David Goggins is one of the most renowned icons of mental and physical toughness. Millions of people have gotten to know him through his short social media clips as well as his book Can’t Hurt Me. But there’s a lot more to learn about the man if you’re willing to take the time to listen to his interviews.
In this article I’m sharing my list of the best David Goggins podcast interviews. I invested dozens of hours of my life to learn from David and listened to every podcast interview I could find.
I’ve only included episodes I consider most valuable. I only featured interviews in which David is sharing unique insights beyond the stories from his autobiography. I didn’t include interviews with poor audio quality.
My Top 5 David Goggins Podcast Interviews
If you don’t want to go through the entire long list below, here are my top five picks for must-listen interviews:
Here Are the Best David Goggins Podcast Interviews
Here’s the entire list of David’s podcast appearances. I included the titles, publication date, my description of the most interesting things covered in the episode as well as picked one memorable quote.
The order is chronological (based on the publication date), starting from the oldest appearances to the most recent ones. I’ll update this list when new podcasts come out.
1. The Rich Roll Podcast #266: Navy Seal David Goggins Is the Toughest Athlete on Earth — Thoughts on Mindset, the 40% Rule & Why Purpose Always Trumps Motivation
Publication date: January 2, 2017
In David’s first appearance on the Rich Roll podcast, he goes into his military backstory, including his grueling Navy SEAL training experience. He covers his career as an endurance athlete, including his infamous San Diego One Day ultra, Badwater 135, and Hurt 100.
He explains how he made incredible things happen despite having a busy schedule. He discusses the topic of finding one’s purpose and the immense drive he gets from it.
David mentions his experience living with Jesse Itzler and states his preference for a simple, minimalist lifestyle. He also talks about the life-changing effects of stretching.
As far as I know, it’s David’s first public appearance on a major podcast.
Just to make it clear, it’s not about “push yourself till you die.” Some people have this weird image of David Goggins and that’s what it’s about.
No, it’s about push yourself a lot harder than you think you can push yourself and stop giving up when you feel a little bit of doggone pain or something is uncomfortable.
That’s what the message is. Not “push yourself till you can’t live anymore.” It’s about “push yourself harder than you did yesterday.”
2. Finding Mastery With Dr. Michael Gervais #064: David Goggins: The Hardest Human Alive, Ultra Runner
Publication date: February 16, 2017
In one of his earliest podcast interviews, David Goggins talks with host Dr. Michael Gervais on his experiences with racism when he was growing up and how they made him create his “Goggins” persona.
He covers the courage to change and the essence of being hard. He explains the difference between drive and motivation. He dives deep into his thought process and how he was able to achieve inner peace through cultivating voluntary discomfort.
David also gives his quick opinion on various things such as fear of failure or success, breaking or following rules, music, sleep, caffeine, spirituality, being optimistic or pessimistic about the future, and success.
I found it a refreshing podcast because Michael asked David many questions I haven’t heard in other interviews (particularly the segment at the end where David was giving answers or opinion on random things on a scale of 1 to 10).
So everybody asks me, how do you develop mental toughness? How you develop mental toughness is becoming hard. How do you become hard? It’s doing shit that you don’t want to do. So most people live in this nice, comfortable place that makes them feel really good. The temperature in the house is 72 degrees, they have a refrigerator full of food, everything is great. Everything is great and they always ask: how do I become hard?
You sure as fuck don’t become hard by living that way. You have to take yourself out of your comfort zone and bury yourself in something that makes you feel so horrible that you have to see how your mind is thinking in that horrible situation and overcome it while you’re in shit. That’s what makes a human being hard.
3. Impact Theory With Tom Bilyeu #023: How to Make Yourself Immune to Pain – David Goggins
Publication date: May 23, 2017
David’s first appearance on Tom Bilyeu’s Impact Theory goes deep into the impact of his childhood on his life today. He delves into his process of transformation sparked through self-honesty (admitting his shitty situation in life to begin remedying it).
David explores how self-talk and visualization helps him overcome insurmountable obstacles. He talks about a warrior’s mindset.
He shares he’s the happiest man on the planet despite going through horrible times by embracing the dark side. David also talks about what brings him joy and happiness.
