Never Finished

David Goggins



Feb 3, 2023

Read time

30 minutes


Can’t Hurt Me, David Goggins’ smash hit memoir, demonstrated how much untapped ability we all have but was merely an introduction to the power of the mind. In Never Finished, Goggins takes you inside his Mental Lab, where he developed the philosophy, psychology, and strategies that enabled him to learn that what he thought was his limit was only his beginning and that the quest for greatness is unending.

The book's chapters each include an evolution. These are routines, drills, or exercises used in the military to improve abilities. In this book, these are the painful facts that we all should confront, and you may apply the ideas and techniques to go through any obstacles you may face.

Maximize Minimal Potential

Stop wallowing in your misery, and start moving forward.

The first chapter is the story of everything that happened after the release of David’s first book “Can’t Hurt Me”. It also included stories that were intentionally left out of the first book.

Not only was he invited as a guest, but he also received the renowned Americanism Award, which is given annually to someone who has shown a dedication to serving patriotism and supporting other veterans. It finally hit Goggins’ how much work it took to get there, the moment he received the reward. I can’t explain it in words you have to see it yourself here.

The second part of the chapter is about David going back to the house, where he grew up, on Paradise Road. Because facing the Devil himself—who is his father—is the only way to escape from hell, no other option exists.

However, when David met his father, he was warm and more affectionate than in the past. But after seeing Skateland, the location David was forced to work at and a lot of horrible memories took place, it came all back. He was disgusted and sickened to have let his guard down and enjoyed his father’s company, even for a few minutes. David departed the same day, intending never to come back.

Evolution 1: Distracting Injury

In the world of Emergency Medical Services (EMS), anything that tempts medical practitioners to forget their protocols is referred to as a distracting injury. This is why he is taught to be alert for those diversions since it might happen to anybody. It certainly is a life-or-death situation.

It’s so easy to get lost in the fog of life. Tragedy hunts us all, and in the event that causes suffering will linger longer than it should if you let it.

You have been preoccupied with bullshit for way too long. It’s time to switch your focus to the things that will slingshot you forward.

The longer it takes to process our pain the harder it is to reclaim our lives.

Merry Fucking Christmas

Use your negative experiences as motivation to reach great heights.

Goggins confesses that he despises the Christmas holiday. Because of how he was raised, it was simply another day on the calendar, no different from the others. He has developed the sentence “Merry Fucking Christmas” as self-deprecating humor. It's a funny way to accept shitty things that happen to you.

Many of us are chained to our own minds by long-gone demons that may even be dead. If we even manage to overcome everything, we fail to recognize or feel it because we refuse to talk about or admit what happened.

Denial is self-protective but also self-limiting. Accepting yourself completely, with all your flaws and mistakes included, enables you to grow, increase your possibilities, look for redemption, and discover your potential.

You can't be afraid to disappoint people. You have to live the life you want to live. Sometimes, that means being the one who can put a middle finger up to everyone in the room and be comfortable with that. That doesn’t mean you won’t or can’t be nervous or that it needs to all go smoothly.

Every action we take in life has a set time limit. All of our visions and dreams have expiration dates written in invisible ink. We must not waste time on crap because windows of opportunity can and do close. None of us know what's heading our way or when our window of opportunity may close.

Evolution No. 2: Make your own mixtape

Many people express their darkest experiences in a journal or diary in an effort to acquire some control over the things they overcame or are still fighting to overcome. Instead, David decides to record an audiotape of himself, and when he plays it back, he laughs at how ridiculous it sounds. His inner jury was not convinced.

Never waste any resources. In particular, the energy contained in strong, possibly harmful emotions like fear and hatred. Any bad emotion or incident that comes up in your head or is thrown your way, like a grenade, may be utilized as fuel to make you better after you understand how to handle them—how to mine them. You have to literally listen to yourself to get there, though.

The Mental Lab

A single second can make all the difference in your life.

After the unexpected attention that followed the release of “Can’t Hurt Me”, David gave himself a break from everything. But by doing this all his insecurities would drop on him again. He pictured himself as that twenty-four-year-old fat person he once was. He then explains how he learned to harness and channel all his mental horsepower to accomplish things he never thought were possible. Goggins calls this his Mental Lab.

In your Mental Lab, each physical workout becomes a test of mental fortitude. You don't need to care how your body looks when your mind is steel-plated. If you don't feel like you're good enough if your life lacks meaning and if 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 one short life on Earth.

