Notes & Quotes: Never Finished by David Goggins

The following are my favorite quotes from David Goggins's Never Finished: Unshackle Your Mind and Win the War Within.

  1. The way we speak to ourselves in moments of doubt is crucial, whether or not the stakes are high. Because our words become actions, and our actions build habits that can coat our minds and bodies with the plaque of ambivalence, hesitancy, and passivity and separate us from our own lives. If any of this sounds familiar, grab your phone and record your inner dialogue as soon as you wake up. Don't hold back. Spill all your dread, laziness, and stress into the mic. Now listen to it. Nine times out of ten, you won't like what you hear. It will make you cringe. You wouldn't want your girlfriend or boyfriend, your boss, or your kids to hear your unfiltered weakness. But you should.
  2. I looked at each day as an opportunity to mine the negativity that had colonized my brain and became fascinated by the power of the mind and how it can work for us and against us.
  3. If you don't feel like you're good enough, if your life lacks meaning and time feels like it's slipping through your fingers, there is only one option. Recreate yourself in your own Mental Lab. Somewhere you can be alone with your thoughts and wrestle with the substance of what and who you want to be in your one short life on earth. If it feels right, create an alter ego to access some of that dark matter in your mind. That's what I did. In my mind, David Goggins wasn't the savage motherfucker who accomplished all the hard shit. It was Goggins who did that.
  4. Mental toughness and resilience fade if they aren't used consistently. I say it all the time: you are either getting better, or you're getting worse. You're not staying the same.
  5. To put it into plain text: when your self-worth goes away and you don't deal with or accept your demons, they will continue to own you, and you will become a bottom feeder.
  6. When a half-assed job doesn't bother you, it speaks volumes about the kind of person you are. And until you start feeling a sense of pride and self-respect in the work you do, no matter how small or overlooked those jobs might be, you will continue to half-ass your life.
  7. Allow discipline to seep into your cells until work becomes a reflex as automatic as breathing. With discipline as your medium, your life will become a work of art.
  8. From then on, whenever I had a purpose or a task in front of me, I didn't consider it done until I'd completed it to the best of my ability. When that's the way you live your life, you no longer need a task list or an Accountability Mirror because when you see the grass is high, you cut the grass right then. If you're lagging behind in school or work, you study your ass off or stay late and take care of business. When it came time to lose one hundred pounds to become a SEAL, I knew exactly what I had to do. I had to tap back into being a disciple of discipline, but I didn't need a task list. Writing it down would have only cut into my workout time, and I didn't have a single minute to spare.
  9. People who feel sorry for themselves are obsessed with their own problems and their own fate. Is that really much different than the greedy and egotistical people who want to feel better than everybody else?
  10. Whether it is a seven-mile run or a 240-mile run, we all know what it's like to bargain with ourselves to avoid having to do the very thing we said we would. We say we're overworked, overwhelmed, or just over it entirely. I never give in to that because I know there are a lot of people out there who do not have that choice to make. They cannot run at all and wish like hell they could.
  11. Once you find out who the fuck you are, the world will start delivering you care packages filled with opportunities that will fuel your quest.
  12. When you evolve, your inner circle must evolve with you. Otherwise, you may subconsciously halt your own growth to avoid outpacing and losing contact with the people who mean a lot to you but may not be able to hang with you.
  13. No matter what life serves me, I say, "Roger that." Most people think "Roger that," simply means, "Order received." However, in the military, some people infuse ROGER with a bit more intention and define it as, "Received, order given, expect results." When used that way, it is so much more than an acknowledgment. It's an accelerant. It bypasses the over-analytical brain and stimulates action because, in some situations, thinking is the enemy.
  14. Most of his work was hidden, but it is within that unseen work that self-leaders are made. I suspect the reason he was capable of exceeding any and all standards consistently was because he was dedicated at a level most people cannot fathom in order to stay ready for any and all opportunities.
  15. Think about how much information is out there on the internet. Any place you want to build your skills, from boot camp to Harvard Business School, from EMT certification to an engineering degree, is described online in granular detail. You can study the prerequisites and start on the coursework before you are even admitted. You can prepare as if you are already there so when the time comes and you do land that opportunity, you are ready to smash it. That's what a self-leader does, no matter how busy their lives are. Not because they are obsessed with being the best, but because they are striving to become their best.
  16. Setting an example through action rather than words will always be the most potent form of leadership, and it's available to all of us. You don't have to be a great public speaker or have an advanced degree. Those things are fine and have their place, but the best way to lead a group is to simply live the example and show your team or classmates, through dedication, effort, performance, and results, what is truly possible.
  17. My oath to self: I live with Day One, Week One mentality. This mentality is rooted in self-discipline, personal accountability, and humility. While most people stop when they're tired, I stop when I am done. In a world where mediocrity is often the standard, my life's mission is to become uncommon amongst the uncommon.
  18. No matter what I'm doing or which arena I'm engaging in, I will always aim for greatness I know that we are all mere mortals and greatness is possible for anyone and everyone if they are willing to seek it out in their own soul.