I’m not training for a race, I’m training for life. I’m training for that time when I get that two o’clock in the morning call that my mom is dead or something tragic happens in life, and I don’t fall apart.
I’m training my mind, and my body, and my spirit, so it’s all one, so I can handle what life is gonna throw at me, because the life I’ve lived, it throws a whole bunch at you. And if you’re not physically and mentally prepared for that, you’re just gonna crumble. And you’re good for nobody.
4. Joe Rogan Experience #1080 – David Goggins
Publication date: February 19, 2018
David’s first appearance on Joe Rogan’s show helped him gain immense popularity on social media.
In the interview, David talks about how he became a hard man who does the impossible. He tells his weight loss story, including what he did to lose 106 pounds (48 kg) in 3 months. He shares the details of how he became an ultra-runner.
David emphasizes how important stretching was to help him recover from debilitating health conditions and how it has improved his physical performance. He details his heart issues, his pull-up record, always setting bigger goals, and his duty to share his story with other people.
I believe in patience. I’m a patient dude. I can watch a piece of grass grow for 20 years because I know that this is how you get somewhere in life: by being in that monk-like mentality and being able to watch something grow very calmly and patiently.
5. The Mark Divine Show – Unbeatable Mind Podcast With David Goggins
Publication date: March 14, 2018
David’s interview on Mark Divine’s show is a conversation between two retired Navy SEALs. Goggins shares his childhood, his early military career, what he learned from his job spraying cockroaches, and his transformation that allowed him to become a Navy SEAL.
David recounts his Navy SEAL times, including the mistakes he made as a leader. He covers his first ultra-marathon in San Diego. He also details his life philosophy of never getting too soft, his daily routine, his nutrition plan, and who inspires him (hint: he doesn’t name any names).
My life is good right now but I can’t let it be too good, ever. I have to remind myself that these calluses on my hands come from hard work, and the second your hands get soft, everything else gets soft.
6. The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes #715: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds With David Goggins
Publication date: November 5, 2018
In his interview with Lewis Howes, David Goggins talks about dealing with emotional and physical abuse as well as facing the hardest obstacle in his childhood: himself.
He talks about his struggle with a learning disability, what he did to overcome it, and how the experience built his confidence. David explains why even the strongest and biggest candidates for Navy SEAL BUD/S training failed. He says what he learned from observing his mother as well as his father.
He shares his biggest fear in life and talks about mental and physical limits. David emphasizes the importance of being uncomfortable every day and how he does it right after getting out of bed. He also explains why every morning he goes to the gym exhausted and dehydrated right after running for at least one hour and a half.
At the end of the episode, Lewis asks David an interesting question about his three most powerful truths. He also shares his definition of greatness.
For me, it’s one of the best David Goggins podcast appearances because Lewis doesn’t ask him repetitive questions about his background and instead asks questions beyond what David shared in his other interviews.
You will lose the ability to suffer in the worst of times if you come out of it for too long.
If you can lift 315 pounds and you stop going to the gym for a month, I guarantee you won’t be able to pick the same weight up again.
All the stories I’ve talked about today, all the things in that book, if I went and said: “I’m good.” I gained all this knowledge, if I stop today, the knowledge is gone. I’d have to go back deep to retrieve it. I don’t want to go back deep to retrieve it. I want to be able to recall on it now. That’s why I do these things. I know what not doing them will get me.
7. Art of Charm #730: David Goggins & The Art of Mastering Your Mindset
Publication date: November 24, 2018
In his interview for the Art of Charm, David Goggins shares advice how to find strength when you’re weak and tired. He talks about the reason for going back to our old habits after trying to make a change.
He shares his thoughts on vulnerability, pushing yourself physically and discusses his morning and nighttime routine. He describes his relationship with his fiancée and how they work as a couple who push each other. When talking about his work with coaching clients, he discusses how not to lose your drive.
David talks about dealing with criticism motivated by jealousy and mediocrity. He also gives a warning to not have a normal mindset and base your life on the studies made on normal people.
People wonder “why am I not achieving more?” It’s because once we achieve something we celebrate for a long time, years. And we wonder, “Why don’t I have drive anymore, where’s all that?”
