The title of David Goggins’ book encapsulates his life story in a few words: Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds. That’s a reference to Goggins’ childhood—and his later success in breaking through barriers in the decades since.
Goggins grew up with all of the odds against him, but he didn’t give in. Over the past 30 years, he has transformed his life and achieved the sorts of extraordinary goals that elude even the most dedicated athletes.
Goggins is, to date, the only person in history to complete all three of the grueling training programs required to qualify as a Navy SEAL, an Army Ranger, and an Air Force Tactical Air Controller.
Most members of the armed forces struggle to make it into just one of these elite forces. He has broken records in endurance sports, written a book, and received invitations to speak with students, sports teams, and professionals of major Fortune 500 companies.
Today, Goggins is on a mission to share his philosophy with the world. He works to motivate and inspire everyone to “push past pain, demolish fear, and reach their full potential.” Along the way, David Goggins’ net worth has risen steadily, making it possible for him to help others in need.
David Goggins Rise To Fame
If you believe statistics, David Goggins had a near-zero chance of fame and fortune. His early years were marked by the stuff of nightmares. Goggins didn’t just face family violence or racism or health challenges— he faced them all, and all at the same time.
Goggins grew up in Indiana, where he says it was common for neighbors to hurl racial epithets at him. On top of that, he had asthma, he was alarmingly obese, and he had both a learning disability and a stutter.
At home, Goggins’ family barely scraped by financially, and Goggins was a victim of abuse. Adding to the general sense of fear that filled each day, a member of Goggins’ family died by homicide while he was still quite young.
These challenges would be enough to destroy confidence, incite depression, and create anxiety in even the strongest minds—and Goggins suffered from low self-esteem, depression, and severe anxiety for many years.
However, he wasn’t willing to let his circumstances define him. As he tells it, at the age of 17, he was just about to fail out of high school. He describes the moment that changed the trajectory of his life this way:
I went to the mirror in the bathroom and looked at myself and saw I was a clown. I saw my future, and it wasn’t pretty. I was talking to myself out loud. A million cuss words. I believe that in order to find peace, you must be willing to go to war with yourself.
Goggins did just that. He went to war with himself, and then he went to war on behalf of the United States as a member of the armed forces.
David Goggins Navy SEAL
While David Goggins is best known for his work as a Navy SEAL, there is far more to the story of his experience in the US armed forces.
Through unprecedented perseverance, he completed three of the most difficult training programs in the world: Air Force Tactical Air Controller training, SEAL training (including the notorious Hell Week), and Army Ranger School. To date, he is the only one to have all three on his resume.
Goggins started his military career in the US Air Force, where he served from 1994 to 1999. However, when he returned to civilian life, things started to go downhill. Goggins worked in pest control—a gig he describes as primarily spraying for cockroaches. He was up to 300 pounds, and he didn’t feel at all like he was living up to his potential.
He made a life-changing decision: Goggins was going to be a Navy SEAL. However, when he went to enlist, there was a problem.
At 300 pounds, he couldn’t possibly make it through training. Goggins didn’t give up—he took the challenge head-on. In 59 days, he was back at the recruiter’s office, weighing just 190 pounds.
The story of Goggins’ SEAL training is particularly remarkable because of the extreme obstacles he had to overcome before he made it through.
During the first round, he was diagnosed with pneumonia. He wasn’t able to complete the training that time.
Just before he was ready to try again, he fractured his kneecap—but he didn’t slow down. He powered through, proving to himself that he was capable of far more than he ever imagined.
In 2001, it was official. Goggins became a member of SEAL Team Five.
After that, Goggins went on to Army Ranger School, where he graduated as Enlisted Honor Man. he continued to push himself hard, meeting and exceeding goals in every aspect of his military career.
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David Goggins Ultramarathon Runner
Life changed again for Goggins in June 2005, when tragedy struck the brotherhood of Navy SEALs. Eleven were killed, along with eight members of the Army’s Special Operations Force during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan.
Goggins decided that he wanted to compete in ultramarathons to raise money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
The first on his list was the 2006 Badwater Ultramarathon. When he attempted to enroll based on his experience as a Navy SEAL, he was turned away. Badwater organizers said that since he hadn’t run more than 20 miles at a time in the previous 12-month period, he had to complete a qualifying race first.
His first opportunity was less than four days from his initial call—the San Diego One Day, during which he would have to run 100 miles in 24 hours to be included in the Badwater Ultramarathon.
Goggins wasn’t ready by any measure; he had the body of a power lifter and weighed more than 240 pounds. However, as with every other goal he set out to achieve, he didn’t let any obstacles get in his way.
Over the course of just under 19 hours, Goggins ran the 100 miles. Along the way, he broke every one of the metatarsal bones in his feet, and he suffered torn muscles, shin splints, and a long list of stress fractures.
Though he has since completed more than 60 ultramarathons, Goggins remembers that first race vividly. He still says it was the most pain he ever endured in his lifetime.
Goggins completed the Badwater Ultramarathon in 2006, and later that year he went on to win second place in the Ultraman World Championship.
Just a year later, he competed in the Badwater Ultramarathon again and shaved five hours off of his time to win third place.
How Much Is David Goggins Net Worth?
David Goggins’ net worth is estimated at about $2.5 million. Of course, he didn’t earn that during his military career, and he didn’t accumulate much in the way of wealth through his athletic achievements.
Most of the cash earned as a result of his participation in ultramarathons goes to Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
He says plainly that the medals, awards, and magazine articles aren’t why he continues to push through barriers and achieve new goals. He does it for himself, to break out of his comfort zone and “see what he’s made of.”
Goggins’ philosophy of self-determination, overcoming obstacles, and achieving audacious goals has earned him a different brand of fame. He is considered one of the great motivators of our time, and he is regularly asked to speak for student groups, athletic teams, and the professionals of Fortune 500 companies. Those activities have enabled David Goggins’ net worth to grow.
David Goggins Motivator
Goggins doesn’t necessarily tell his story for the purpose of motivating others, but that is the natural response after hearing the challenges he has overcome in his 45 years. He describes the reaction of his listeners this way:
A lot of people have reasons why they can’t. Whether you’re black, white, purple—it doesn’t matter. So I tell everybody my story. It is very humbling for me to talk about how dumb I was, how bad I stuttered, how insecure I was, how fat I was, but it makes people say, ‘Well s***, man, I have no excuse.’
However, the story itself may not be what inspires his audience to overcome their own obstacles. Goggins is a gifted speaker, capable of eliciting strong emotions as he shares his journey.
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David Goggins Speaker and Author
In 2018, David Goggins released his bestselling book Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds. It quickly rose to the top of Amazon’s most popular lists, and it has stayed on the charts in the three years since.
In addition to describing his experiences in Can’t Hurt Me, Goggins discusses his basic philosophy around achievement. He calls it the 40 percent rule.
Goggins says that when you are starting to feel drained, whether mentally, physically, or both, you are only working at 40 percent of your true capacity. If you press on, you can add another 60 percent to your total output.
That concept is the underlying theme during speaking engagements, and it has become a mantra among movers and shakers in all sorts of settings. Nationwide, there are basketball players, students, and stockbrokers working to achieve that extra 60 percent.
David Goggins Net Worth Summary
David Goggins’ net worth of approximately $2.5 million was predominantly earned through his work as an author, speaker, and motivator. He continues to push through barriers to achieve new goals, and he remains committed to supporting veterans’ causes.
Goggins regularly tells audience members, reporters, and fans that his biggest source of pride has nothing to do with money or fame. It is his military service and the bonds he formed during those years that make him most proud.