The running theme throughout the book his willingness to work at something with complete focus to achieve the result he wanted. Since the military days he's set a world record for pull-ups, competed in ultramarathons and generally made himself a walking billboard for the art of perseverance. He’s walked the walk, now he’s talking the talk. And it’s this same focused energy he uses to stir up confidence when he posts on social media.

His posts aren’t for the faint-hearted, nor the weak-willed. But if you actually listen to what Goggins says, like more than one million people do every post, you’ll likely find something relatable. It’s less ‘life is a box of chocolates’ and more ‘life is a box of angry murder hornets and you’ve got fight your way out of the situation every day’. Or something like that.

Stay hard

Goggins talks a lot about making your mind bulletproof. He describes it as being at constant war with yourself. But overcome this ‘enemy’ and you can achieve all of your goals… it’s just going to take hard work. And this is what most people don’t want to hear. They want the shortcut to success, and they certainly don’t want to hear that they’re holding themselves back.

Take Goggins’ recent NSFW post. Laying on the floor whilst holding up kettlebells and performing flutter kicks – no mean feat in itself – Goggins delivers a rousing speech about why negotiating with yourself is “the root of all evil”. You can talk yourself out of anything. Or put things off that would make your life better, such as going for a run even when it’s raining. It was the first thing I saw through bleary eyes at 4.45am the other morning, and the reason I was out on my bike by 5am.

Being blunt and unapologetic with his delivery is maybe a little too “real” for a lot of people. But amongst the fiery rhetoric, David Goggins is trying to push you to be a better person. And that’s why he’s the best motivator out there.

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