#1478 The Savage

How to Maximize Minimum Potential

In our last +1, we invited David Goggins back to the +1 party and talked about “the gritty, potent, primordial power” of belief.

As you may recall, we discussed an old-school study featuring rats swimming in cylinders.

Here’s the quick recap…

Rats without belief-hope swam for 15 minutes, on average, before giving up.

Rats who had been rescued and BELIEVED (goosebumps) it was possible to survive, didn’t swim for 15 MINUTES. They swam for for an ASTONISHING (😲) 60 HOURS.


That’s crazy.


That’s the power of BELIEF.

We cooked a hero bar together as we reflected on a time when we took one more step and endured something we may have thought was impossible.

Remember to FEAST on that Hero Bar the next time you feel like giving up.

Today we’re going to talk about David Goggins’ inner savage and, if you feel so inspired, we’ll encourage you to consider activating YOUR inner beast.

Let’s get to work.

Goggins tells us: “If you want to maximize minimal potential and become great in any field, you must embrace your savage side and become imbalanced, at least for a period of time. You’ll need to funnel every minute of every single day into the pursuit of that degree, that starting spot, that job, that edge. Your mind must never leave the cockpit. Sleep at the library or the office. Hoop long past sundown and fall asleep watching film of your next opponent. There are no days off, and there is no downtime when you are obsessed with being great. That is what it takes to be the baddest motherf*cker ever at what you do.”

He continues by saying: “Know that your dedication will be misunderstood. Some relationships may break down. The savage is not a socialized beast, and an imbalanced lifestyle often appears selfish from the outside. But the reason I’ve been able to help so many people with my life story is precisely because I embraced being imbalanced while I pursued the impossible dream of becoming the hardest motherf*cker ever. That’s a mythical title, but it became my compass bearing, my North Star.”

That’s from a chapter called “A Savage Reborn” in which we meet David’s FEROCIOUSLY ambitious “inner dog” and the power of his SAVAGE alter-ego he calls “Goggins.”

As I read that passage, I thought of Matthew Kelly, Bob Rotella and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Matthew Kelly wrote a whole book on the subject. It’s called “Off Balance.” Sub-title: “Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction.”

He tells us that, ultimately, we don’t want BALANCE per se.



Very importantly...

Sometimes creating a life of deep meaning and satisfaction requires the willingness to be off balance.

He tells us: “So the bad news is that you cannot have it all. The good news is that you don’t really want it all. The even better news is that you can experience incredible levels of satisfaction both personally and professionally if you take the time to work out what matters most to you.”

Bob Rotella echoes this wisdom in his great book How Champions Think.

He tells us: “I don’t see a lot of exceptional people whom I’d characterize as well-rounded. I see a lot more people who are very single-minded. They have a passion for one thing, and they pursue it zealously. They generally reserve time for family when they’re not pursuing their passion. But that’s about all the spare time they have.”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi also echoes this wisdom in his great book Creativity:

He tells us: “Another consequence of limited attention is that creative individuals are often considered odd—or even arrogant, selfish, and ruthless. It is important to keep in mind that these are not traits of creative people, but traits that the rest of us attribute to them on the basis of our perceptions. When we meet a person who focuses all of his attention on physics or music and ignores us and forgets our names, we call that person ‘arrogant’ even though he may be extremely humble and friendly if he could only spare attention from his pursuit. If that person is so taken with his domain that he fails to take our wishes into account we call him ‘insensitive’ or ‘selfish’ even though such attitudes are far from his mind. Similarly, if he pursues his work regardless of other people’s plans we call him ‘ruthless.’ Yet, it is practically impossible to learn a domain deeply enough to make a change in it without dedicating all of one’s attention to it and thereby appearing to be arrogant, selfish, and ruthless to those who believe they have a right to the creative person’s attention.”

Longer chat, but one of the consistent themes of my chats with Phil Stutz is the importance of embracing what he would call your “Evil Shadow.” It’s basically a synonym for Goggins’ Savage.

Today’s +1…

Is it time to turn up your intensity level?

Obviously, stay grounded and all that.


Let’s go ALL IN.


P.S. Why should you consider inviting your inner savage to join the party? Goggins says: “The world needs doctors, lawyers, and teachers, but we also need savages to prove that we are all capable of so much more.”

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