Navy Seal Jocko Willink: The Weird Trick For Overcoming Anxiety & The Reason People Quit!

Navy Seal Jocko Willink: The Weird Trick For Overcoming Anxiety & The Reason People Quit!

Intro (00:00:00)

  • Jocko Willink, a former Navy SEAL officer, shares lessons from his military training that can be applied to business and personal life.
  • Discipline, drive, decision-making under pressure, leadership, strategy, and tactics are key areas covered.
  • Excuses hinder progress, and ownership of problems empowers individuals to find solutions.

“I Wanted to Be a Navy SEAL” (00:02:04)

  • Jocko Willink reflects on his childhood and the origin of his desire to become a soldier or commando.
  • He collected miniature soldiers and was fascinated by the British Commandos.
  • Around the age of 12 or 13, he realized that being a commando was a real career option.
  • He identified the Navy SEAL Teams as the closest American equivalent to British Commandos and applied at the age of 19.

What Is a Navy SEAL and the Special 'Hell' Training (00:03:50)

  • A Navy SEAL is part of the Navy's Special Operations component.
  • The acronym SEAL stands for sea, air, and land, reflecting their training and operations in various environments.
  • SEAL training is challenging, with a high attrition rate.
  • Only about 20% of those who start SEAL training make it through, and the percentage drops to 5% for those under 20 years old.
  • 'Hell Week' is designed to simulate combat and test candidates' ability to keep going in the face of extreme stress and adversity.
  • It involves five and a half days of no sleep, intense physical activity, stress, and pain.
  • Many candidates quit during 'Hell Week'.

What It Takes to Become a Special Force Agent (00:06:58)

  • 80% of those who quit BUD/S quit during the first week.
  • People who succeed in these endurance tasks often have certain character traits, such as internal drive and determination.
  • BUD/S training is designed to identify weaknesses and push individuals to their limits, either making them stronger or causing them to quit.
  • Jocko Willink's personal experience during BUD/S training was one of determination and a refusal to quit, regardless of the challenges he faced.

What Is the Point of Working This Hard? (00:08:59)

  • BUD/S training includes "surf torture," where individuals are forced to sit in cold water until they show signs of hypothermia.
  • The training teaches individuals to keep pushing through difficult and unpleasant situations, even when they are not facing adversity.

Can You Teach This Crazy Drive? (00:10:25)

  • Jocko Willink believes that the "crazy drive" or determination to overcome challenges cannot be directly taught but can be cultivated if an individual possesses an innate seed of passion or fire.
  • He draws examples from prisoners of war and individuals who endured extreme hardships, highlighting the difference in willpower between those who chose to keep going and those who gave up.
  • Jocko Willink shares the story of a guest on his podcast who was shot down in Vietnam and captured.
  • The guest had to endure a seven-month trek through the jungle with his captors while shackled and suffering from wounds gnawed at by rats.
  • Some of the guest's fellow prisoners lacked the intrinsic will to carry on and ultimately perished.

Is Our WHY Important? (00:12:23)

  • Having a strong "why" or purpose can help people overcome adversity and challenges.
  • Examples of strong "whys" include proving someone wrong after rejection or fulfilling a promise to someone who has died.
  • A friend of Jocko's who went through SEAL training thought he was volunteering to be a diver but ended up in SEAL training and still made it through because he was told to do so.
  • The key question is whether someone truly wants to do something or not, as that will determine their ability to overcome obstacles.
  • Most people who don't make it through SEAL training quit, often making excuses such as medical reasons or family problems, rather than admitting that they simply didn't want it enough.

Your Excuses Will Destroy You (00:15:36)

  • Excuses are not friends, they prevent personal growth and hinder the ability to achieve goals.
  • Extreme ownership involves taking responsibility for one's actions and failures, rather than blaming external factors.
  • Confronting personal responsibility can be painful, but it is also empowering as it allows individuals to take control of their lives and fix their problems.
  • Confidence is a belief that can be built or destroyed.
  • Building confidence involves taking ownership of one's actions and confronting personal responsibility.

