#1479 “Roger That”

What to Say to the Heroic Gods

In our last couple +1s, we’ve chatted about a couple of my favorite Ideas from David Goggins’ second book Never Finished.

As you may recall, we swam with rats and then hung out with our inner savage.

I repeat…

Rats with BELIEF swam an insane 240 times longer than those without.

Which begs the question: How’s your belief?

Remember: Belief is primordially potent.

Today we’re going to continue our exploration through Goggins’ Mental Lab and talk about how he responds when things INEVITABLY go wrong in his life.

He tells us: “It’s an unwritten natural law of the universe that you will be tested. You will get smacked in the f*cking face. A hurricane will land on your head. It’s inevitable for all of us. Yet, we are not formally taught how to handle unexpected adversity. We have sex education, fire drills, active-shooter drills, and curriculum on the dangers of alcohol and drugs, but there is no rug-just-got-pulled-out-from-under-you class. Nobody teaches how to think, act, and move when disappointment, bad news, malfunction, and disaster inevitably strike. All the advice floods in only after we are already laying dazed on the canvas. Which means it’s up to you to cultivate your own strategy and have the discipline to practice it.”

He continues by saying: “Mine is simple. No matter what life serves me, I say, ‘Roger that.’ Most people think ‘Roger that,’ simply means, ‘Order received.’ However, in the military, some people infuse ROGER with a bit more intention and define it as, ‘Received, order given, expect results.’ When used that way, it is so much more than an acknowledgment. It’s an accelerant. It bypasses the over-analytical brain and stimulates actions because, in some situations, thinking is the enemy.”

Pause and reflect on the fact that we have classes on sex education, we put kids through fire and active-shooter drills (gah!!) and teach kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.



We don’t have a single class on how to deal with life’s inevitable challenges.

That. Is. Crazy.


Note: As we’ve discussed...

We also know that self-mastery (/discipline/self-regulation/willpower/whatever you want to call it) outpredicts IQ for academic performance by a FACTOR OF TWO yet, again, we don’t teach kids how to cultivate this essential skill.

Heroic Education coming soon...

For now, how do YOU respond when life gives you an unexpected challenge?

Do you quadruple down on your protocol and remember the fact that antifragile confidence is forged when the Heroic gods bless us with a challenge?


Do you forget everything we’ve been talking about and stop doing all the things you do when you’re at your best RIGHT when you MOST needed that level of Wisdom and Self-Mastery?



While I personally like to say “PERFECT” when things don’t go as planned and I am constantly encouraging you to remember the algorithm: “The worse I feel, the MORE committed I am to my protocol,” Goggins tells us that HE SAYS, “Roger that.”

Imagine saying THAT the next time the Heroic gods bless you with a test: “ROGER that, Heroic gods. Received, order given, expect results.”

Jocko Willink, another ferociously iconoclastic Navy SEAL, echoes this wisdom.

As we discuss in our Notes on his brilliant book Discipline Equals Freedom, when life gives Jocko a challenge, he says. “Good.”

Jocko tells us: “When things are going bad: Don’t get all bummed out, don’t get startled, don’t get frustrated. No. Just look at the issue and say: ‘Good.’ Now, I don’t mean to say something trite; I’m not trying to sound like Mr. Smiley Positive Guy. That guy ignores the hard truth. That guy thinks a positive attitude will solve problems. It won’t. But neither will dwelling on the problem. No. Accept reality, but focus on the solution. Take that issue, take that setback, take that problem, and turn it into something good. Go forward. And, if you are part of a team, that attitude will spread throughout.”

He continues by saying: “Finally: If you can say the word ‘good,’ then guess what? It means you’re still alive. It means you’re still breathing, that means you’ve still got some fight left in you. So get up, dust off, reload, recalibrate, re-engage—and go out on the attack.”

Then we have Phil Stutz in The Tools, Kelly McGonigal in The Upside of Stress and Elizabeth Blackburn in The Telomere Effect reminding us that we want to APPROACH rather than AVOID our challenges.

Their simple mantra for the moments we want to avoid life’s inevitable (!) challenges?


That’s Today’s +1.

Life knock you down?

Thank the Heroic gods with a “Roger that.”

And do what needs to get done.

Day 1. All in.


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