Jocko Willink Takeover — On Quitting, Relationships, Financial Discipline, Contrast Baths, and More (#395)

Photo by Echo Charles

“You might have to make some tactical retreats in order to win the long war, but never quit on your strategic vision. Never quit on getting to the ultimate place where you want to go.” — Jocko Willink

Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) takes over the show for a special episode. Jocko is one of the scariest human beings imaginable. He is a lean 230 pounds and a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt who used to tap out 20 Navy SEALs per workout. He is a legend in the special operations world, and his viral podcast interview with me was the first public interview he ever did. Jocko spent 20 years in the U.S. Navy and commanded SEAL Team Three’s Task Unit Bruiser, the most highly decorated special operations unit from the Iraq War. 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.

After retiring from the Navy, he co-founded Echelon Front, a leadership and management consulting company, and co-authored the #1 New York Times bestseller Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win. He is also the author of The Dichotomy of Leadership, Way of the Warrior Kid, and Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual. His new book, Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual, is coming out in January.

Jocko also discusses human nature through the lens of war, leadership, and business on the top-rated Jocko Podcast.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, StitcherCastbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#395: Jocko Willink Takeover — On Quitting, Relationships, Financial Discipline, Contrast Baths, and More

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Want to hear the last time Jocko was on this show? — Listen to this episode about the success mindset, how to stop laziness and procrastination, behaviors that lead to failure, exact workouts, training while traveling, and much more. (Stream below or right-click here to download.):

#275: Discipline Equals Freedom — Jocko Willink

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.



  • Connect with Jocko Willink:

Echelon Front | Jocko Podcast | Warrior Kid Podcast | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


  • In his own words, who is Jocko Willink? [03:01]
  • How did Jocko meet his wife, what tips does he have for building and maintaining a family, and how does a mindset of extreme ownership ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible — whether at home, in the office, or while leading a platoon? [04:53]
  • Tactical and strategic perspectives: knowing when to quit and when to persevere when there are opportunity costs to consider. [11:24]
  • How does discipline play a role in macro and micro financial decisions like daily and monthly budgets? Has this changed for Jocko over time? [20:17]
  • How does Jocko balance his time as a father with businesses, a podcast, and working out? What values does he hope to pass on to his children? [23:37]
  • What are Jake’s thoughts on toxic masculinity? How should someone raise their son to understand concepts like harassment and consent, and to be assertive and ambitious in life without going too far (or not far enough)? [31:45]
  • What are Jocko’s experiences with cold or heat therapy like cold showers, ice baths, saunas, et cetera? [38:22]
  • What is one piece of advice Jocko would give someone who’s on the brink of finishing it all tonight — especially someone who might be skeptical of psychologists? [44:23]
  • What’s Jocko’s step-by-step guide to building discipline for someone who has little to none of it? [49:33]
  • How does someone build mental toughness and resilience? [51:26]
  • If Jocko hadn’t been in the military, what would he have done instead? [52:48]
  • Your five-year-old has been taking jiu-jitsu for two weeks, but he’s not very aggressive. How do you teach someone to turn on aggression? [54:06]
  • Jocko has started multiple, successful businesses since his first appearance on this podcast a few years back. How has he managed to do this? [58:12]
  • What does Jocko consider to be his biggest failure? [1:06:57]


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 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.

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17 Replies to “Jocko Willink Takeover — On Quitting, Relationships, Financial Discipline, Contrast Baths, and More (#395)”

  1. Old lady, never in the military, not particularly a fan of machismo. I LOVE this guy!! I read his book, Extreme Ownership. Wish I’d read it when I was a “kid.” Jocko is my hero!

  2. Hi Tim,

    My partner and I have started a student mental health Ed-Tech company. I’m a former therapist and we’ve designed a platform we believe can have a SCALABLE impact on mental heath in this country and around the world. Really think you’d be interested in learning about what we do. Grateful for all the wisdom you’ve shared over the years and grateful you’ve read this comment. Hope to hear from you.

    ps. You can find an article on us in the “Denton Record Chronicle” titled “App uses emojis to gauge wellness in children” (not dropping link here as I’m mindful of the rules for commenting below).

  3. Dear Tim, I listened to your podcast every day as I walked from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole – solo, unsupported and unassisted – pulling 140 kg of supplies in my sled for 47 days through one of the most extreme environments on Earth. I’m not one of those supermen, army guy or professional athlete. I was just an ordinary guy researching how to achieve a big goal I set to myself. Your podcast was helpful in that process – so thank you! I am now in USA because of my new project, even more interesting. I would love to tell you about that. Anyhow possible to get in touch?

  4. Huge fan. Jocko is a monster. I know listeners like myself would freak out to get a quick inspiring + motivational (+ hilarious) vid message from him. I work at Cameo. If there’s anything I can ever do for either of you guys over here just ask! X

  5. Always love hearing from Jocko and he had some gems in here.

    It was a good take on parenting when he asked if ANYONE has ever become what their parents want them to become

  6. Tim. How could I have a 3 minute call with you?

    This is regarding an app I am building, with a take on depression, suicide and social media that I think can add two cents to the conversation, but also will need some relevant voices to – if they think it’s on to something – share perspectives and ways to make it happen. Long shot but thought I’d try. Cheers.

  7. I was just listening to episode #373 with Jerry Colonna, I’m going through a break up with my girlfriend for 3 years. I just realised where I was in life when I started listening to this podcast and how me and my life has changed in such huge ways. Your work, especially this podcast has been such a fucking blessing in the process, thank you so much for doing what you do sir. Love and good wishes from India!

    Also, after listening to you going to a silent retreat I finally went to a vipassna retreat and it is something I would recommend you please check out. Thank you!

  8. Hey Tim, same guy again.

    I can relate to you in terms of you looking for answers/clarity be it through this podcast, books, retreats whatever because I started reading a book a week and listening to podcasts etc. for the same. To experience a better way of life.

    I had an experience very similar to how you describe a psychedelic experience through meditations from the book ‘Becoming Supernatural’ but that state of clarity and knowing soon faded away as life went on. I intellectually understood where I had to go but I was doubting it because I wasn’t experiencing it, I started second guessing. I started looking for answers about the experience (also I wanted to know if I’m going crazy) so I tried Inner Engineering a program by Sadhguru since I’m in India and also other gurus etc. and books from people like Anthony De Mello because I knew what they were saying was the truth but I was still doubting. Then listening to you talk about your silent retreat I knew silence would help and so I signed up for a silent retreat, I was living close to Barcelona at the time and the waiting is huge so I didn’t get a spot. Now back in India I applied and got a spot almost instantly. Vipassna is a technique of meditation which I’m sure you’ve heard of but if you go there and experience it for yourself, I have no doubt that you will find all your answers there provided you put the work in. There’s no mantra, no religion, no BS basically. Just the technique and whatever you experience through it is your truth. What it has done for me is to help me let go of a 3 year old romantic relationship with peace and I don’t read books anymore or listen to podcasts searching for answers, I just do it for inspiration or entertainment sometimes. I used to read a lot on nutrition and training for example since I’m a professional athlete but now I feel like I’ve to just observe myself and I will know that the right thing to do is. What Sam teaches in Waking Up is similar but it’s not as potent and intense as a Vipassna retreat of course.

    That’s a lot of words I know but I just have this overwhelming feeling of giving back for all that you’ve done for me through your work. Please just give it a try, you can leave the first day and the course is free with everything including lodging and food. You can donate later IF you experience any benefits. The website is

    The teacher who is the main guy in India is S.N. Goenka

  9. Hey there Mr. Ferriss, I started listening to your podcasts for a bit as a recommendation from a colleague and I enjoy them!

    I’m hard of hearing so at times it is a bit difficult to understand everything, and trying to listen that intently for such long periods of time puts a lot of mental strain on my day.

    I was wondering if you have any transcriptions of your podcasts?

    Getting the full dosage of voice and text makes understanding the entirety of the podcast way easier!


    1. Hi, Erin. Transcripts for all interviews may be found by clicking on “The Tim Ferriss Show Transcripts” under “Topics,” found in the right-hand sidebar. Please allow a couple of weeks for the transcript to appear, once the interview has dropped.


  10. Like many of the listeners I am NOTHING like Jocko Willink and only listened to the podcast sort of by accident….and I LOVED it. I am reading his book and finding that riveting but also useful. I bought the warrior kid book and can’t wait to read it to my kids

  11. Jocko Willink is one of those people who seems to believe that everyone should be exactly like him, but what a terrible world it would be if that were true. Two things came out of this podcast – 1) do everything like you are a Navy SEAL and 2) learn Jiu Jitsu. Any important nuggets of wisdom were overshadowed by his one-dimensional viewpoint of life.