Jocko Willink: Sleep, Fasting, Raising Kids, Discipline, Taking Ownership, and the Impact of War – The Peter Attia Drive (Part II)

Check out The Peter Attia Drive Episode Page & Show Notes

Check out the Podcast Notes for Part I

Key Takeaways

  • The future of warfare is fighting robots and drones
  • “Lead a family and your kids the same way you’d lead an organization or a team. If you bark orders at your team, they wont like you, they won’t respect you, and they’re not going to carry out those orders with any sort of commitment.”
  • Jocko has quite the insane sleep routine:
    • On a typical night, he goes to bed at 11 PM and wakes up at 4:30 AM
    • (He rarely consumes caffeine during the day)
    • Jocko appears to be one of those very rare humans that just needs less sleep
  • On fasting:
    • Jocko does a 24-hour fast 1-2x a week and a 72-hour fast once per quarter
    • Peter does a 5-7 day fast once per quarter
    • During a prolonged fast, you start to experience the benefits of autophagy around day 3 (when damaged cells start dying off)
  • Be smart enough to distinguish between quitting on a plan vs. quitting on a goal

Books Mentioned

Products Mentioned

Intro

Where was Jocko on 9/11?

  • He was in college at the time at the University of San Diego, having been forced to attend after enlisting in the Navy
  • Jocko heard about the first plane that hit the towers when he woke up and didn’t think much of it, but when the second plane hit he knew we were under attack
  • Within a few days, in true Jocko fashion, he called up his military adviser (aka his officer detailer) asking if he could leave college and join one of the SEAL Teams to fight in the war he knew as coming
    • But his detailer said had other ideas – “Hey, finish college. This war is going to last a long time.”
  • (Jocko ended up joining the SEALs six months after the Iraqi invasion in 2003 as part of SEAL Team 7) 
    • As background , there are 4 SEAL Teams on each coast of the U.S. – the odd numbered teams are on the west coast and the even numbers are on the west coast)

What will the future of warfare look like?

  • We already have drones that can shoot weapons – those are only going to be more prevalent
  • We’ll also start seeing more “robots”
  • Related thoughts on tech:
    • Robotic surgery devices have made great strides in the operating room with certain procedures (like radical protatectomy to remove a male’s prostate if they have prostate cancer)
      • But certain operations still very much require a human surgeon – like a breast augmentation
    • “Humans inherently trust a human being more than a robot, even if the robot can do a better job” 
    • A little over 1 million people die every year in car accidents caused by humans – so why is it that when a driverless car gets in an accident, it’s front page news?

Parenting Advice

  • Jocko has written a series of kid’s book, partly to pass on some of his wisdom to his kids – “All the things that kids need to know in order to be good humans I put in those books”
  • One of the things that Peter focuses on as a parent is being open with his kids when he makes a mistake (like coming home when he’s in a shitty mood and taking his frustrations out on them) and apologizing when he does so
  • “Lead a family and your kids the same way you’d lead an organization or a team. If you bark orders at your team, they won’t like you, they won’t respect you, and they’re not going to carry out those orders with any sort of commitment.”
    • “The minute you decide you’re going to bark orders at people and impose discipline upon them, they’re going to reject it”

Jocko’s INSANE Sleep Routine

  • Jocko listened to Dr. Matthew Walker’s (author of Why We Sleep) appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience (Podcast Notes)
    • “If what that guy was saying was applicable to me, I would be 120 pounds, I’d be disease-ridden, I’d be weak and depressed, and have bad skin”
  • On a typical night, Jocko goes to bed at 11 PM and wakes up at 4:30 AM
    • He usually gets home from jiu-jitsu around 7:30-8 PM, eats a large dinner, hangs out with his family, does a bit of work, and starts getting ready for bed around 10:30
    • Jocko says he falls asleep almost immediately
  • He sets an alarm (but he only wakes up to it about half the time, often he’ll wake up naturally)
  • Jocko says he might nap ~2 days a week 
    • It’s a VERY short 8-minute nap
  • Does he consume caffeine?
  • Jocko says he’ll frequently wake up in the middle of the night from a bad dream covered in sweat
  • Jocko sleeps on a ChilliPad
  • “I’m not encouraging people to not sleep. I think people should sleep as much as they need. I believe that sleep is important.”
    • It’s just that certain people (like Jocko) genetically need less of it
  • A point from Peter, as discussed in these Podcast Notes:
    • A single night of sleep deprivation impairs the brain’s ability to clear away amyloid plaques (the protein thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease)
    • He adds: 
      • “I look back at the most unhealthy period of my life when I was overweight and heavily insulin resistant… I had historically placed a lot of that blame just on my diet. I now believe at least half of that blame belongs on my sleep deprivation.”

Is Sam Harris right when he says that humans don’t have free will?

  • Related: check out Sam’s book on the topic – Free Will
  • Jocko believes we do have free will due to the fact that humans can clearly make their own choices
    • Sam would argue that your choices don’t really originate from “you” and are more so a reflection of randomness in the brain
    • Sam
  • “Of all the things that Sam Harris writes about, this is the one that bends my brain the most. But here’s where I am today – I still don’t know if I believe in free will.” – Peter

Jocko’s Indulgences

  • He doesn’t drink alcohol
    • After retiring from the Navy, Jocko just stopped drinking it without really thinking about it and continued to this day
  • Jocko is an absolute sucker for 72% dark chocolate and mint chocolate chip milkshakes
  • A tangent on allulose (another type of food sweetener)- from Peter:
    • It’s an enantiomer of fructose (something that has the same chemical nomenclature as fructose, but has one different position as a bond)
    • It’s ~70% as sweet as fructose but it’s not absorbed (it’s excreted by the kidneys)
      • Peter estimates that for every amount you ingest, ~1/10th of it is absorbed
    • Surprisingly, it actually seems to lower blood glucose levels when you consume it

Fasting Routines

  • Jocko does a 24-hour fast 1-2x a week and a 72-hour fast once per quarter
    • He never eats breakfast
  • Peter does a 5-7 day fast once per quarter
  • During a prolonged fast, you start to experience the benefits of autophagy around day 3 (when damaged cells start dying off)
  • “Human beings can go 30 days without food. You can make it 36 hours. Don’t worry, you’re not gonna die.” – Jocko

Jocko’s Favorite Exercises

  • Push-ups, pull-ups, dips
  • Deadlifts 
  • Some kettlebell work
  • LOTS of squats of all types – overhead squats, front squats, back squats

Additional Notes

  • Be smart enough to distinguish between quitting on a plan vs. quitting on a goal
  • Many of life’s problems can be fixed just by taking extreme ownership of the situation
  • Peter will frequently supplement with Doc Parsley’s Sleep Remedy (use the code “podcastnotes” for 10% off at checkout) and phosphatidylserine prior to bed 
  • Jocko’s real name is actually “John”
    • It’s the same name as his dad 
    • His dad wanted Jocko to be a “jock” – hence Jocko – and the name eventually stuck
  • Jocko’s favorite book is About Face
  • Check out this video Jocko did for CNBC: The Navy SEAL ‘spiritual ritual’ for overcoming laziness
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