If you don’t develop a routine of suffering, and suffering is not like go out and kill yourself every day, it’s being uncomfortable, that keeps you hungry every day.
If you live in your victories for so long and say “I’m gonna go challenge myself for 30 days or for two weeks or run this one marathon” that’s why it leaves you. It leaves you because you haven’t set up the next obstacle. Obstacles is how you grow. You must continue to have friction. Friction is where growth is at. With no friction there’s no growth.
8. Joe Rogan Experience #1212 – David Goggins
Publication date: December 5, 2018
In his second appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast, David Goggins talks about forging yourself like a sword. He explains to Joe why listening to music while working out is a bad idea (he considers it cheating).
David talks about finding strength in moments of pure misery and talks about his injuries. He emphasizes how important it is to keep finding your new 100% in whatever pursuit you undertake (for example, he says that if he couldn’t run anymore he would find another area where he could push himself as hard).
He discusses the way he exercises and stretches. He covers how he discovered the potential of his mind through examining his brain as he pushed himself. David shares the problems he had as a Navy SEAL due to his savage mindset. He talks about how hard exercise helps him get rid of the mental chatter and be chill.
He tells Joe how he got into being a wildland firefighter while emphasizing how important it is to always seek the next challenge. He talks about his community of followers who are getting after it. Joe encourages David to try jiu-jitsu.
David also goes into his active recovery approach and monitoring his heart rate to keep track of his performance and avoid overtraining (he checks his resting heart rate each morning before getting out of bed). He also talks about running and his running shoe choices.
It’s one of my favorite David Goggins podcast interviews because of the undeniable chemistry between Joe and David. They keep throwing jokes throughout the episode so in addition to being insightful and inspiring, it’s also very fun to watch or listen to.
David: You are fucking yourself up by not examining your brain. You’re not examining your brain, message it, that’s done. Examine your fucking brain. And that takes some hard work and suffering. If you’re not willing to do that, I’m sorry.
Joe: And it seems like there’s no way to do it as a bystander.
David: No, you can’t watch it, man. You gotta get out there like “Oh, this hurts, this hurts real fucking bad. I don’t think this is smart.” And then guess what. The body will adjust. It will adjust.
9. Impact Theory With Tom Bilyeu #101: David Goggins on How to Become A Savage & Live On Your Own Terms
Publication date: December 11, 2018
In his second appearance on Tom Bilyeu’s show, David Goggins explains in detail the concept of the governor and how the mind limits ourselves to protect us from pain and suffering. He explains the reasoning behind having an alter ego to become better.
He shares how he used to crave attention and talks about ways he lied to himself and others to get accepted. David gives advice on how to stop feeling sorry for yourself and how to look past your excuses and the fear of being judged. He shares his thoughts on mediocrity, the pitfalls of being the best among the average, and one-timers (people who get complacent after reaching success once).
He talks about what it means to get civilized and why it’s so destructive to retire and let yourself go. David also discusses the most important conversation you’ll ever have in your life.
It’s one of my favorite interviews with David Goggins because of the middle part of the show where he goes deep into fighting mediocrity, not ever getting civilized, and always pushing to work as hard as you can to become better.
Mediocrity is everywhere right now and we’re all trying to find an easy way out. Let’s say there’s 10 people in this room and we’re all mediocre but I’m the best of the mediocre people. I now think I’m great.
We surround ourselves with people that make us feel great, that tell us what we want to hear. The second we put ourselves amongst the uncommon people, we don’t like that feeling, that challenge of that person that’s breaking about 3:30 in the morning saying “Hey, put your shoes on, we’re going for a run.”
We don’t like that challenge. We like that person who says “Hey, you know what man, I don’t feel good today man.” And they say “Oh, it’s okay brother, we’ll take a day off, maybe we’ll get a pizza and shit and watch the game.”
We like that. We love that feeling. Why? Because you understand man, we’re good bro. We don’t want that motherfucker who’s like this “Hey man, no bro, get your fucking shit on man, stop being a punk.”
We don’t want that in our lives. We don’t want that person who’s constantly challenging our weaknesses. We want that person who’s constantly making us feel nice and good and secure. That’s the mediocrity of life. We want to be the best amongst the average people.
