The 'toughest man on the planet' has some striking similarities with Elon Musk

Like everyone else, Tesla owners continue to contend with the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic can be both nerve-racking and challenging. Many are living a "shelter at home" existence. Less driving means you can't enjoy your all-electric spaceship. So... it's time to plug in your car and look for other things to do. Maybe work at home? Go for a run? Read a book? 

Left: Navy SEAL and super-athlete David Goggins (Source: David Goggins) / Right: Tesla and SpaceX Boss Elon Musk (Flickr: Daniel Oberhaus)

I actually just finished Elon Musk's biography — a great read. Another book, Can't Hurt Me, by the "toughest man on the planet" David Goggins was recommended by a friend during this downtime. Goggins is the only member of the U.S. Armed Forces to complete Special Ops training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller. He's completed over 60 "ultra" marathons and triathlons. And, he once held the Guinness World Record for pull-ups completing 4,030 in 17 hours.

Goggins believes we all put a ceiling on human potential. He says, "No matter who you are, who your parents are or were, where you live, what you do for a living, or how much money you have, you’re probably living at about 40 percent of your true capability." He adds, "When you think that you are done, you're only 40% in to what your body's capable of doing. That's just the limits that we put on ourselves."

Above: When pushed up against his own 40%, Goggins always asks himself "What if?" (YouTube: Goggins Clips)

Reading these books, back to back, I was struck by similarities. Elon Musk's toughness moves beyond physical feats into the realm of business. He's gone up against massive, entrenched competitors in the aerospace, energy, and auto industries. He works 100-hour weeks and sleeps at the office. Musk pushes past boundaries to achieve remarkable things. He says, "I think it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary." 

To begin, Musk told Esquire, "The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur." He recently did a fascinating AMA and explained, "A lot of people, the thing that stops them from making things or doing things is actually that they're self-limiting. They don't realize that they're actually capable of much more. You've got to try. Believe in yourself and try. People can do way more than they think." 

Above: A look at how Elon Musk has defied the odds (YouTube: MulliganBrothers)

The similarities don't end there. They've both dealt with dastardly dads, countless failures, hardcore challenges, and plenty of seemingly-impossible obstacles along the way. To increase your own mental toughness, Musk's biography, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, and Goggins' autobiography, Can't Hurt Me, can provide a healthy dose of inspiration during these difficult times.


Editor's Note: This Memorial Day, we salute and honor those who've fallen while serving in the U.S. armed forces. We also support David Goggins' tireless efforts raising over $2 million for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides scholarships and grants to the children of fallen special operations soldiers.