David Goggins is an inspiring human being.
We featured his first book Can’t Hurt Me which is all about how to “Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds.”
When I saw he had a second book coming out called Never Finished, I pre-ordered it and started reading it the day it arrived. This one’s about how to “Unshackle Your Mind and Win the War Within.”
As expected, this book was as inspiring as his first book.
If you don’t mind the f-bombs that go with his unapologetic, iconoclastic (goosebumps) ALL IN commitment to being the toughest human being EVER then I think you’ll enjoy both of his books as much as I did.
Today we’re going to talk about the power of belief.
Let’s get to work.
Goggins tells us: “Belief is a gritty, potent, primordial force. In the 1950s, a scientist named Dr. Curt Richter proved this when he gathered dozens of rats and dropped them in thirty-inch deep glass cylinders filled with water. The first rat paddled on the surface for a short time, then swam to the bottom, where it looked for an escape hatch. It died within two minutes. Several others followed the same pattern. Some lasted as long as fifteen minutes, but they all gave up. Richter was surprised because rats are damn good swimmers, yet in his lab, they drowned without much of a fight. So, he tweaked the test.”
He continues by saying: “After he placed the next batch in their jars, Richter watched them, and right before it looked like they were about to give up, he and his techs scooped up the rats, toweled them off, and held them long enough for their heart and respiratory rates to normalize. Long enough for them to register, on a physiological scale, that they had been saved. They did this a few times before Richter placed a group of them back in those evil cylinders again to see how long they would last on their own. This time, the rats didn’t give up. They swam their natural asses off... for an average of sixty hours without any food or rest. One swam for eighty-one hours.”
That’s from the introduction.
In fact, that’s from the second page of the book.
On the preceding page, Goggins tells us that this is NOT a self-help book. He tells us that most self-help books are written to make you feel warm and fuzzy and never really work.
Then he says: “Self-help is a fancy term for self-improvement, and while we should always strive to be better, improvement is often not enough. There are times in life when we become so disconnected from ourselves that we must drill down and rewire those cut connections in our hearts, minds, and souls. Because that is the only way to rediscover and reignite belief—that flicker in the darkness with the power to spark your evolution.”
Then he drops that story about the swimming rats to make his point about the power of BELIEF.
We talked about this same study in our Notes on Isaiah Hankel’s Black Hole Focus. We’ve also talked about the power of BELIEF many times before.
Remember the science of self-efficacy? Albert Bandura tells us that one of the best ways to cultivate your confidence/BELIEF in yourself is to remember your PRIOR successes.
The rats who had a “prior success”? They swam 60 (!) hours—which is, I repeat, 240 (!) times longer than the 15 minutes the rats without that hope-belief created by a prior success.
Let’s move from Theory to Practice to Mastery Together...
Think about ONE time in your past when you were up against the wall and you didn’t think you had what it took to make it through that challenge.
You mustered the courage to take one more step.
And then another.
Until you got through it and made it to the other side—stronger than you were before the ordeal.
Let that prior success be the fuel for your next success.
KNOW that you can create a better future.
Then do the hard work to get clarity on what that better future might look like and how you might bring it to life and how you will navigate the inevitable obstacles that will arise.
Then keep on swimming.
Give us all you’ve got, Hero.