What This Navy Seal Can Teach You About Financial Resilience
Learn lessons about resilience from the Hardest Man Alive, former Navy Seal David Goggins. Use the examples set by the "King of No Excuses" to achieve your financial goals or overcome financial obstacles. Sync your beliefs with your goals and run to the truth rather than away from it.
Resilience is one quality I especially admire in people.
It's inspiring for me to find individuals who have the innate ability to take a negative situation and turn it into a positive outcome—it is indeed a rare and valuable skill.
I've personally experienced what it means to be in life's trenches and come out on the other side successful.
I admit, it wasn't always fun, and it took a ton of hard work, commitment, and sacrifice.
But my story of resilience is nothing compared to David Goggins'.
If you're struggling financially or looking for motivation to make it through a tough challenge, there's no better person to teach you resilience than this former Navy Seal.
He's the only member of the U.S. armed forces to complete Seal training, U.S. Army Ranger school, and the Air Force tactical training.
He hated every minute of his brutal training, but he used those negative feelings to fuel his resilient drive.
David Goggins completed the Navy's infamous Hell Week three times (he did two in one single year, and the final one was completed despite multiple stress fractures).
He served in Iraq and was picked to be the personal bodyguard for the war-torn country's Prime Minister.
The "Hardest Man Alive" once held the Guinness World Record for the most pull-ups, doing 4,030 in a 24-hour period.
Yes, 4,030 pull-ups.
Let that number sink in for a moment.
What's even more surprising is that he recounted in one interview that he actually had to do a grand total of 67,000 pull-ups in his quest to beat the previous record, after failing multiple times to beat it.
He's now an extreme athlete, who once ran 8 consecutive 100-mile races over 8 straight weekends.
In one year, he ran more than 7,000 miles (the equivalent of 267 marathons).
His motto is:
Be uncomfortable every day of your life.
Rather than running away from pain and suffering, he has learned how to harness it and turn it into amazing achievements.
The key to his success is his mental toughness and his ability to look a problem in the face instead of running away from it.
His example teaches us how to overcome any problems that get in our way, including financial ones.
Achieving the goal of financial freedom is a lot like the goal of becoming the Hardest Man Alive.
It takes resilience, toughness, and the ability to absorb hardship and thrive through difficult times.
David's number one rule is:
Go towards the truth.
Don't back down from the challenge and be ready to take whatever is thrown at you and turn it into an achievement.
David Goggins is a huge role model for me, and I think his lessons can be incredibly helpful for anyone struggling with financial hardship or looking to achieve a difficult goal.
I'm going to share with you a few of my favorite lessons from the David Goggins story and talk about how you can apply them to your financial situation.
Using his inspiring example, I'll give you some practical tips to help you weather even the toughest financial circumstances.
Be Uncomfortable Every Day of Your Life
Pain and suffering can lead to growth
Years ago, David Goggins knew he needed a change.
One day, he said enough is enough.
He'd come home from his job spraying for cockroaches.
Pushing 300 pounds, he was seriously overweight.
He never believed in himself. He'd grown up believing what people told him, which was that he wouldn't amount to anything.
That night, Discovery Channel was showing a reality series about Navy Seal training.
He realized he was too comfortable, and he had been running from the kind of pain and suffering that turns Navy cadets into hardened warriors.
David Goggins knew the only way to find himself was to put himself through the worst experience possible.
He signed up for Navy Seal training and his life was changed forever.
Get out of your comfort zone if you want to improve
Routines can be great, but they can also cause you to cruise on autopilot.
I had to make significant changes at the start of my entrepreneur journey.
I took a huge risk financially, and left the security of a 9-5 day job with a six figure income and great benefits, in order to focus on growing my business.
I was terrified, honestly, but I never thought of going back ... even after I found out my wife and I were expecting our first child, just three weeks after I quit my job.
Goggins' story, much like my own, demonstrates how achieving significant change means getting out of your comfort zone.
Change things up. If you're unhappy with your situation, keeping things "business as usual" will do nothing to improve it.
The more comfortable you are, the more likely you are to stay there.
After all, we're all programmed to take the path of least resistance.
Don't run away from things you hate. David is now an ultra-marathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, and an Ironman triathlete.
He hates running, cycling, and swimming with a vengeance.
