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From 300lbs to a Navy SEAL: How to gain control of your mind and life

The countdown continues! This is the 9th most popular video of 2018 — and great fuel for starting a new year.

DAVID GOGGINS: So I'm all about acknowledging your shortcomings in life. A lot of people talk about "triple down on your strengths. Triple down on your strengths and don't worry about your shortcomings." That's a whole new thing I'm hearing right now. Maybe it's not new, but it's new to me because I'm not out there really listening to all this stuff. That's the quickest way to never grow. To never grow. If you sit there and have that mentality of "triple down on what you're good at" you're never going to grow. You're always going to stay the same.

Either you're getting better or you're getting worse. So one thing that helped me out a lot when I was growing up was people always ask me: how do you build mental toughness? Mental toughness—a lot of people have these classes out here. A class on mental toughness. Positive thinking. Visualization. All these different techniques.

Mental toughness is a lifestyle. It's something that you live every single day of your life. When I was growing up I was a lazy kid. I was a lazy kid, and everybody goes, "How did you get to where you're at today? How did you get to where you're running 200 miles at one time in 39 hours? Being so disciplined?"

It started off, honestly, with recognizing that my bedroom was dirty. My bed wasn't made. I lived a sloppy life. So I took very small increments in my life. I started making my bed. I started cleaning my room. There were dishes in the sink. It started off with doing small house chores. I saw that the yard needed to be mowed. So instead of being told it needed to be mowed, I would mow it.

I started doing things, coming outside of my lazy ways to become better. And for a period of time your brain doesn't like it, but it starts to realize: this is a new way of thinking. We are now doing things that we are uncomfortable doing. We are doing things that we don't want to do. So the brain starts to slowly grow.

And let's say you don't like to get up early in the morning to go run. I hated it. I still hate it. You do that. You live uncomfortably to gain growth.

You have to have friction in your life to gain growth. And the only way to do that is to make yourself uncomfortable. And get to the point where instead of running from the things you don't want to do, you actually face them and start to gain more and more growth in your life. So that's how I approach all those things.

Self-talk, for me, has been the biggest thing in my life. A lot of us have a dialogue that is crap. It's a crappy dialogue. We live in a world right now that is very external. Everything is very on the surface. Superficial. Everything. And what we're telling ourselves is what we see on TV. It's what we see on Instagram. It's what we see on Facebook. And we're telling ourselves stuff that doesn't really penetrate to our core, to the inside of our soul. So our self-talk is like: "What am I going to wear today? How am I going to look today? I need to act this way today because this way is cool."

My self-talk became something that actually made me better. And I had a whole bunch of negative things in my life. And to get to the self-talk portion of it first, you have to quiet all of the phones and social media and all the negativity of the world to get to even hear your own self have a self-talk.

You can't have self-talk if you're hearing someone else's dialogue and what they're putting out on social media. How they want you to act. How they want you to dress. How they want you to talk. Everything out there is you trying to keep up with somebody. You're not trying to find your own self. So you have to clear away all the crap. And how you clear away the crap to even get to your self-talk is you have to get all of the noise of all the crap of the world out of your head. So I call it going to a dark place. You have to get the noise out. Quiet your mind down. Get all the static out before you can even have a real conversation with yourself.

And that self-talk, a lot of times it's very negative because of all the stuff we see on TV, all the stuff we see on social media. You have to create a positive dialogue.

There's something I do that—I have a demonstration. I make somebody very strong and I can make them very weak within three seconds. I put self-talk, my own voice, in their subconscious. And I do something to them that makes them very weak. And they wonder how in the world do you do this. I do it because I'm putting my own dialogue in your head. I'm telling a person that "you're insecure". I'm telling a person that "you're weak" and I'm able to make this person almost—they have no strength. And the I give it right back to them. And all day long we are feeding ourselves the wrong self-talk. It's negative self-talk.

So all day long I'm putting the positive self-talk in my subconscious. I'm making sure that I'm walking around all day long giving myself the proper fuel to attack the world. That's why I work out hard every day. I work out hard every day because I know the first thing in the morning, what I do is I clean my room, I clean my house, I go for a run, I work out. I want to win the war in the morning. Because the second I leave my house, the second you look at your phone, the second you turn the TV on you're in a battle. All this negativity is coming at you.
But if you're able to fuel yourself in the morning, win the war in the morning so you have the strength to face what you're going to face in the world. The world is going to come at you with lefts and rights. You have to have the right kind of mentality, and that starts by not hitting the snooze button. It starts by waking up. No, you don't want to do it, but that gives you the strength—because you did it.

If you do something you don't want to do every morning you're already giving yourself the proper self-talk. You're already giving yourself the proper dialogue to attack the people that don't like you. To attack your insecurities. To attack what the world is going to give you. So self-talk comes from belief in yourself. If you give yourself self-talk, positive self-talk, but you don't believe it, it's not going to come true.

You have to put the work behind what you're saying and believe what you're saying to yourself for that self-talk to become a reality in your subconscious. So now no matter what anybody says to you, no matter what you hear, you know the truth and you're living through the truth, and no one can penetrate that. No one.

So one thing I developed in my life going through hard times is the cookie jar. The cookie jar is—all of us have a story; we've all overcome so many things in our lives. But we forget them.
And a lot of times we don't spend enough time reflecting back on our lives realizing how great we truly are. We go through something, we put it back and we go on. And life is going to always challenge us, always challenge us. And during that challenging moment we panic. We forget who we truly are. That cookie jar that I designed for my brain is something that in that one second of panic, we lose our mind and we also lose how far we've come in life. You take that one second, go through your cookie jar, grab something in your mind. Look at it, read it, open it up. "Oh, I was in three Hell Weeks. I graduated two of them." That's a cookie.

It reminds yourself just how hard you are and it puts you right back into the right frame of mind to overcome whatever is in front of you. And usually whatever is in front of you isn't as big as you make it out to be. We start to make these very small things enormous because we allow our minds to take control and go away from us. We have to regain control of our mind, and that's what the cookie jar is: is gaining control of a situation that isn't that big. Most situations in life aren't that big. And if they are that big usually we can find the strength to handle them just through having the right mental process.

The 40 percent rule is something I designed also when I was growing up. I realized, when I was almost 300 pounds and I lost all the weight to become a Navy SEAL, I realized that I could have lived the rest of my life being a 300-pound person, never knowing what was truly inside of me. I could have been happy with that person. I was living at about 40 percent. Maybe not even 40 percent.

So in life—it's like a car. A lot of cars have governors on them. A governor is something where, let's say the speedometer says 130 miles an hour. You put a governor on a car, it may only go 91 miles an hour because that governor stops that car from going 130. We do the same thing to our brain. When our brain starts to go through suffering, when our brain starts to go through pain or starts to go through insecurities, when we start to feel uncomfortable with ourselves, our brain gives us a way out. And that way out is usually quitting or taking the easier route.
If we're able to look at ourselves and face whatever we're running from, you start to gain more percent on top of that 40. You start to realize okay, you start to slowly take that governor off your brain. We can do a lot more than we think.

At work, a lot of us have a horrible mentality at work. We go to work. We put all these negative things in our brains and it starts to cap our potential. We cap our potential by saying we're giving 100 percent. No one is really giving 100 percent. Usually you're giving 40 percent because that governor is stopping you. You feel pain, you feel suffering, you feel discomfort, you stop right there. Everybody has a wall in their mind. It's a wall, and it stops us from going further. Most walls have a door or a window. You have to find that. You have to have the courage to find that. And once you open that door or that window you'll realize how much further you can go. And you're going to continue hitting doors and windows along this journey but you have to have the courage to open them up to get to that 100 percent. So it's all about having the courage and realizing that we have a governor. We have to push past that governor and past your own mind games.

  • David Goggins is scary tough. He is the only person to have completed Navy SEAL training (including two Hell Weeks), Air Force tactical air controller training, and U.S. Army Ranger School.
  • Not that he was always a super soldier: Goggins once weighed 300lbs and was by his own admission lazy and undisciplined.
  • Here, Goggins explains how he transformed himself and won the war in his mind—from positive self-talk and building a 'cookie jar' of resilience, to the 40% rule, here's how you can learn to push past your own mind games.
  • You can follow David on Twitter and Instagram @davidgoggins and Facebook.


Why it’s hard to tell when high-class people are incompetent

A recent study gives new meaning to the saying "fake it 'til you make it."

Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • The study involves four experiments that measured individuals' socioeconomic status, overconfidence and actual performance.
  • Results consistently showed that high-class people tend to overestimate their abilities.
  • However, this overconfidence was misinterpreted as genuine competence in one study, suggesting overestimating your abilities can have social advantages.
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Maps show how CNN lost America to Fox News

Is this proof of a dramatic shift?

Strange Maps
  • Map details dramatic shift from CNN to Fox News over 10-year period
  • Does it show the triumph of "fake news" — or, rather, its defeat?
  • A closer look at the map's legend allows for more complex analyses

Dramatic and misleading

Image: Reddit / SICResearch

The situation today: CNN pushed back to the edges of the country.

Over the course of no more than a decade, America has radically switched favorites when it comes to cable news networks. As this sequence of maps showing TMAs (Television Market Areas) suggests, CNN is out, Fox News is in.

The maps are certainly dramatic, but also a bit misleading. They nevertheless provide some insight into the state of journalism and the public's attitudes toward the press in the US.