10. Mark Bell’s Power Project #155 – David Goggins
Publication date: December 12, 2018
In his interview on powerlifter Mark Bell’s podcast, David Goggins talks about the driving force that got him interested in weightlifting. He gives his thoughts on low self-esteem and insecurities. He shares what he eats and emphasizes the importance of getting high quality sleep, prehab, and rehab.
David goes into the difference between powerlifting and endurance sports. He recounts his extreme weight loss story by giving some details I haven’t heard before in any of this other interviews or his book.
He talks about self-discipline that he gained from physical pursuits and emphasizes that everyone should push themselves in sports to build their mental strength.
Some of the hardest shit I do in my life is just learning. But I got that self-discipline from waking up at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning to go out in the cold weather to get my run in, to get my lift in, to get my swim in.
It totally transfers over to my learning. It’s that self-discipline you gain from feeling good about yourself by overcoming yourself on the physical aspect of life. And it transfers to your whole work ethic, and everything you do comes from the physical aspect of life, I truly believe that. And the physical and the mental are all one. They’re all tied into one.
11. Grant Cardone’s Power Players #442 – David Goggins
Publication date: December 18, 2018
In his interview for entrepreneur Grant Cardone, David Goggins describes his structured military life and talks about his transition to civilian life after 21 years of serving. He advises what how a person can put structure and systems in their life without joining the military.
He warns against putting people above you and says that you should always believe that through hard work you can compete even with the world’s best performers (instead of assuming they’re out of your reach).
David shares his mentality of not being afraid to going back to day one, week one, and points out the dangers of getting complacent and feeling you’re already good enough. He also stresses the importance of self-motivation and counting on yourself instead of the team.
No one’s coming back to save you so you better start to armor your mind against the things that are going to come at you. It’s not always your fault but you gotta suck it the fuck up and you gotta deal with it.
So that’s why I believe in that structured system because basically all you’re trying to do is develop the right mindset to attack every obstacle you’re going to face in life. That’s all the structure is about. It’s about setting up a structured system in your life so you can attack the obstacles that are gonna come at you.
12. The James Altucher Show #421: David Goggins: Never Be Satisfied With Your Life… Find Your New 100%
Publication date: December 25, 2018
In this interview, James Altucher asks David Goggins questions other than what David has already shared during his previous appearances on major podcasts.
David talks about the process of understanding discomfort, staying in a box vs getting outside of it, and the power of repetition (and how it changed his life). He gives his thoughts on the education system and working 9 to 5.
David shares how important personal accountability is and talks about his everyday battle with craving comfort. He discusses what it means to have a mature mind and gives suggestions on how to organize “mini boot camps” and fight mediocrity.
He also talks about embracing the suck in a non-physical way and gives his thoughts on leading and fighting the bullshit of the world.
You must never give yourself a way out and say, “This is a good life, I’m good here, this is good.” You can never be satisfied with life. You must always find your new 100%.
13. The Rich Roll Podcast #413: You Can’t Hurt David Goggins: Going Beyond Motivation & Why Mindset Is Everything
Publication date: January 1, 2019
In his second appearance on the Rich Roll Podcast, David Goggins talks about his decision to self-publish his book. He explains the dangers of having a small town mentality and the importance of open-mindedness. He recounts his background story that turned his life around.
David emphasizes how important it is for him to focus on one task at hand and how he abhors multi-tasking. He gives additional context on what it means to take souls. He explains why he doesn’t talk much about his deployments in his book.
David shares what he did during the 5 years of his health problems when he couldn’t run and work out. He talks about journaling, accountability, and prioritizing yourself when scheduling your days. He also warns against judging oneself against other people and reminds listeners to focus on what’s next instead of what they did in the past.
So once your life is easy and everything is great, it’s time to go online and google some obstacles to put right the fuck in front of you.
14. The EntreLeadership Podcast #300: Defy the Odds With David Goggins
Publication date: January 8, 2019
In his interview for EntreLeadership, David Goggins explains why he decided to pursue a career in the military and talks about his transformation there.
He gives advice on what to do when you’re going through physical or emotional pain that makes you think you can’t go for even a second longer. David coaches the host on what he should to do exercise his mental toughness more despite already living a very successful life.
