Never Finished: Unshackle Your Mind and Win the War Within by David Goggins.

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Self-mastery is an unending process. Your job is NEVER  FINISHED!

 In Never Finished: Unshackle Your Mind and Win the War Within, David Goggins takes readers 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.

Your greatness is not tied to any outcome. It is found in the valiance of the attempt.

Favorite Takeaways – Never Finished: Unshackle Your Mind and Win the War Within.

  • SITUATION: Your horizons have been limited by societal and self-imposed barriers.
  • MISSION: Fight through resistance. Seek unknown territory.  Redefine what’s possible.
  • CLASSIFIED: The real work is unseen. Your performance matters most when nobody is watching.

EvolutionEach chapter in the book contains Evolutions

In the military, evolutions are drills, exercises, or practices meant to sharpen your skills. In this book, they are hard truths we should all face, and philosophies and strategies you can use to over-come whatever is in your way—and excel in life.

Levels of Belief

There are two levels to belief. There’s the surface level, which our coaches, teachers, therapists, and parents love to preach. “Believe in yourself,” they all say, as if the thought alone can keep us afloat when the odds are against us in the battle of our lives. But once exhaustion sets in, doubt and insecurity tend to penetrate and dissipate that flimsy brand of belief.


Then there’s the belief born in resilience. It comes from working your way through layers of pain, fatigue, and reason, and ignoring the ever-present temptation to quit until you strike a source of fuel you didn’t even know existed. One that eliminates all doubt, makes you certain of your strength and the fact that eventually, you will prevail, so long as you keep moving forward. That is the level of belief that can defy the expectations of scientists and change everything. It’s not an emotion to be shared or an intellectual concept, and nobody else can give it to you. It must bubble up from within.

Taking Personal Responsibility

All of us are dealt with circumstances in life we don’t have any power to control. Sometimes, those things are painful; occasionally, they are tragic or inhuman. Reality can be a motherfucker when all of your excuses are stripped away and you are exposed for exactly who and what you have become, but the truth can also be liberating.

Evolution 1: Distracting Injury #DistractingInjuries #NeverFinished

 A distracting injury, in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS), EMS universe, is anything that entices a medical professional to forget their procedures. It can happen to anyone, which is why we are trained to remain alert to those distractions. It truly is a matter of life or death.

Forgiving Curve

It’s so easy to get lost in the fog of life. Tragedy hunts us all, and any event that causes suffering will linger longer than it should if you let it. Because our sad stories enable us to grade ourselves on a forgiving curve. They give us latitude and justification to stay lazy, weak-minded motherfuckers,and the longer it takes for us to process that pain, the harder it is to reclaim our lives.

Drop-dead time

Like medics on the scene of a car accident, we all must act with a sense of urgency and tune into that ticking clock in the back of our minds. Because there is a drop-dead time on everything we do in life. All our dreams and visions come with expiration dates etched in invisible ink. Windows of opportunity can and do close, so it is imperative that we do not waste time on bullshit. None of us have any clue what’s coming for us or when our time might run out.

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.

Evolution No. 2: #TapeRecordYourself #NeverFinished

Everything must be utilized. Especially the energy in volatile, potentially damaging emotions like fear and hate. You have to learn how to handle them—how to mine them—and once you master that craft, any negative emotion or event that bubbles up in your brain or gets lobbed your way, like a grenade, can be used as fuel to make you better. But to get there, you must literally listen to yourself.

The Mental Lab

We all have a Mental Lab at our disposal, but most people don’t even know that they have access to a place where they can transform themselves. Therefore, they remain locked out. By the time they hit mid-life, the doors are wrapped with a rusty chain and deadbolted. The equipment inside is dusty and broken. Weeds are sprouting from the foundation and the roof.

Evolution No. 3#OneSecondDecision #NeverFinished

There are 86,400 seconds in a day. Losing just one of those seconds can change the outcome of your day and, poten- tially, your life. #OneSecondDecision #NeverFinished

Everything in life comes down to how we handle those crucial seconds. When psychological, physical, or emotional pressure redlines, your adrenal glands go haywire, and you are no longer in control. What separates a true savage from everybody else is the ability to regain control of their mind in that split second, despite the fact that all is still fucked!

That’s what people miss. Our lives aren’t built on hours, days, weeks, months, or years. Hell Week is 130 hours, but it’s not the hours that kill you. And it’s not the pain, the ex- haustion, or the cold. It is the 468,000 seconds that you must win. It only takes one of those motherfuckers—when it all becomes too much and you just can’t take it anymore—to bring you down.

Life, like Hell Week, is built on seconds that you must win, repeatedly. 

Never quit when your pain and insecurity are at their peak. If you must retreat, quit when it’s easy, not when it’s hard. Control your thought process and get through the most difficult test first. That way, if you do bow out, you’ll know it wasn’t a reaction based on panic. Instead, you’ve made a conscious decision based on reason and had time to devise your plan B.

Respect is earned every day by waking up early, challenging yourself with new dreams or digging up old nightmares, and embracing the suck like you have nothing and have never done a damn thing in your life.

Taking Hard Stops

Hard Stops allow military units and individual soldiers to reorg. That includes reloading your empty magazines, taking inventory of your ammunition, and rearranging your gear so you have access to loaded weapons and anything else you may need in the hours ahead. You also must take a hard look at your battle plan and get a clear sense of what it is you’re facing and where it will lead. 

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

Evolution 4: #PrisonerMind #NeverFinished 

A prepared mind craves the worst conditions because it knows that pressure brings out its best and exposes almost everyone else. It doesn’t care if your legs are working right, if the temperature is perfect, if there is one hellish hill or an entire mountain range waiting to crush you. When there are freezing river crossings, it doesn’t concern itself with your wet feet. It doesn’t pay any attention to distance, and it sure as fuck doesn’t give a damn how long it takes to get there.

The Struggle is the Journey

We have to learn to stop looking for a sign that the hard time will end. When the distance is unknown, it is even more critical that you stay locked in so the unknown factor doesn’t steal your focus. The end will come when it comes, and anticipation will only distract you from completing the task in front of you to the best of your ability. Remember, the struggle is the whole journey.

We all have the ability to be extraordinary, but most of us— and especially the haunted ones—tap out of the crucible and never experience what it’s like to get to the other side of hell.

Disciple of Discipline

By learning to maximize what you do have, you will not only level the playing field but also surpass those born with more natural ability and advantages than you. Let your hours become days, then weeks, then years of effort. 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.

With discipline as your medium, your life will become a work of art.

A drive for self-optimization and daily repetition will build your capacity for work and give you confidence that you can take on more. With discipline as your engine, your workload and output will double, then triple. What you won’t see, at least not at first, is the fact that your own personal evolution has begun to bear fruit. You won’t see it because you’ll be too busy taking action.

What you won’t see, at least not at first, is the fact that your own personal evolution has begun to bear fruit. You won’t see it because you’ll be too busy taking action.

Evolution No. 5 – #TrainedHumility #NeverFinished

Continued growth only comes when you are willing to be humble.

These are the facts, and they are undisputed. Your problems and your past aren’t on anybody else’s agenda. Not really. 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’re dealing with their own issues and focused on their own lives.

Trained Humility

It’s a shedding of your skin that allows you to take on a mission that no one else can see and do whatever needs to be done next. Trained humility is service but also strength. Because, when you are humble enough to remember that you’ll never know it all, each lesson you learn only makes you hungrier to learn more, and that will put you on a path that guarantees you will grow all the way to the grave.

Evolution No. 6 – #FoxholeMentality #NeverFinished

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 Foxhole

In military speak, the foxhole is a fighting position. In life, it’s your inner circle. These are the people you surround yourself with. They know your history and are aware of your future goals and past limitations. But because it’s a fighting position, a foxhole can just as easily become your grave. Therefore, it is crucial that you be careful about who you invite in. Whether you are at war, competing in a game, or striving in life, you never want someone in your foxhole who lacks faith or will try to steer you away from your full potential by giving you permission to pack it in or wave the white flag when shit looks bleak.

When there is no one around you who believes in or understands your quest, you must turn your fox- hole into a one-man fighting position. That’s okay. It is always better to fight alone until you can find people strong enough to fight the good fight with you. There is no time to waste trying to pull dead- weight up a hill.

Evolution No. 7: #OathToSelf #SelfLeadership #NeverFinished

Too many people mistake leadership for what happens at the top, in the spotlight, around that mythical table, when some of the most powerful leaders are hard at work in the shadows. They know that opportunities to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors, family, coworkers, and friends are ever-present. They wield massive influence without having to say much, if anything at all, and the first step in becoming one of these unsung heroes is learning how to become a self-leader.

Self-leaders rarely rest. In the heat of battle, they become dolphins who sleep with one side of their brain on alert and one eye always open so they are ready to outsmart, outswim, or battle their predators and they are awake enough to float back to the surface and take another breath.

Evolution 8: #GreatnessIsAttainable #NeverFinished

Most people live their whole lives without ever contemplating what it means to be great. To them, greatness looks like Steph Curry, Rafael Nadal, Toni Morrison, Georgia O’Keeffe, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, or Amelia Earhart. 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.


Identity is a trap that will keep you in blinders if you let it. Sometimes, identity is what we are saddled with by society. Other times, it’s a category we claim. It can be empowering to associate yourself with a particular culture, group, job, or lifestyle, but it can also be limiting. If you stick with your own too closely, you will be susceptible to groupthink, and you may never learn who you really are or what you can accomplish.

All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Lifelong Learner | Entrepreneur | Digital Strategist at Reputiva LLC | Marathoner | Bibliophile |

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