You have to go on this journey that I just went on with these two guys. You’ll laugh, you’ll get inspired, and you’ll wonder if these stories are even real.
My girlfriend wonders why I don’t like watching TV shows as much as she does. Instead, I like going on these little journeys with people, one podcast to the next, one audiobook to the next. By the time I’m done, I feel like I have a new mentor and friend.
Both Jesse and Goggins have crazy life stories, which would each be totally inspiring on their own. But the fact that their paths crossed, how they crossed, and what happened after, could be made into a movie or TV show.
So let me walk you through my journey with them, the way each episode played out for me. Then I'll tell you my takeaways at the end.
Episode 1: David Goggins is the Toughest Man Alive
I first listened to David Goggins on the Joe Rogan podcast, and I was completely blown away by his story. He has the craziest story, that starts with a rough upbringing in Indiana, to becoming a Navy SEAL, to doing the gnarliest ultramarathons on the planet. But the craziest story by far is his first 100 mile run, trying to qualify for the Badwater 135. The guy showed up to a 24 hour race in San Diego, with no training (like literally zero), a lawn chair, water and crackers. He broke his feet, he pissed and shit on himself, destroyed his body, and somehow through grit and determination completed the 100 miles.
Episode 2: Jesse Itlzer's Life Resume
I first listened to Jesse Itzer on the Rich Roll Podcast. Jesse’s “life resume” is beyond impressive, he was a 90’s rapper, wrote the theme song for the NY Knicks, founded a private jet company, owned Ziko Coconut water which sold to Warren Buffet and Coca-cola, has run something like 18 NY marathons in a row, has even run 100 mile ultra marathons, and to cap it all off, is married to Sarah Blakey, the founder of Spanx.
Episode 3: Jesse Meets Goggins
I loved listening to Jesse so much, that I went all the way back in Rich Roll’s podcast catalog, to 2015, when Jesse was first on the podcast. And I’ll be damned, but Jesse actually met Goggins and invited him to live with him for a month, and wrote a book about the experience called Living with a SEAL. There are so many good stories in this episode, but the fact that I had previously listened to Goggins on Rogan and knew who Goggins was, the episode is easily in my top 5 podcast episodes of all time (and I listen to a lot of podcasts).
Episode 4: Goggins Part 2
I had to read the book, but I was already on a roll with the Rich Roll podcast, so I decided to throw one more episode in and hear from Goggins again. A lot of this episode was overlap with the Rogan episode, but there were some new gems. Overall, it's just a great story, worth hearing twice. And hearing Goggins's story from his own mouth, versus just hearing Jesse talk about him, are two very different things. The way Goggins talks, he just reminds you that he is just on a completely level than everyone else.
Episode 5: Living with a SEAL
Reading Jesse’s book was the perfect way to end. The book was hilarious, I was literally laughing out loud. There is also a ton of solid takeaway.
Goggins looks at his soul as a wet rag, and he wangs to ring that rag completely you dry of every drop of water to know that he maximized his time on earth.
30 days is more than enough time to make a massive change in your life. Goggins lived with Jesse for one month, and during that time Jesse made rapid gains in fitness, developed a stronger mindset and ability to push himself, and it caused him to reflect on his life and make some lifestyle changes. 30 days is so short, and simple, and possible, and reasons to not make the changes I want to make, or accomplish the goals I have, are just excuses.
There is a lot of in-between time, and I should use the in-between time to better myself. Goggins will do 2500 pushups in a day. He will crank them out, over the course of a day, in all the in between time. He’ll do the same with sit-ups and pull-ups. He doesn’t dilly dally. Goggins looks at his soul as a wet rag, and he wangs to ring that rag completely you dry of every drop of water to know that he maximized his time on earth. There is all this time that exists to become stronger and better humans, but most of us waste it on Instagram. So, in this spirit, I deleted Instagram while I was reading the book, and I decided to use the time I normally waste scrolling the feed to better myself. One day was able to complete 300 push-ups in my down time, another day 205 push-ups, and another day 101 pull-ups. And of course, I would get 10 min or 15 min here or there of the audiobook.
Here are my workout totals over the 9 days I was reading Living with a SEAL:
7 runs (53 miles with almost 8000 of vert)
2 swims (5000 yards)
1 bike ride (24 miles)
1 25 min core workout
1 30 min kettlebell workout
3 15+ min yoga sessions
The 40% Rule: when you’re brain tells you that you have nothing left, you’re really only at 40%. You always have so much more to give than you think. Goggins proved this in his first 100 miler in San Diego, and again in his next 100 miler on broken feet, and again and again and again. Most people don’t venture into that 60% zone, they don’t know what it’s like there, how they react there. Its important to go there. This is what I love about ultra running, it allows me go on an adventure into the dark zone and see who I am way down in there. I know that I haven't even come close to giving 100%. I've probably made it to 55%, and that is a scary and empowering thought.
Build a life resume, check the boxes, there is no finish line. Your life resume is a real good look at your body of work, who you are, and what you’re becoming. Get the next big challenge, or that thing you’ve been wanting to do someday, on your calendar now. This is where all the growth is, where you learn what you’re made of, makes me feel the most alive. And just like with a professional resume, experiences and accomplishments become irrelevant quickly. No one cares what you did 10 years ago. Don’t dwell on your past accomplishments. Great, you ran that marathon, now check the box and move on. I’ve always believed this, but I love the way that Jesse articulates it. There is no finish line.
Live life more simply, and learn the patience to wait. Jesse wanted the simplicity that Goggins had, but Goggins didn’t want anything that Jesse had. You don’t need to live as extreme a lifestyle as Goggins though. Living more simply can just be a few small changes, and be a way to living more fully. You realize what really matters and what doesn’t. And learn the patience to wait. Goggins could just sit all day and wait for Jesse. He didn’t need to fill the boredom with an app or a magazine. He might do some push-ups, but overall, he had the patience and discipline to just wait, and I like that. One of the other big takeaways I had from deleting Instagram while I was reading this book was my relationship with boredom. To be able to just sit, and wait, and think is highly underrated, and something I wouldn't do if I could just mindlessly scroll the Insta feed instead. Patience is required for success, and this was a small win at practicing it.
The Accountability Mirror: You have to be brutally honest with yourself. I like to call this living in reality. If you suck at something, you need to accept that you suck before you can get better. If you aren’t giving it your all, you need to address that with yourself. Most people in life need a boss to keep them accountable. We also live in a world where we give participation trophies and tell everyone they are special. We need to be able to look at ourselves in the mirror and be 100% real with ourselves.
When someone has a book coming out, they usually hit the podcast circuit to promote it. I love this. Before or after reading a book, I love being able to hear the author talk about the book, and get to know them beyond the book. After hearing a couple interviews and then reading a book, I feel like that person has become a new friend and mentor. I highly recommend doing this.