He talks about the power of physical discomfort to build the right mindset. He credits stretching with changing him both physically as well as mentally. David also advises how to deal with the fear of failure and gives his opinion on forgiveness.
Whenever you find things that you’re comfortable doing, you’re going away from the journey of life. And I was going so far away from my journey that my weight showed my whole mindset.
15. Order of Man With Ryan Michler #201: David Goggins Is the Toughest Man Alive
Publication date: January 23, 2019
In his interview with Ryan Michler from the Order of Man, David Goggins talks about obsession and fixing yourself first. He shares the story behind the physical damage on his body from years of pushing his limits. He gives his thoughts on why anger is not a sustainable source of strength and talks about going to war with yourself.
David gives his opinion on mentorship and what it means to be a mentor and when a person stops being one. He covers the concept of taking souls, giving extra details he hasn’t shared in his previous interviews or his book.
He talks about the modern problem of people getting too easily offended, not having thick skin, and political correctness. David also gives his perspective on what it means to be a man.
[On being a man] It’s the biggest responsibility in the fucking world which is why I’m always talking about: be uncomfortable, do something that sucks every day because you’re constantly trying to sharpen that sword as a man and the sword is your fucking brain. Because you have to shoulder more than your share of the fucking task. A hundred percent and then some, all the time.
So what it means to be a man, it means everything. It means not sleeping sometimes, it means sometimes you go without to make sure that your family goes forward. You have to always make sure that you’re doing for others before you do for yourself. But to do that, you got to make sure you are a hard motherfucker.
16. The Tom Ferry Podcast Experience Episode 2: David Goggins on Never Giving Up and Dealing With Struggles of Life
Publication date: February 4, 2019
In his interview with real estate and business coach Tom Ferry, David Goggins explains what raw accountability is and why you should focus on your weaknesses instead of your strengths. He warns to never put anyone above you as that leads to self-sabotage.
He shares a story of his coaching client whose company considered a day with 5 meetings and 40 cold calls a good day. With David’s guidance, the client once made 1,000 calls a day and set his minimum at 300 calls and 8 meetings. Through this example, David warns against comparing yourself with mediocre people.
He talks about body language and how it impacts the mind. David says that when you’re in the middle of a hard challenge and you’re about to give up, you need to reflect on the hard work you put in to get there.
David also answers some listener-submitted questions, including his thoughts on what a person who loves eating pizza and drinking beer should do and how he chooses his next challenge.
I heard a lot of people say, “Triple down on your strengths.” That works for a lot of things but when you’re afraid and you don’t have the courage, you have to triple down on your weaknesses. And make that become where you start to guide yourself. Okay I don’t like calling, today I’m making a hundred calls.
17. On Purpose With Jay Shetty Episode 7: David Goggins: On His Relationship With Pain
Publication date: March 18, 2019
In this interview, Jay Shetty asks David Goggins questions about the impact of his childhood on his adult life and how he dealt with his traumas. David emphasizes how important it is to go back to the beginning and address the root of the problem.
David talks about the conversation he now has with himself and how he constantly reminds himself of his roots and what made him successful. He talks about visiting suffering daily, including facing painful moments from the past. By revisiting his Hell Week experiences he says how focusing on others while you’re miserable helps you forget about your own suffering.
David also talks about being mindful of how hard you’re pushing yourself. He shares how he avoids pushing so hard that he neglects his responsibilities and risks burnout. He also answers several rapid-fire questions, such as about the best advice he’s ever received, his daily mantra, and his purpose.
There’s a sense of deep connection between David and Jay which makes it one of the best podcast interviews with David Goggins.
I’m all about pushing hard but to push as hard as you can you have to be mindful of the machine that’s pushing. It’s going to end up dying and then it takes years to get it back so you lose that time. I lost five years. I could be crushing it, where now I’m just now back to crushing.
18. Disruptors With Rob Moore: David Goggins Reveals How to Master Your Mind
Publication date: July 1, 2019
In his interview for the Disruptors, David Goggins talks about exposing himself to the uncomfortable and gives an example of how he pushed himself prior to recording the podcast despite having weak thoughts. He also shares what he does on days when he’s tempted to stop going so hard.