But he was overweight and unhappy with his life, so he forced himself to do uncomfortable things to jumpstart his personal development.
Break Out of Your Comfort Zone
You might be cruising on autopilot when it comes to your finances.
Treading water with your debt. Maybe you're just able to keep up with the minimum payments for your credit card debt, so you're comfortable with it.
Taxes aren't optional. Perhaps you're more comfortable not filing your taxes this year since you know you'll owe the government a load of money.
Saving is an uphill battle. Maybe you're comfortable working a simple minimum wage job while you try to save money for college, which never seems to happen.
Or you're comfortable not saving for retirement since it means you don't have to make sacrifices today.
Face the money problems you don't want to face
If you're too comfortable with your current situation, you likely won't do the things required to break out of it.
Stare down your challenge. You need to look yourself and your problems in the eye and commit to doing what it takes, especially if it's uncomfortable.
It's the only way out.
David Goggins would tell you to stop running from the truth and run towards it.
Get out of the routine and test your limits.
You'll be surprised what you can achieve when you embrace a problem rather than ignoring it.
Take a long hard look at yourself
One practical step you can take is to take stock of your current financial situation.
List all your debts, income, loans, real estate, investments, and any other assets you own.
Also list things you would like to achieve, like being debt-free or saving enough to go back to college.
How do you get from A to B? Ask yourself what it would take to change the current situation and achieve the goals you've listed.
You'll probably start feeling some pain at this point, since some of the things you need to do to achieve those goals might not be comfortable.
David "The King of No Excuses" Goggins would tell you that's exactly the point.
Go after the pain and suffering rather than running from it, and you'll be able to grow.
Take Ownership of Your Current Reality
If you want to take control of your reality you need to accept it
Unless you're brutally honest about where you really stand, and believe you are in control, there's no way you can change your reality.
David was once overweight and unfulfilled.
But he couldn't make the change he needed until he accepted he was in a bad place.
The truth can hurt. He was honest about what was wrong with him, even if it was painful and arduous to face the truth.
And he realized the only way to break out of it was to put himself through hell.
Are you being honest about your financial reality?
If you're tap dancing around the truth about your money, you'll continue to sabotage yourself.
Ask the hard questions. You need to recognize the nature of the gap that exists between your current situation and where you'd like to get to and ask yourself what's causing it.
For example, your goal might be saving for retirement, but the gap is you have no knowledge of how to do it.
Or your goal could be owning a home, and the gap is you have a bad credit rating.
Be honest even when it stings. Admitting you don't know what you're talking about when it comes to money, or that you made bad decisions and your credit rating sucks, isn't easy.
If you're honest with yourself, you'll be able to take actions to bridge the gap between where you are right now and where you'd like to be.
Take some practical steps to close the gap
In order to close the gap between your current reality and the reality you've envisioned for yourself, you need to come up with some actions to address it.
David Goggins would say you need to grow a thicker skin and do what it takes to break down the walls, no matter how painful.
Close the knowledge gap. If you've finally owned the reality that you're not financially savvy, commit to raising your financial IQ.
Put aside two hours a night to read articles and view online tutorials about how finances work.
No excuses! It means committing to your new routine, even if you have to skip going out or miss watching a big game.
So suck it up.
When the concepts seem too difficult, do whatever it takes to understand them (no matter how much it makes your brain hurt!)
The only thing between you and your goal is knowledge.
The more you sacrifice and struggle, the more awesome it's going to feel when you come out the other end an expert.
Create a budget and stick to it. If the gap between your reality today and where you would like it to be is due to living above your means, you need to own it and make a budget.
It's going to hurt. There will be sacrifices involved, and they could be painful.
Think about the feeling of accomplishment you'll have when you solve your problems by sticking to your budget.
Commit to earning more income. Another action you can take to close the gap between what you make and what you spend is to make more money.
You'll probably have to take on some kind of side hustle and work all hours of the day and night, or even on weekends.
Achieving the goal of solving your financial problems will make all the pain worthwhile.
Use Your "Cookie Jar" When in a Rut
Remember who you are and how you got there
When David Goggins is in the middle of a grueling 100-mile race or being beaten down a third time by the Navy's "Hell Week", he uses a mental technique called the "Cookie Jar."
Remember, you rock.