Don’t be afraid of your weakness or doubt. Don’t be embarrassed and pretend it doesn’t exist. It surfaced for a reason, so use it to flip the dynamic of your life.

The ego is an amazing force. The more David heard about his own success, the more tempting it become to coast as if he’d finally arrived. But if you stop grabbing iron with your bare hands they will lose their callouses. Your mind works the same way. You have to fight to keep that mindset of getting up every day to get after it because it wants and will go away if you don't look out.

Evolution No. 3: One-Second Decision

Life, like Hell Week, is built on seconds that you must win, repeatedly. Don't be hyperaware of every second of your life, but if you are pursuing something that demands all you've got and means the world to you, that is often what it takes. Whether you are trying to lose weight or quit an addiction, your moments of weakness can be counted in seconds and you’ll need to be ready to win those seconds.

When you are in the grip of life and in danger of losing your shit, just stop and think for a couple of seconds. Take some deep breaths and flash to your future. If you fold what will happen next? This must happen in seconds. It helps to prepare with productive self-talk before you drop.

No runner goes through a difficult race unchallenged; regardless of how hopeless things seem or feel, you must maintain your baseline. Your baseline in medical school is to graduate and work as a doctor. David's initial goal was to join the Navy SEALs. The baseline aids in keeping your strengths and areas of excellence in mind so that when you must engage in something challenging for you, it doesn't become overwhelming.

Never quit when your pain and insecurity are at their peak

Don't stop when you are tired, stop when you are done.

In a toxic situation, you cannot keep moving blindly forward hoping it will end. It won’t, but you might

A Savage Reborn

This chapter includes a story about David’s childhood stutter and one motivational story about a 100-mile race he attended.

Evolution No. 4: Prisoner Mind

Controlled anger is a natural source of energy that can wake you the fuck up and help you realize that what you went through wasn't right. It can turn fear into bravery and it gives you a reason to fight when you have none.

We build walls around our minds for mental and emotional isolation, so we register not much emotionally.

Have the courage and mental endurance to do whatever it takes to start knocking down those walls. You are the warden of your life. Don't forget you hold the keys.

Disciple of Discipline

Focus on the task at hand instead of wondering whether the end of your suffering is near.

Once you've been cut deep you are forever vulnerable to bleeding. The same is true for the mental and emotional scars that we all carry with us the scars we cannot see but they affect us much more severely than physical scars.

When you're emotionally scarred, any order or mandate, can feel like a personal attack and oftentimes, to our own fault, we tune them out. 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.

Our generation is training kids to become full-fledged members of the Entitlement Nation which ultimately makes them easy prey for the lions amount us. Adults also fall victim to this. Even those of us who have accomplished a lot. Unexpected challenges are taken personally by us, and we are constantly outraged by the evil in the world.

The beauty of discipline is that it trumps everything, A lot of us are born with minimal talent, unhappy in our own skin and with the genetic makeup with which we are born. We grow up bullied or abused or diagnosed with learning disabilities Maybe you grew up so comfortable that you don't know how to push yourself.

Commit to becoming the person with a never-ending task list. By learning to maximize what you have, you will not only level up but also surpass those born with more natural talent, ability, and advantages than you. Discipline builds mental endurance and your insecurities become alarm bells reminding you that doing your chores to the maximum of your ability is a requirement for a life well-lived.

Evolution No. 5: Trained Humility

Your problems and your past aren't on anybody else's agenda. You may have a few people in your inner circle who care about what you're going through but for the most part, no one gives a shit because they are focussed on their own problems.

Every minute you spend feeling sorry for yourself is another minute not getting better, another morning you miss at the gym, and another evening wasted without studying.

Most people see the thankless tasks that must be completed in order to advance as burdens and not as opportunities.

Continued growth only comes when you are willing to be humble

The Art of Getting Hit In The Mouth

When something continually looms in the back of your mind like a taunting that's an alarm. It's a signal that you need to evaluate and address that issue, or it may become a lifelong fear. In the end, most of us stay in life’s shallow end because we fear the unknown. David means the people who have a secure job they hate instead of cutting ties and starting a business or applying anywhere else. If you stay where you've always been you will never learn if you have what it takes to venture into the deep water.

Too many leaders deflect blame and point fingers instead of calling themselves out, but when they do that, nothing gets fixed in the short or long term. Once a mistake has been made in the heat of battle the only thing that matters is dealing with the aftermath with a clear head. Figuring out where, when, and how things went wrong is important, but all evaluations must wait until the race is over.

In order to execute your willingness to succeed you will need to be able to perform without purpose. You've heard of purpose that magical missing ingredient crucial to landing a fulfilling career and building a happy life. What if there never was any such thing as purpose? What if it doesn't matter what you do with your time here? What if it's all arbitrary and life doesn't give a damn if you want to be happy? All you know is: You are yourself. You exist; therefore you complete what you start. This is the mentality we should all strive for when were stuck.

Evolution No. 6: Foxhole Mentality

Small minds and weak people kill big dreams. You might have clear goals and be working on yourself every day, but if you have the wrong folks around you, there's a good chance they could be sucking the life right out of you and making sure that you go nowhere. The collection of David’s closest friends, family, and crew members is his so-called ‘foxhole’. It's a military term for a fighting position. In life, it's your inner circle.

You want the husband or wife who when you snooze that alarm on a freezing mid-winter morning before dawn shakes you awake so you don't miss your training run. When you're dieting and whine about being bored of eating the same bland foods every day or when you say you're tired from all the late-night studying, they remind you of your progress and of all the hard work you have put in.

You want an inner circle who, when you're suffering on the trail, is inspired by bearing witness to your struggle. They know it is proof of your effort.

In order to populate your foxhole with the right people you must first know who you are as an individual. That means shaking off old belief systems that no longer serve you and the habits and lifestyle that you've outgrown.

The Reckoning

Surpass the normal standards, and set your own.

It's an unwritten natural law of the universe that you will be tested. You will get smacked in the face. It's inevitable for all of us. Yet we are not taught how to handle unexpected adversity. Nobody teaches us how to think, act, and move when disappointment, bad news, and disaster inevitably strike.

David says he is afraid a lot, but he has learned to flip fear by facing whatever it is head-on. At first, you are tentative, that's normal. But within all that is a mental en emotional growth factor that can lead to self-improvement.

You should be focused on being your best at all times. When you live that way, there is no time to donate to small-time people whose perspective is defined by their narrow minds.

Evolution No. 7: Self Leadership

We all owe it to ourselves to stand for something. Principles give us a foundation we can trust and build on as we continue to redefine what's possible in our own lives. Some will be put off by your dedication and level of effort. Others will call you obsessed or think that you've gone crazy. When they do, smile and say, “I'm not crazy, I'm not you”.

Don't walk around aimlessly trying to find purpose or fit in. Mine your core principles and come up with our own oath to self. Make sure it is aspirational and that it challenges you to strive and achieve, and live by it every day.

Play Until The Whistle

Don’t settle for low-level success.

No matter the variables, your new 100 percent is out there waiting for you to find it. The thing is that most people don't want to. Because whenever you're trying to find your new anything, it means you're not who you used to be and that can be depressing enough to give up the search.

With every unfortunate turn in life, no matter how heavy the weight, you have to be committed to pushing back against that pressure with effort. No matter your age abilities disabilities or responsibilities we must stay committed to finding our new benchmarks. Because not only dos that keep your mind engaged and your demons at bay, you might actually achieve the things the old you never could have conceived.

Evolution 8: Greatness Is Attainable

Most people live their whole lives without ever contemplating what it means to be great. They put all the greats on a pedestal but think of themselves as mere mortals. And that’s exactly why greatness eludes them. They turn it into some untouchable plane, impossible for almost anybody to reach, and it never even crosses their mind to aim for it.

Just as words can be redefined, never doubt that we can redefine ourselves. It can feel impossible at times because we live in a world filled with arbitrary boundaries and fixed social lines.

Wringing Out The Soul

Greatness is within your reach – if you’re willing to work for it.

Back in SEAL training, Goggins loved when people froze up and quit. I felt it elevated me in some way, but that was ego-driving immaturity and poor leadership, he says. These days, he considers it his business to make everyone better, no matter the job or situation.

A lot of people let a realization based on age, gender, and ethnicity limit their future. They lose their edge and scale back their ambitions and expectations to protect themselves. They stop and quit pushing themselves into uncomfortable environments and challenging situations.

The road to success is rarely a straight line. For David, it was more like a maze. Many times when he thought he cracked the code, he hit a wall.

David closes the book with the following paragraph:

“I never needed to be the hardest motherfucker in the world. That became a goal because I knew it would bring out my best self. This is what this fucked-up world needs from all of us: to evolve into the very best versions of ourselves. That's a moving target and it isn't a one-time task. it is a lifelong quest for more knowledge, more courage more humility, and more belief. Because when you summon the strength and discipline to live like that, the only thing limiting your horizons is you”.