David Goggins is a former Navy SEAL and USAF Tactical Air Control Party member who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is also a world-renowned ultramarathon runner and triathlete. But what makes David so remarkable isn’t just his accomplishments in the military or the fitness world; it’s his incredible story of overcoming adversity.
In this story, we will take a closer look at David’s life story and showcase how he became one of the fittest men on Earth. By understanding the steps he took to become successful, we can better apply his principles to our own lives and hopefully achieve our own slice of greatness.
With that said, if you’re ready to learn about the mindset of one of the hardest men alive, let’s dive right in to this David Goggins Story.
How It Began | David Goggins Story
David Goggins’ beginnings were challenging, starting in the home. He endured a violent and controlling father, a family divorce, and poverty, all by the age of 8 years old. These adversities ended up manifesting as problems such as memory and attention issues as well as a stutter.
Despite have a rough home life in his youth, David had longed for a fresh start after he moved to Indiana with his mother and brother. He longed for a place where he felt safe. Nevertheless, Goggins did not anticipate the pain he would suffer during his first days at school, where he would eventually get bullied because of his unique appearance, and because and he didn’t know how to read.
Goggins didn’t appreciate the bullying, and as a result, he began skipping classes in order to escape the ridicule that was constantly lobbed at him by his classmates.
Needless to say, Goggin’s youth was not filled with sunshine and rainbows. It was a very tough and challenging way to grow up. Fortunately, those hardships didn’t break him, and instead made him stronger in the long run.
Once Goggins completed his schooling, he gave the military a shot. Unfortunately, after a failed attempt to join the Air Force’s as an elite pararescue team member due to sickle cell anemia, he became defeated for a very long time. But, Goggins persisted.
Despite the diagnosis, he refused to give up. “I wanted to feel something besides defeat. I wanted to just go the distance,” David said.
Eventually, he made his way into the Air Force, but as part of a different squad. This time around he made the cut to become part of the United States Air Force Tactical Control Party. But after a servicing for 5 years, he left the Air Force.
From a Nobody to a Somebody
After his 5 year stint in the Air Force, David found himself barely able to make ends meet. He worked as an exterminator, ate tons of junk food, and gained lots of wait. David’s life started to spiral in a downward direction and he began living an uninspired life.
Fortunately, David watched a documentary about the Navy SEALS one day, and found something to be inspired by. The challenge of becoming a seal, and having the mental and physical toughness of the program participants gave David something to aspire towards.
That show serendipitously inspired Goggins to want to do more with his life. It inspired him to strive to become something more, something great. He got tired of being a nobody, and watching the lives of great people on TV.
So, in was in that sudden moment, that he had found the motivation that would help him go one to lose more than 100 pounds in under three months. He found the fire and energy to get fit enough to apply for the program.
He reflects that “It made me reflect on my fears, my insecurities. I saw real men who were overcoming adversity.”
In order to get in shape, David joined a gym. Despite his intentions, he was unable to run more than a quarter mile on his first day. As a result of his defeat, Goggins returned home crying and turning to food for emotional support. Despite that, this man wasn’t the same as the person who was unmotivated to grow.
He began to cycle and heavily restructured and restricted his diet and successfully brought his weight down to be able to apply for the Navy SEALS within 3 months.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The Turning Point
David Goggins held strong to his commitment and entered Navy SEAL training. Despite tremendous progress and growth in the program, he particularly struggled with the infamous “hell week”, an intense week-long training session where SEAL candidates are forced to move with minimal sleep and food.
Despite failing this grueling week the first time around due to a case of pneumonia, and the second time due to a stress fracture injury, he responded by completing two successful “hell weeks” in the same year. This shattered his limiting beliefs around his performance abilities and further fueled his progress.
This was the lightbulb moment for Goggins where he realized he needed a strong mental toughness in able to maintain a strong physical toughness. He dedicated himself to training both the body and the mind from this point forward.
His career in the military lasted for two decades and he received the “Top Enlisted Man” award for his efforts.
Related: David Goggins Quotes
Challenges Along the Way
One of the most challenging moments in Goggin’s life was when a helicopter, containing several of Goggins’ close friends inside, crashed during Operation Red Wings in 2005.
He used this devastating tragedy as fuel to drive him further. He raised money by long-distance running and donated the proceeds to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which grants educational scholarship opportunities to students who had lost their parents in the special operations sector. He has raised over 2 million dollars for charity.
David became an ultra-marathoner as a way to add momentum to his tragedies. The Badwater 135 is a grueling 135-mile run beginning in Death Valley, 282 feet below sea level, and ending at an elevation of 8,374 feet. To add to the excitement, it takes place in July, when Death Valley is at its hottest.
His qualification race was a one-day 100-mile run in San Diego, which he completed in 19 hours with little preparation. Upon finishing, he spent an entire year training for the Badwater 135 as hard as he could. Taking fifth place, he completed it in 30 hours.
He would next face challenges with his personal health. When David’s doctor examined him for a routine checkup in 2010, he found a birth defect called an atrial septal defect. Due to a hole between two of the atrial chambers of the athlete’s heart, the organ wasn’t able to operate at its maximum capacity. He was also struggling with progressive muscle weakness and wasting.
In order to save his life, David began to work intensely on rehabilitating himself. With consistent daily stretching, his body began to heal itself and realign. His heart also had time to restore and grow stronger.
According to Goggins, his success is attributed to his “day one, week one” mentality. Every day he lives as though it was the first day of his new job. According to him, even though this mindset rubs people the wrong way, it works and makes him show up completely and with integrity.
He has also learned to never get comfortable with his accomplishments. He has stayed hungry for more and believes that if you are not continually challenging yourself, then you will never be satisfied with life.
David Goggins states that every day is an opportunity for achievement, and he doesn’t feel complete unless he has strived for that. His discipline is internally motivated, and unshakeable by any external standards. He aims to hold his standards higher than others do in order to achieve what others deem is impossible.
One of the most important things that David Goggins learned over his years of training and competing is the importance of mental toughness. This was a lesson that he learned early on when he first joined the Navy SEALs, but it has stuck with him throughout his life. Goggins believes that strength of mind is what sets people apart from each other in their ability to accomplish goals and achieve success.
David Goggins story is an inspiration for all of us who are looking to challenge ourselves mentally and physically, and change our lives in the process. He has now shared his story with many people around the world and has inspired an entire community of individuals to challenge and push themselves to achieve the impossible.
These days, David Goggins also shares his message with people all over the world through his motivational speaking business, where he uses his life stories to inspire audiences everywhere to get off their butts and get disciplined, to push their limits, and most importantly, to stay hard.
With that being said, we hope you learned a few of those strong life lessons from this David Goggins story. Namely, that if you want to achieve our full potential, we have to rid our lives of laziness and stop making excuses for our lot in life.
PS – If you enjoyed this David Goggins Story of success and hardcore persistence and overcoming adversity, then you’ll love this inspiring article on the true story of Rudy.