Skip to content

Balancing Acts: Goggins vs. Abdaal

Last November I finished “Can’t hurt me” by David Goggins on Audible, it’s an incredible book in my opinion. Goggins is ex-Navy Seal with many incredible athletic feats to his name. In this book he goes over his life story of how he faced various challenges since childhood and how he beat the odds to achieve greatness. You probably know him as the guy on YouTube that shots inspirational quotes at the camera whilst running.

In the book he stresses on pushing yourself to get to your goal, getting uncomfortable, developing a callused mind, extreme discipline and taking souls. His viewpoint towards life might seem aggressive and a bit extreme at times, but I discovered that many of his methods and practices that are directly comparable with the things I have been doing for some aspects of my life. I was already familiar with his own videos on YouTube, but after reading the book I listened to some of his interviews and I really appreciate his laser-focused way of pursuing goals.

Funnily enough in the very next month Ali Abdaal published his first book Feel-Good Productivity. If you don’t know his, Ali is the world’s most followed productivity YouTuber (and there are thousands of those out there!!). I have followed him for years mostly for his highly aesthetic videos and some good researched tips on time management.

Naturally, when I saw this book being published, I picked it up because I had just finished the Goggins’ book and wanted to have an opposing view to its philosophy. As expected Abdaal promotes a more balanced approach, focusing on efficiency, mindfulness, and well-being while pursuing productivity.

  • While Goggins advocates for an ultra-competitive mindset where discomfort is a prerequisite for growth, while Abdaal suggests that productivity can be achieved without sacrificing mental and physical health
  • Goggins encourages confronting challenges head-on, often through intense physical training and mental toughness, whereas Abdaal emphasizes finding joy in the process and using strategies like time blocking and habit stacking to overcome obstacles.
  • Goggins advocates for a rigid adherence to discipline and routine, Abdaal acknowledges the need for flexibility and adaptability in one’s approach to productivity.

So, who’s right?

It will be too simplistic to say that Goggins’ approach is for tough people with hard mindset while those with softer hearts and easy-going nature can follow Abdaal’s Feel-good Productivity, because we all know that nobody has a singular emotional state and worldview at all times.

In my opinion I have been applying both the approaches as per the situation. For example, during periods of intense goal pursuit or when facing particularly difficult challenges, Goggins’ philosophy might provide the necessary motivation to push through barriers. Conversely, during times of burnout or when prioritizing mental well-being, Abdaal’s emphasis on balance and self-care could be more appropriate.

We could apply both the philosophies in sprints of weeks in accordance with our goals in those particular time slots. In fact after finishing the book I have observed that I might be applying each of the ways of approaching things in the same day. Extremely pushing the boundaries for one thing and being laid back and focusing on mental well-being for another.

It’s a balancing act between Goggins and Abdaal!!

Published inblog

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *