Obsessing About Results Is Your Enemy

This is the secret to lasting motivation

Darius Foroux
5 min readNov 18, 2022

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When David Goggins learned about the death of an acquaintance operative team, he decided to raise funds for the deceased soldiers’ families.

He thought joining an ultramarathon — races that go beyond the usual 42-kilometer marathon — would be a great way to do that. So he applied to the Badwater 135; a 135-mile race under extreme heat and elevation.

But Badwater’s Race Director held a strict requirement: All runners must have previously completed a 100-mile race or more to qualify — which Goggins didn’t.

At first, Goggins asked if he could have the requirement waived. He worked as a SEAL and he got a letter of recommendation attesting to his endurance as an athlete.

But the Race Director wouldn’t have it. Instead, he suggested that Goggins run a 24-hour ultra in San Diego. “Go run one hundred miles [in it] and get back to me,” the RD said.

The San Diego race was 3 days away. And though Goggins was untrained, he went for it.

For the first few miles, Goggins felt good in the race. His pace was fast. He was even in fifth place when he reached mile 25. But by mile 27, he was starting to feel the pain. He has only run one marathon prior (26 miles). And his lack of training was beginning to show.

How did Goggins motivate himself to keep going?

  • He thought about the families of the deceased soldiers.
  • He thought about their sacrifice as a fellow SEAL who has seen his fair share of action.
  • He thought about the funds he could raise for these families when he competes in the Badwater 135.
  • He thought about all the beautiful results his efforts would achieve for these families and their loved ones.

Those thoughts sustained him. For a while.

Motivation comes from a genuine‚ — authentic — place

On the fifty-mile mark, Goggins was a wreck. His thighs felt heavy, his feet were shattered, his bones creaked, and his lungs seized.

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Darius Foroux

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