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David Goggins Quotes That Will Make You Run Through a Brick Wall

One sentence adrenaline shots from the sensei of motivational word play.
By Will Price
May 21, 2024

There is an argument that, above and beyond his many other achievements and talents, David Goggins was put on this Earth to drop absolutely incendiary motivational quotes.

Author, triathlete, ultrarunner, retired Navy SEAL, and god knows what else, Goggins might be the closest thing to a human machine. He did more than 4,000 pull-ups in a day (a Guiness World Record at the time) then, after a decade watching others push past his record, did nearly 8,000 in a day at nearly 50 years old. He’s run almost 100 ultra-endurance races—some more than 300 miles end-to-end—and has built up a massive following. Why, though? 

His shtick is discipline, determination, and the sort of mind-over-matter principles you’ve definitely seen printed on the walls of your gym—but if you think Goggins is a run-of-the-mill bro-tivational type, you don’t really know Goggins. Here’s why he’s revered, as told by his most powerful quotes.

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The Best David Goggins Quotes for Motivation, Energy, and Discipline

Goggins’ most famous quote—lifted from his first memoir, Can’t Hurt Me—is also his most Goggins-y quote. Kicking down your physical and mental barriers—whatever they may be—is core to Goggins’ motivational principle.


Goggins talks about pain (or pain euphemisms, like suffering) and seeing pain as opportunity. There are many Goggins quotes that have made the rounds over the years, but this one, which reads more like Greek philosophy than modern wisdom, has staying power.


Get your mind out of the gutter. More of a saying or mantra you’re meant to scream internally (or externally, if you’re not shy) pushing through the finale of an exercise or otherwise grueling physical activity. This is more or less the official Goggins motto.


David Goggins doesn’t really do excuses. This quote, from Can’t Hurt Me, is typical Goggins in that it is uncompromisingly binary.


From his second memoir, Never Finishedcomes another absolute banger of a quote. Goggins has spoken and written at length on the subject and value of looking forward, not back, and this quote serves as a tidy encapsulation of his thoughts on the matter.


Introspection and self-critique is core to Goggins view of discipline and finding success. Can’t Hurt Me is effectively his own written crusade against personal stagnation, and the lies people tell themselves to avoid the hard work of pursuing goals.


Typical Goggins in that it is both inflexible and combative. Listen to enough Goggins media and it becomes clear that, when the going get tough, sourcing motivation from made-up mental competition is a core part of his enduring psyche.


If stay hard is the official Goggins motto, this is the unofficial motto. If you need instant energy to spear the end of a truly miserable workout, use Goggins’ amorphous boast as fuel.


Speaking on The Joe Rogan Experience, Goggins has spoken and written versions of this quotes dozens of times. The message is simple: the harder the struggle, the greater the reward.


Dating back to basic training for the SEALs, in which potential SEALs had to carry heavy inflatable boats through deep sand, the seemingly odd query about carrying boats is one of Goggins’ favorite personal motivators. The specificity of the “boats” quote makes it both something of a motivational fitness meme and an all-time memorable quote. See it in action in this clip of Goggins pushing through the tail-end of a grueling incline bench set.