When life's tough, I pull a memory out of my cookie jar to remind myself how badass I am.
Rather than focusing on the pain he's feeling, he reminds himself of his accomplishments.
It lets his mind reset and gives him the inspiration and motivation to keep going forward.
You're awesome, and don't forget it. When you're in a tough situation, it's easy to forget who you are.
You lose sight of what your purpose is, and how far you've come.
The negative mindset becomes an obstacle to your success.
Remember the positive. To beat it, you need to remember how hard you've worked to improve your financial situation, and the small victories you've experienced along the way.
If you're in a really bad financial state, it's easy to feel depressed—and feeling down leads to inaction.
Going through tough financial problems makes it hard to stay positive.
Let's say you got laid off and your emergency fund has been exhausted.
Or you're unable to keep up with minimum payments on your credit card debts and the interest and late payment penalties are making it worse.
Maybe you've been unable to save any money and you're living paycheck to paycheck.
Time for a cookie! All these situations are painful and difficult to endure.
Taking a cookie from the cookie jar of accomplishments, achievements, and positive memories can increase your emotional resilience and help you feel empowered and motivated to go on.
Fill the cookie jar first. Write down every single success you've had when it comes to money.
For example, if you paid off your student loan.
Or got approved for a mortgage at a great interest rate.
Make a cookie for the time you got a raise at work.
Or simply to remind yourself you pay your bills every month.
When times get tough, get the cookies. Every time you're facing a financial challenge or obstacle, pull out the cookie jar list.
Take a few memories from the jar and remind yourself of all the wins you've had.
You'll have the positive mindset and emotional resilience you need to overcome whatever crisis you're experiencing.
Shift Your Chain of Belief for Financial Success
You need to believe in your success if you want to achieve it
David Goggins has been crowned the toughest man on the planet.
Before he achieved it, he legitimately believed he could accomplish it.
And he still does.
A true believer in himself. His chain of belief and his goals are always in perfect alignment.
He believes when the brain and body are connected, you can do anything.
Especially if you're willing to suffer.
What you tell yourself becomes your reality
The stories you tell yourself about making and managing money will determine your financial situation.
Believing money is bad is an obstacle. For example, if you tell yourself money is the root of all evil, or more money causes more problems, you'll have a hard time getting it and keeping it.
If you tell yourself the only way to get money is through hard work, you'll find yourself spinning in a hamster wheel trying to hustle for every dime.
You need to believe in the magic for it to work. On the other hand, if you tell yourself being smart, strategic, and doing work you love is the path to money, you'll be more likely to win big financially and feel fulfilled.
Sync your goals with your beliefs
The next practical tip we can pull from David Goggins' story is to take stock of your beliefs and prove to yourself they're legitimate.
Look at your list of financial goals.
What do you need to believe? For each goal, write down every belief you'll need to have in order to commit mentally to making it a reality.
If a belief feels counterproductive, deconstruct it.
For example, if you believe you need to have money to make money, look for examples of resilient people who have succeeded from very humble beginnings.
Back up claims with proof. Construct all of the beliefs you need to achieve your financial goals by breaking them down into a belief's two components: claim and proof.
For example, if you claim your goal is to make six-figure salary working 20 hours a week, look for proof it can work.
Find the statistics, case studies, personal stories, and other testaments of people who have achieved six-figures working a 20-hour week.
Once you've proven it can work, you'll believe you can do it, and you'll be mentally committed to achieving your goals.
Pain equals gain for the Hardest Man Alive
When you're driven, whatever is in front of you will get destroyed.
Whether you're talking about running a hundred miles through the desert in 24 hours or building a ruined credit score back up, you need mental toughness.
Resilient people have the ability to endure pain, sacrifice, and hard times, and turn them into a positive outcome.
Achieving mastery of your mind is the key to the kind of resilience you need to achieve financial freedom or overcome a financial crisis.
As someone who values hard work and commitment, I try to draw inspiration from David Goggins and view him as a role model.
Rather than turning away from challenges, he charges towards them and crushes them.
Next time you face a challenge, remember his advice and run to the truth rather than away from it.
Then grab a "cookie" from your very own cookie jar .
Do you have any tips, tools, or strategies on staying resilient through tough financial times?
If so, then please share them in the comments below!