David gives advice on how an ordinary person can get more committed and achieve more success. He says what he does for fun and defines what happiness means for him. He shares that he’s fascinated with rock climber Alex Honnold.
David gives his thoughts on failure and how important it is to set goals with a high risk of failure. He talks about not caring about other people and how it makes you dangerous. He discusses the topic of emotions and emotional control.
David shares his views on running a business, his perspective on money, and what it takes to become rich. He shares the best and the worst advice he has ever received. He also talks about what’s wrong with the world that he would like to change.
There may be some days I get up with poopy pants and I’m like, “You know what man, fuck this man. What am I training for? I have no race on the docket. Why am I having such a structured life?”
And I’m like, “You know what, I’m good, I’m done.” I retire every day, I’m done with this shit. And I sit around and I say okay. And this is my thought process: “So you want to be normal. So you just want to be like everybody else that roams the world not knowing the power that’s in them, being fine with being mediocre. “You want to go back to who you were huh, David?” I’m like, “Fuck that man.”
19. Driven: David Goggins
Publication date: September 3, 2019
This interview isn’t a regular podcast interview but I found it valuable enough to include it in this list as well.
In his interview for the Driven TV, David Goggins talks about why being in business is all about helping people. He shares what his drive is and how he was able to go on to have even more success after retiring from his military career.
David says why he lives a clean life and doesn’t drink alcohol. He talks about his business and explains why people who are between 30 and 50 get the most from his advice. He gives his thoughts on millennials, their addiction to technology and why they struggle.
You can’t hold a fucking attention span for longer than 15 seconds. That’s why you’re not successful. It takes a lot longer than 15 seconds to be focused on becoming rich, a better person, becoming smarter, becoming more athletic, losing weight. It takes time. Your mind needs to be focused on that fucking task.
20. Tom Panos at the Upgrade Your Life Event: Callous Your Mind
Publication date: July 11, 2021 (filmed in January 2020)
This interview isn’t strictly a podcast interview as it was filmed during an event called Upgrade Your Life 2020 but it’s worth watching so I decided to add it to this list as well.
In the introduction to the interview, Tom Panos shares his inspirational story of how David Goggins helped him during tough moments. David gives his opinion on whether personal transformation can happen without the darkness David had to go through.
He shares his thoughts on suffering as a part of life. David talks about the robot mode he enters during runs that take days to finish. He gives Tom Panos advice how to keep going during Tom’s (much shorter than David’s) runs. David explains the reason behind his minimalist lifestyle.
He also talks about his podcast appearances on Joe Rogan’s show and his friendship with Joe.
Suffering is a fact of life. And if you look at suffering the right way, it’s a great tool to callous your mind. (…) Whenever I’m going through depressed moments, I’m getting tested. So you have to be aware of all the signals and signs that are being given to you from the world. One of them is if you feel bad, you’re being tested. How are you going to perform under that? Suffering is a part of life, very needed.
21. Empire Builders With Nick James: How to Build a Worldwide Personal Brand With David Goggins
Publication date: June 17, 2020
In his live interview for Empire Builders, David Goggins says what advice he has for aspiring speakers and authors who want to try to replicate his success. He gives some behind the scenes details of the first few months of selling his book.
David shares the worst decision he made in his business life and how he was sued right after he retired from the military and lost $80,000. He talks how to win the battle in the morning and details his typical day.
He explains how he got into major podcasts, like Joe Rogan’s show. He says what he would do if he were unable to run or run as much as he does now. David talks about the consistent process of forming new habits (and warns not to go instantly as extreme as he did). He also talks about how to find yourself again when you’re at rock bottom.
I’m a big believer in figuring yourself out. Don’t follow anybody’s path, follow your own. And what that means is, what you have to do is figure out: “What is my passion? What do I want to be? What do I want to do? What do I believe in?” Because a lot of times you start looking at the role models and you want to be just like them.
So what happens is you lose who you are. So I was able to truly be David Goggins to the core because I didn’t have any role models. So I had to look inside myself and say “What the hell do I want to be?” And I was able to do that to the best of my ability. So I guess my biggest role model is whoever is upstairs and David Goggins.
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