Retired Navy SEAL and ultra-marathon runner David Goggins
is back for the new year, imparting wisdom and motivation for anyone focused on self-improvement. In a recent podcast with Dr. Andrew Huberman, Goggins discussed willpower, weight loss, past injuries, and his career as a smoke jumper.
“For some reason, God put me in almost every fucked up situation on planet Earth. So when I talk to people, it’s not sugar-coated because I’m not saying it from, ‘I was 175 pounds my whole life.’ I don’t say much to those people.”
When it comes to motivation, few voices can inspire like David Goggins. Once addicted to food and tipping the scale at 300 pounds, Goggins lost the weight in a three-month time frame before embarking on his journey as a Navy SEAL
. He routinely appears on esteemed podcasts such as the Joe Rogan
Experience, and most recently, The Huberman Lab, with neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Huberman.
Although he could ratchet down his training routine at 48, Goggins lives a discipline-themed existence
, running over 10 miles a day for years. He has encountered several health setbacks, but they haven’t stopped him from living a life full of adventure.
David Goggins on Willpower: ‘If You Don’t Have That Little Flame, You’re Done, I Can’t Light It For You’
David Goggins emphasizes that he can’t help or offer guidance to people who don’t want to change or lack the motivation or willpower needed to make a difference in their lives.
“Maybe you’re a piece of shit, maybe you want to be nobody, maybe you’re happy with exactly where you are in life because obviously you are, maybe you don’t have the determination to be better than somebody who you are. If you want to live with that, I’ll support you in that.
If you’re good with being who you are, every day you wake up and every day you smell like shit because you can’t wash your body well and your skin is messed up because your health is so bad. You can’t put your clothes on, you need clothes. I needed help wiping my ass. That makes you feel good? Nothing I can say to you.”
“If every day you wake up, see people are haunted but they like horror films because they keep watching the same fucking movie. I don’t like horror films but a lot of people like horror films. I don’t say much to them. I say exactly what I said to you right there. Because I was once you, I didn’t like horror films so I changed it,” said David Goggins.
According to David Goggins, there is no ‘hack’ for willpower, emphasizing that ‘something in you has to wake up.’
“Their will is so small and they don’t have any and you can’t give it to them. This is what I’m talking about right now. This isn’t a hack. This has to be in you. Something in you has to wake up.”
Goggins specified that if someone doesn’t have a ‘little flame’ of willpower, they are ‘done’ and he can’t help them.
“Usually, the only person that can wake it up is you. Sometimes you can read a David Goggins book and I was all this shit and a lot more of fucked up but if you don’t have a little flame, just that barely — you’re done. I can’t light it for you. That’s the harsh reality of this life.”
“You have to explore, examine the insides of yourself and what do you really want out of life. Your friend and a lot of people out here just don’t fucking want it. Guess what, have fun with your life.”
Despite two heart surgeries and multiple knee surgeries. Goggins still runs daily, which he credits to willpower alone.
“Two heart surgeries, multiple knee surgeries and after every knee surgery they say you’re not going to run again and I’m fine with that. There’s no running up here bro [points to his head]. This is what it’s all about. That’s what they lost. ‘What if you can’t run?’ Don’t give a fuck. It was never about running. Why do you think I run? It’s the worse thing I hate doing it more than anything, hence the willpower.”
“Think about it, every day I wake up, I don’t just run a mile, two miles, it’s the one thing I hate the most to do and I do it like I love it, 250, 260, 270, 300-mile runs at one time! No sleep. Every step when I get to – think about this, I get to the fucking start line cussing at Jennifer. ‘Why the fuck am I here I hate this shit.’ After 70-something hours of running, every fucking question I had was answered.”
For four months out of the year, Goggins smoke jumps to put fires out and mentioned that he loses millions of dollars every summer as a result.
“For me to be who I am, so when I go smoke jump, I smoke jump three to four months out of the year, sometimes five,” said Goggins. “Basically, you jump into fires, not into them, but you jump by fires that people can’t get to. Right out of planes, I parachute, it’s all parachuting, you parachute out of airplanes and you fight the fire. Sometimes you and four other guys, maybe eight other guys and gals and you’re putting this fire out.”
“I lose millions of dollars every summer to do this. It blows peoples’ minds. I’m breathing soot, my knees are jacked up, hitting the ground, hurting, whatever. Talking to normal people, they’ll never get it so I don’t even explain it to them. This is what I call capped success.”
Goggins labeled willpower as a ‘very perishable skill’ which he described as a ‘haunting force’ that keeps him going.
“This is a very very very perishable skill, this willpower that you have. Because I do have a willpower that I have never seen in anyone of my life. It’s a haunting force that just keeps me going. I know that that is my strength.”
This wasn’t David Goggin’s first time discussing willpower, training, and smoke jumping. In an Instagram post, Goggins responded to fans who argued that he trains too much. Goggins explained that running seven days a week works best for him, stressing, “I’m not crazy, I’m just not you.”
Given David Goggins’ unique relationship with discipline, he continues to offer valuable insight for those in pursuit of self-improvement. While he describes his willpower as a ‘haunting force,’ he accepts that it’s his greatest strength in life.
Watch the full video from the Huberman Lab YouTube channel below: