The Cure to Laziness (David Goggins)

David Goggins running a marathon
David Goggins doing what he does best.

David Goggins may be the least lazy human being on the planet. As a former Navy SEAL, world-recorder for most pull-ups in a 24-hour period, and guy who runs super marathons in his free time (100+ miles!), Goggins is uniquely qualified to feature in this article. To be sure, this is not his first feature, nor will it be his last. In another article, I shared my summary reading notes from his best-selling autobiography Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds. David Goggins is a beast of an athlete and as old school as they come. Today I’ve transcribed a YouTube clip in which he eschews all excuses and spurs on people to get after it — especially useful if we find ourselves today in need of motivation.

The most important conversation you will ever have in your life is the one you have with yourself. You wake up with it. You walk around with it. You go to bed with it. Eventually, you’re going to act on it, whether good or bad.

David Goggins


If you’re not wiling to go in there and face yourself, you’re not going to find anything. You’re going to live right here on surface, man, right here on surface. So if there is an ending to this world and there is somewhere to go, and there is a judgment. You’re going to get there and you might see a chart, and that chart may tell you who the f**k you should have been. And now you get the rest of your life to think about that. Man, I could have lived a much better life if I just would have suffered a little bit more. If I just would have realized that I had so much more but fear and the 40% and living here [lower level] versus living here [higher level]–being afraid–stopped me.

Your biggest enemy–the most important conversation you will ever have in your life is the one you have with yourself. You wake up with it. You walk around with it. You go to bed with it. Eventually, you’re going to act on it, whether good or bad. That’s why the whole thing about this book I have is about you. It is about you. It is strictly about you finding who you are. So many people die, live 100 years, never f**king know who they are. Never know who they are. You have to look in that mirror and know there’s so much more in here man. Because I can literally right now be a 300-pound guy spraying for cockroaches still to this day if I did not look in this mirror and say there has to be more to this. This can’t be it. And then be willing to go into it, dive deep into it, and give all I have to find it. So that’s what all that is about.

Let’s say there’s 10 people in this room. And we’re all mediocre. But I’m the best of the mediocre people. I now think I’m great. I’m great. We surround ourselves with people that make us feel great, that tell us what we want to hear. The second we put ourselves among the uncommon people, we don’t like that feeling. That challenge and feeling of that person that’s waking up at 3:30 in the morning saying,”Hey, put your s**t on, we’re going for a run.” We don’t like that challenge. We like that person who says “Hey, I don’t feel good today.” And they say “It’s OK, brother, take the day off. We’ll get a pizza and watch the game.”

We like that. We love that feeling. Why? Because you understand, man, we’re good bro. We don’t want motherf**kers like this who say “No, get your f**king s**t on, stop being a punk.” We don’t want that person constantly challenging our weaknesses. We want that person who’s constantly making us feel nice and good and secure in ourselves. That’s the mediocrity of life. We want to be the best among the average people.

People wonder how do you stay hungry all the time? Because after I accomplish something, I don’t sit back like a lot of guys who graduate BUDS [Navy SEAL training], who graduate this, graduate that. They get comfortable. They wonder why I’m getting weak, man. I lost my edge. What’s going on? Because once you hit the top of the f**king mountain, guess what happens? “I’m good!” So you wonder why you’re falling down now because once you reach the top of the mountain, you got to build a f**king ‘nother one. That’s mediocrity. There’s a lot of people in mediocrity who have a nice resume, but they’re one-timers man. They hit a one-time deal. They busted it open, got a lot of money, but they’re good. You’re mediocre now man. What are you f**king doing today, tomorrow, the next f**king day.

That’s why I don’t listen to theorists. I don’t listen to all that bulls**t. I listen to a motherf**ker who’s like this, man: “What’s wrong man?” “I’m f**king tired, dude.” “Why are you tired?” “Because tomorrow, I get to do the f**king s**t again, man. Whatever the s**t is that made me f**king nauseous and sick to my stomach, that made me hurt. There’s no ending!” And that’s the person I listen to. That’s the person who’s gained knowledge. You gain knowledge through suffering. And on the other end of suffering is a world that very few have ever seen. It’s a beautiful world because that’s where you find yourself.

You don’t find yourself in over here. You find yourself on the other end. Like the 100-mile race I was on where I ran it for 24-hours. I found myself on the other end of that f**king race. That 19-hours, I found “Wow, this is a whole ‘nother f**king world out here that I’ve never even [seen].” The world is in your mind! And that’s what all that mediocrity is about. The mind has the tactical advantage over you at all times. At all times of your life, the mind has the tactical advantage over you. It knows what you’re afraid of. It knows your insecurities. It knows your deep, dark lies. And it starts to push you away from that. It pushes you in the direction that is comfortable. The mind controls everything.

So what I realized was that when I was growing up and I was 300 pounds and I got all fat, and I got all insecure, I realized that my mind kept taking me in this direction. When things got uncomfortable to me, when I was facing my fears, my mind says “Oh, no. We have the tactical advantage. We need to get you, separate you, from this feeling.” Your life’s all about feelings. We want the happy feeling. We don’t want the feeling of this sucks. If, in that moment, you can answer those f**ked up questions, and you are now in charge of your brain versus your brain ruling you, that’s where all that stuff comes from. So the 40% rule is all of that. You get to 40%, your brain says “We’re done. Let’s roll.” This is starting to get painful. This is uncomfortable.

So you sit down. You have to figure out ways, and every body is different. We all have these things about, you know, five steps to this, and four steps to this. There’s a lot more than that. That’s all bulls**t. It’s a practice–it’s a habit. So if you know that at 40% I’m feeling pain. At 40% I’m feeling pain, that’s where the 40% rule kicks in. Now it starts. OK, I’m feeling pain. My mind is saying all this s**t to me. It’s saying get out of here. “Run. Flee.” The fight or flight kicks in. “OK, we’re done, we’re not good enough.” It starts telling you all these things. You start to believe it because the mind controls all.

This is the time where you have to gain control back of your mind and say OK, let me see if I can go 45%. Once you start giving yourself more and more and more hope and start realizing “[This is] OK.” The mind starts to think what are you doing? We’re supposed to be going right, and we’re going left. You start then controlling your mind. You start finding more in yourself. Then it goes from 40% to a lot further than that. That’s the start of it though. Get to the spot where your mind is saying stop. Wherever that is, you got to get there first. And that’s when that s**t starts to work for you. You got to control yourself in that moment.


  1. That’s it bro. I know I’m avoiding my fears. I don’t want to suffer, so I keep getting comfortable, avoiding hard stuff. Fu** it! I’m better than that, thanks for the advice!

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