Let's zoom in:

  • It's 2008, on the eve of the Obama Era. CNN (blue) dominates the cable news landscape across America. Fox News (red) is an upstart (°1996) with a few regional bastions in the South.
  • By 2010, Fox News has broken out of its southern heartland, colonizing markets in the Midwest and the Northwest — and even northern Maine and southern Alaska.
  • Two years later, Fox News has lost those two outliers, but has filled up in the middle: it now boasts two large, contiguous blocks in the southeast and northwest, almost touching.
  • In 2014, Fox News seems past its prime. The northwestern block has shrunk, the southeastern one has fragmented.
  • Energised by Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, Fox News is back with a vengeance. Not only have Maine and Alaska gone from entirely blue to entirely red, so has most of the rest of the U.S. Fox News has plugged the Nebraska Gap: it's no longer possible to walk from coast to coast across CNN territory.
  • By 2018, the fortunes from a decade earlier have almost reversed. Fox News rules the roost. CNN clings on to the Pacific Coast, New Mexico, Minnesota and parts of the Northeast — plus a smattering of metropolitan areas in the South and Midwest.

"Frightening map"

Image source: Reddit / SICResearch

This sequence of maps, showing America turning from blue to red, elicited strong reactions on the Reddit forum where it was published last week. For some, the takeover by Fox News illustrates the demise of all that's good and fair about news journalism. Among the comments?

  • "The end is near."
  • "The idiocracy grows."
  • "(It's) like a spreading disease."
  • "One of the more frightening maps I've seen."
For others, the maps are less about the rise of Fox News, and more about CNN's self-inflicted downward spiral:
  • "LOL that's what happens when you're fake news!"
  • "CNN went down the toilet on quality."
  • "A Minecraft YouTuber could beat CNN's numbers."
  • "CNN has become more like a high-school production of a news show."

Not a few find fault with both channels, even if not always to the same degree:

  • "That anybody considers either of those networks good news sources is troubling."
  • "Both leave you understanding less rather than more."
  • "This is what happens when you spout bullsh-- for two years straight. People find an alternative — even if it's just different bullsh--."
  • "CNN is sh-- but it's nowhere close to the outright bullsh-- and baseless propaganda Fox News spews."

"Old people learning to Google"

Image: Google Trends

CNN vs. Fox News search terms (200!-2018)

But what do the maps actually show? Created by SICResearch, they do show a huge evolution, but not of both cable news networks' audience size (i.e. Nielsen ratings). The dramatic shift is one in Google search trends. In other words, it shows how often people type in "CNN" or "Fox News" when surfing the web. And that does not necessarily reflect the relative popularity of both networks. As some commenters suggest:

  • "I can't remember the last time that I've searched for a news channel on Google. Is it really that difficult for people to type 'cnn.com'?"
  • "More than anything else, these maps show smart phone proliferation (among older people) more than anything else."
  • "This is a map of how old people and rural areas have learned to use Google in the last decade."
  • "This is basically a map of people who don't understand how the internet works, and it's no surprise that it leans conservative."

A visual image as strong as this map sequence looks designed to elicit a vehement response — and its lack of context offers viewers little new information to challenge their preconceptions. Like the news itself, cartography pretends to be objective, but always has an agenda of its own, even if just by the selection of its topics.

The trick is not to despair of maps (or news) but to get a good sense of the parameters that are in play. And, as is often the case (with both maps and news), what's left out is at least as significant as what's actually shown.

One important point: while Fox News is the sole major purveyor of news and opinion with a conservative/right-wing slant, CNN has more competition in the center/left part of the spectrum, notably from MSNBC.

Another: the average age of cable news viewers — whether they watch CNN or Fox News — is in the mid-60s. As a result of a shift in generational habits, TV viewing is down across the board. Younger people are more comfortable with a "cafeteria" approach to their news menu, selecting alternative and online sources for their information.

It should also be noted, however, that Fox News, according to Harvard's Nieman Lab, dominates Facebook when it comes to engagement among news outlets.

CNN, Fox and MSNBC

Image: Google Trends

CNN vs. Fox (without the 'News'; may include searches for actual foxes). See MSNBC (in yellow) for comparison

For the record, here are the Nielsen ratings for average daily viewer total for the three main cable news networks, for 2018 (compared to 2017):

  • Fox News: 1,425,000 (-5%)
  • MSNBC: 994,000 (+12%)
  • CNN: 706,000 (-9%)

And according to this recent overview, the top 50 of the most popular websites in the U.S. includes cnn.com in 28th place, and foxnews.com in... 27th place.

The top 5, in descending order, consists of google.com, youtube.com, facebook.com, amazon.com and yahoo.com — the latter being the highest-placed website in the News and Media category.
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Mother bonobos, too, pressure their sons to have grandchildren

If you thought your mother was pushy in her pursuit of grandchildren, wait until you learn about bonobo mothers.

Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • Mother bonobos have been observed to help their sons find and copulate with mates.
  • The mothers accomplish this by leading sons to mates, interfering with other males trying to copulate with females, and helping sons rise in the social hierarchy of the group.
  • Why do mother bonobos do this? The "grandmother hypothesis" might hold part of the answer.
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