“Discipline equals freedom.” — Jocko Willink
“Leadership is infinitely more about brains than it is about brawn. The brawn stuff is from the movies and it doesn’t work in reality.” — Jocko Willink
Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) is one of the scariest human beings imaginable.
He is a lean 230 pounds. He is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert who used to tap out 20 Navy SEALs per workout. He is a legend in the Special Operations world. His eyes look through you more than at you.
He rarely does interviews, if ever. But, a few weeks ago, Jocko ended up staying at my house and we had a caffeinated mind meld. Here’s some background…
Jocko enlisted in the Navy after high school and spent 20 years in the SEAL Teams, first as an enlisted SEAL operator and then as a SEAL officer. During his second tour in Iraq, he led SEAL Task Unit Bruiser in the Battle of Ramadi — some of the toughest and most sustained combat by the SEAL Teams since Vietnam.
Under his leadership, Task Unit Bruiser became the most highly decorated Special Operations Unit of the entire war in Iraq and helped bring stability to Ramadi. Jocko was awarded the Bronze Star and a Silver Star.
Upon returning to the United States, Jocko served as the Officer-in-Charge of training for all West Coast SEAL Teams, designing and implementing some of the most challenging and realistic combat training in the world.
So why is Jocko opening up? Well, in part, we have mutual friends. Second, he is the co-author of an incredible new book—Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win—which I’ve been loving. Trust me. Buy it.
This is his first mainstream interview and one you won’t want to miss.
Want to hear another podcast related to leadership in the military from a decorated officer? — Listen to my conversations with General Stan McChrystal. In this episode, we discuss eating one meal per day, special ops, and mental toughness (stream below or right-click here to download):
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: How has discipline supported your entrepreneurial goals? What aspects could still use improvement? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink
- Learn more about Victory MMA, Jocko Willink’s gym in San Diego
- Seeking solutions in business or leadership? Check out Echelon Front
- Connect with Jocko and his organizations on Twitter:
- Connect with Jocko and his organizations on Facebook:
- About Face by Colonel David H. Hackworth
- Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
- Learn more about Band of Brothers
- Learn more about Letters from Iwo Jima
- Hardcore History by Dan Carlin (Wrath of the Khans I)
- Watch the Restrepo
- A Chance in Hell: The Battle for Ramadi
- The Pacific or “Band of Brothers in the Pacific”
- With the Old Breed by E.B. Sledge
- Watch Meru, the documentary about elite climbers
- Listen to Black Flag, My War, Side B
- Listen to White Buffalo
- How Jocko would design training for someone who wants to add lean muscle mass [13:49]
- The story of how Jocko Willink got involved in jiu-jitsu [15:44]
- How Jocko Willink’s SEAL military experience influenced his business [19:24]
- The story of how Jocko Willink became a SEAL [22:14]
- Where mental toughness comes from [30:04]
- Describing the Battle of Ramadi [31:04]
- On the leadership and strategy required to take over a city [47:14]
- The great tacticians that Jocko Willink respects, [52:44]
- What makes a good leader and the things to look for when identifying good leaders [53:59]
- How to teach the skill of detachment [1:01:34]
- Jocko Willink’s workout that would cause entire platoons to “tap out” [1:09:14]
- What are you world-class at that people might not know? [1:12:49]
- Morning rituals [1:14:49]
- When you think of the word successful, who are the first people that come to mind? [1:18:54]
- Non-military leaders that Jocko Willink admires and considers role models [1:29:45]
- Skills and/or experiences that every man should have [1:33:34]
- Fear inoculation for civilians [1:40:14]
- The books Jocko likes to give as gifts [1:42:20]
- Common misconceptions about Navy SEALs [1:49:34]
- If you could have one billboard anywhere, where would it be and what would it say? [1:55:59]
- Explaining the purpose of his business, Extreme Ownership [2:00:14]
- Discussing lessons from Extreme Ownership and the value it brings to private companies [2:06:19]
- What SEALs discuss between themselves that they don’t discuss with civilians [2:12:44]
- Which historical figure does Jocko Willink identify with? [2:18:29]
- Something people would be surprised to learn about Jocko Willink [2:19:22]
- Cheesy questions: What do you order at a bar, favorite music, advice for your 25- and 35-year-old self [2:22:49]
- Dean Lister
- Cus D’Amato
- H.R. McMaster
- Sean MacFarland
- Rickson Gracie
- Marcelo Garcia
- Marc Alan Lee
- Michael A. Monsoor
- Ryan Job
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 800 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.