The Hack to Build Confidence and Belief (00:20:10)

  • Building confidence involves gradually exposing oneself to manageable challenges and tasks, starting with small, achievable tasks and gradually increasing the difficulty as confidence grows.
  • Practice, study, and work consistently to enhance skills and knowledge, which contributes to increased confidence.
  • Public speaking confidence can be built by starting with small audiences and progressively expanding the audience size as confidence improves.
  • Exposure therapy is a useful approach for building confidence by gradually exposing individuals to challenging situations in a controlled manner.
  • Imposter syndrome is a real phenomenon where individuals feel like frauds and fear being exposed as such, which can lower performance and decrease confidence. However, Jocko Willink, a former Navy SEAL, does not view imposter syndrome as a negative thing.

Why Imposter Syndrome Is Necessary (00:25:04)

  • Imposter syndrome can be a good indication of humility, open-mindedness, and willingness to listen.
  • When feeling imposter syndrome, it's important to communicate openly and ask for help when needed.
  • In the Navy SEALs, good leaders have open minds and want to hear others' opinions.
  • Imposing a plan on subordinates can lead to a lack of ownership and understanding of the plan.
  • Being outside the plan allows leaders to see holes and ask questions about it.
  • When leaders are focused on creating a plan, they may miss important details and lack awareness of the battlefield.
  • Leaders should take a step back and detach from the situation to see the entire picture.
  • Being too close to the problem can prevent leaders from seeing the solution.

Why the Special Forces Leaders Ask Their Team for Advice (00:29:22)

  • Jocko Willink believes in involving his team in decision-making and plan execution.
  • He encourages them to come up with their own plans and ideas, even if they are not the best.
  • This approach helps train his team to think critically and develop their own leadership skills.
  • It also fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility among team members.
  • Jocko Willink attributes his success to hard work and a willingness to learn from others.
  • He acknowledges that he was not naturally gifted in any particular area but compensated for it through hard work and dedication.
  • Jocko emphasizes the importance of humility and being open to seeking help when needed.
  • Jocko Willink's military career involved participating in numerous high-stakes and dangerous missions around the world.
  • He highlights the extreme nature of these missions, which the average person cannot comprehend.

The Craziest Missions and Things I've Seen… (00:34:03)

  • Jocko Willink discusses the horrors of war and the atrocities committed by insurgents in Iraq, including torture, mutilation, rape, and beheading.
  • He emphasizes that everyone has their own challenges and traumas, and we should not judge others based on our assumptions.
  • Jocko acknowledges that humans are not meant to be exposed to such extreme violence and trauma, and that it can have lasting psychological effects.

The Dark Side of War and Losing Friends (00:36:56)

  • Jocko Willink believes in acknowledging the existence of evil while also focusing on the good in the world.
  • Losing friends in combat was the most emotionally challenging experience for Jocko Willink during his time as a Navy SEAL.
  • Jocko emphasizes living life to the fullest and honoring fallen friends by pursuing their passions and making the most of life.
  • He observed a pattern in how people emotionally, spiritually, and physically respond to loss, recognizing that waves of uncontrollable emotions are normal and not a sign of weakness.
  • Jocko Willink discusses overcoming anxiety and the reasons why people quit.
  • When faced with a difficult situation, it is normal to feel overwhelmed and lose control of emotions, but these emotions will eventually pass.
  • It is okay to feel vulnerable and express emotions, as suppressing or ignoring them can lead to negative consequences like addiction.
  • Finding a balance between acknowledging emotions and not letting them control one's life is crucial for emotional well-being.

Dealing with Sadness & Grief (00:47:44)

  • Do not make excuses for bad decisions based on emotions.
  • Embrace emotions, but do not let them control your life.
  • Emotions should be a part of decision-making but not the sole factor.
  • Take action and start moving forward even if the direction is uncertain.
  • Overthinking and ruminating can cause more harm than good.
  • Embrace risk and make decisions even in uncertain situations.

Decision Making & Taking Action (00:52:39)

  • Taking small, iterative steps towards a goal is better than waiting for perfect information or certainty.
  • Most decisions are reversible or have less severe consequences than we think, so it's better to make a decision quickly rather than waiting for perfect information.
  • Testing a decision on a small scale before committing significant resources is a good way to mitigate risk.
  • In business, speed and decisiveness are often more important than perfect accuracy.
  • Taking action is crucial, even in uncertain situations, as inaction often leads to failure.
  • The default mode should be to take action, as most human instincts tend towards hesitation and maintaining the status quo.
  • While there are times when hesitation is necessary, action is generally better than inaction 70% of the time.
  • The dichotomy of leadership involves understanding when to take action and when to hold back.
  • Jocko Willink's proudest moments in the SEALs were when he and his team accomplished something great together against the odds, despite the challenges they faced.

From a Leader POV I'm the Proudest When My Team Does This (01:00:19)

  • Jocko Willink finds the most beautiful thing to watch is his team working together exceptionally, protecting each other, and accomplishing the mission.
  • He emphasizes that these moments have nothing to do with him but with the team's ability to execute a plan with decentralized command.

Why You Should Serve Others (01:02:09)

  • In the SEAL Teams, taking care of your friends is a core belief and a prerequisite for being a good SEAL.
  • Putting yourself before the team, even if you are skilled, will make people not want to work with you and hinder your success.
  • The same principle applies in business; people who prioritize self-interest over the team's well-being will eventually face consequences.
  • Conversely, taking care of others leads to reciprocal care and better outcomes.
  • Jocko Willink observes that leaders emerge naturally when they focus on the team, the mission, and supporting their teammates, rather than seeking personal credit.

Don't Do This If You Want a Promotion (01:05:16)

  • Asking for credit decreases your chances of getting it.
  • People can sense when someone is looking out for themselves and they don't like it.
  • It's more important to focus on the mission than on personal recognition.
  • Jocko encountered selfish people in the military.
  • He dealt with them by building good relationships and making them look good.
  • Some people have a strong need for recognition and it's difficult to change them.
  • The ego can be very powerful and lead to mistakes in both the military and business world.
  • Jocko considers the Battle of Ramadi to be the highlight of his life.
  • He went through 20 years of high-intensity combat and adrenaline.

Leaving the Military (01:08:31)

  • Jocko Willink discusses the challenges of transitioning from military life to civilian life.
  • He compares the intensity and sense of purpose in combat to the challenges of everyday life.
  • Willink emphasizes the importance of not dwelling in the past and becoming like "Uncle Rico" from Napoleon Dynamite, who peaked in high school and lives in the past.
  • While he acknowledges the desire to return to combat, Willink recognizes that it would be a different experience and could tarnish his memories of his military service.
  • Jocko Willink's book "Discipline Equals Freedom" challenges the common perception of discipline as restrictive.
  • He argues that discipline leads to more freedom in the long run.
  • For example, lacking the discipline to exercise and eat healthy can lead to health problems and reduced freedom in physical activities.

Why Discipline Equals to Freedom (01:13:39)

  • Discipline leads to freedom in various aspects of life, including health, finances, and time management.
  • Lack of discipline can result in being enslaved to diseases, financial struggles, and lack of free time.
  • Cultivating discipline involves making healthy choices, such as exercising, eating well, and managing time effectively.
  • Starting early in life with disciplined habits can lead to greater freedom and overall progress.
  • Without discipline, individuals may end up in undesirable situations, such as unfulfilling jobs, reliance on others, and health issues.
  • Stress management is crucial for overall well-being.
  • Prioritizing health and exercise can be effective stress relievers.
  • The Whoop device offers a stress monitor with scientifically backed breathing exercises to manage stress.
  • The speaker highly recommends Whoop for stress management.
  • The speaker emphasizes the importance of waking up early, despite personal preferences.
  • Waking up early allows for a more productive start to the day and avoids the need for early morning meetings.
  • Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is essential, especially when dealing with jet lag.

Create a Routine System in Your Life (01:18:40)

  • Prioritize sleep for better overall performance.
  • Establish a consistent wake-up time and bedtime, even on weekends.
  • Incorporate exercise into your morning routine.
  • Wake up early and work out every day.
  • Train Jiu-Jitsu as often as possible.
  • Work every day, even if it's on different projects.
  • People assume that successful individuals like Jocko Willink are perfect in all aspects of their lives.
  • Jocko emphasizes that he has many deficiencies and imperfections.
  • He believes that sharing his imperfections can be liberating and inspiring for others.

The Biggest Misconceptions About the Military and Myself (01:22:11)

  • The biggest misconception about the military is that it is authoritarian and dictatorial.
  • Another misconception is that military leaders are always yelling and screaming.
  • Jocko Willink believes that a good leader should listen more than they talk and should be open-minded to new ideas.
  • He also believes that it is important to keep an open mind and be accepting of other people's ideas.
  • Jocko Willink believes that people often think they have been made leaders because they have lots of correct ideas.
  • As people climb in life, they may start to defend their righteousness at all costs, even when they are not sure they are right.
  • Jocko Willink believes that it is important to hire good people who can tell you what to do, rather than hiring people so you can tell them what to do.

Toxic Masculinity Traits (01:26:02)

  • Toxic influences on masculinity can provide answers to struggling men, but traditional masculine traits taken to extremes can be problematic.
  • Balance is key, avoiding extremes in any direction, even with positive traits like generosity.
  • Traits like competitiveness, aggression, and stoicism should be balanced and not taken to extremes.
  • Finding balance is crucial; extreme emotions or actions can lead to problems, so pay attention to feedback from others to maintain balance in various aspects of life.
  • Accept that life has both highs and lows, and avoid drastic emotional swings.
  • Take responsibility for your actions and life (Extreme Ownership) and strive for balance rather than living in extremes (Dichotomy of Leadership).
  • Discipline leads to freedom, and brotherhood and a sense of purpose are important for fulfillment, which some find in video games due to a lack of it in real life.

Finding Fulfillment & the Importance of Bonding (01:34:45)

  • Jocko Willink, a former Navy SEAL, suggests that engaging in activities that involve shared suffering and camaraderie, such as Jiu-Jitsu, rock climbing, CrossFit, or team sports, can help individuals overcome anxiety and achieve fulfillment.
  • Shared suffering and working together to solve problems create strong bonds, a sense of purpose, and cherished outcomes.
  • Framing challenges as opportunities for growth and building stronger teams turns negative experiences into positive components of personal and professional development.
  • Team-based activities that simulate combat, like survival weeks with laser tag guns and role-playing, help teams bond, learn decision-making under pressure, and apply combat leadership principles to business and life.

The Answer to Achieving Success (01:39:57)

  • Embrace challenges and avoid complacency.
  • Take action and move towards challenges, even if there's a risk of failure.
  • Each challenge faced prepares individuals for future challenges.
  • Life without challenges is mere existence, so actively seek them out.
  • Balance in life is important, but sometimes work demands may require sacrifices.

Work and Life Balance (01:42:09)

  • Jocko Willink acknowledges that he lacked work-life balance during his time in sales and military service.
  • His wife compensated for his absence and managed the household, demonstrating teamwork and support.
  • Jocko expresses deep appreciation for his wife's sacrifices and the support provided by military spouses.
  • He believes his wife understands and appreciates his gratitude, even if he may not always express it adequately.

The Last Guest Question (01:47:24)

  • The guest thanks Jocko for his service and sacrifice.
  • The guest expresses gratitude on behalf of those who cannot thank him personally.
  • The guest acknowledges Jocko's positive impact through his podcast, books, and children's books.
  • The guest highlights the subtle yet significant influence Jocko has had on many people's lives.
  • The guest mentions the specific impact Jocko has had on the guest's friends.
  • The guest emphasizes the vast number of people who have been positively impacted by Jocko's work.

Overwhelmed by Endless Content?