Jocko Willink Takeover: On Quitting, Relationships, Financial Discipline, Contrast Baths, and More – The Tim Ferriss Show

Check out The Tim Ferriss Show Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Relationship advice: Take ownership of problems
    • Blaming your partner never solves an issue, it only creates an argument
  • “If you want financial freedom, you need financial discipline”Jocko Willink
    • Work hard, save your money, and don’t buy sh*t you don’t need
  • “If you want to be tougher, be tougher”Jocko Willink
  • How to build discipline:
    • Before you go to bed, make a list of what you need to accomplish the following day
    • Afterward, set your alarm clock (0.5-1 hours earlier than you normally would)
    • Then, go to sleep
    • When your alarm clock goes off in the morning, GET UP – DON’T HIT SNOOZE
    • Brush your teeth and immediately work out
    • After you’re done, shower and ATTACK your to-do list
    • Repeat day after day
  • Jocko’s two business principles:
    • “I get involved in businesses that are related to things I know about”
    • “I follow my own leadership principles. The principles that I teach, I utilize them myself.”

Books Mentioned

Intro

  • In this episode, Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) grabs the mic from Tim (@tferriss) to answer listener questions
    • Jocko is the host of the Jocko Podcast, a bestselling author, and a retired United States Navy SEAL

How did Jocko meet his wife? (and other tips on building a successful relationship)

  • Jocko met his wife overseas after cold approaching – he’s now been married for 20 years!
  • “Getting married is probably the most important decision you’re going to make in your life… You REALLY want to make a good decision.” Jocko Willink
    • But here’s the thing: you’ll never find someone who’s 100% perfect. Instead, find someone who’s idiosyncrasies you can tolerate.
  • Jock describes his wife as “emotionally stable and emotionally independent”
    • “If you can find someone that’s emotionally independent, that doesn’t rely on you to prop them up every day, that’s a big benefit” Jocko Willink
  • Relationship advice: Take ownership of problems
    • “If you’re blaming your spouse when things go wrong, that’s not going to work out very well” – Jocko Willink
      • Blaming your partner never solves a problem, it only creates an argument

When should you quit, and when should you persevere?

  • In Navy SEAL team training, the motto was – “NEVER quit”
    • But, after you get through the training, and as a leader, put this motto aside 
  • An essential skill: Be able to pause, step back, and re-evaluate your efforts if things aren’t going as planned
    • This isn’t “quitting,” it’s being smart
  • The fact is: Many people refuse to quit because of ego
  • “Sometimes you have to retreat, but that doesn’t mean you quit the strategic mission”Jocko Willink
    • “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.” 

How should discipline play a role in financial decisions?

  • As you know: Discipline = Freedom
    • “If you want financial freedom, you need financial discipline” – Jocko Willink
      • Work hard, save your money, and don’t buy sh*t you don’t need
  • Jocko walks the talk:
    • He once drove a 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan for 12 years when he was saving up cash
    • Back when he wasn’t all that well-off, Jocko and his wife once slept in the living room so their four kids could split the house’s only 2 bedrooms
    • “Even though I have more money now, I’m still a person that struggles to spend money on things. I’ll research some stupid purchase for three months to figure out if it’s something I really need.” – Jocko Willink

How does Jocko balance his time between working out, running a business, hosting a podcast, and being a father?

  • There’s no secret: it’s a BALANCE
    • “If you focus too much on work, you won’t have a family. If you focus too much on family, you won’t have work.” – Jocko Willink
  • Jocko sacrifices some sleep and often works late into the night after his kids have gone to bed
    • He also works out early in the morning before his kids are awake
  • “I don’t always do a great job of this. I’ve missed some critical events with my kids because of work, and it’s a sad reality.” – Jocko Willink

What values does Jocko hope to impart on his kids?

  • He covers most of this in his book, Way of the Warrior Kid 3, but the importance of:
    • Waking up early
    • Studying to gain knowledge
    • Asking questions if you don’t understand something
    • Exercising and eating healthy
    • Being able to stand up for yourself
    • Treating others with respect
    • Not judging others
    • Being neat, organized, and prepared for action
    • Being humble
    • Staying calm and not losing your temper
    • Working hard and saving money
    • Always doing your best
  • Related: Check out Jocko’s Warrior Kid Podcast

Jocko’s Thoughts on Sexual Harassment and Toxic Masculinity

  • For background:
    • Jocko has spent a decent amount of time around alpha-male types
    • He has one son (age 16), and three daughters (ages 19, 18, and 9)
  • What is toxic masculinity?
    • Taking masculine traits to the extreme (to the point they become negative)
    • This is similar to positive leadership traits, if taken to the extreme, can become negative
      • For example:
        • If you’re a good leader, you need to be aggressive and ambitious (but you can’t be overly aggressive or ambitious)
        • Being non-emotional as a leader is preferable, but if you’re too devoid of emotions, you won’t be able to connect with the people you’re leading

Jocko’s Experience With Cold/HotTherapy

  • “I’m a definitely a believer in contrast baths” Jocko Willink
    • (AKA going from a hot whirlpool to a cold ice bath, both of which Jocko has at his house)
    • Jocko has found that the following cycle works wonders for reliving muscle/joint pain:
      • 5 minutes in the hot tub, followed by 5 minutes in the cold tub
        • Repeat 2x 
      • 4 minutes in the hot tub, followed by 4 minutes in the cold tub
        • Repeat 2x
      • 3 minutes in the hot tub, followed by 3 minutes in the cold tub
        • Repeat 2x
      • 2 minutes in the hot tub, followed by 2 minutes in the cold tub
        • Repeat 2x
      • 1 minute in the hot tub, followed by 1 minute in the cold tub
        • Repeat 2x

Jocko’s Advice for Someone Contemplating Suicide

  • First, waiting until tomorrow
  • Next, go get professional help… immediately 
    • Psychologists are like mechanics for your brain/mind (and your brain/mind can have problems, just like your car has problems)
      • Jocko calls psychologists “mind mechanics”
  • It’s easy to forget that we’re all human
    • The heroes you look up to, like Tim, often face many dark times of their own
      • For more on Tim’s personal struggles, give this episode of Jocko’s podcast a listen
  • Lastly: “There’s darkness out there, and sometimes that darkness surrounds your head. But know that you can get out of it.” Jocko Willink

How to Build Discipline

  • Before you go to bed, make a list of what you need to accomplish the following day
  • Afterward, set your alarm clock (0.5-1 hours earlier than you normally would)
  • Then, go to sleep
  • When your alarm clock goes off in the morning, GET UP – DON’T HIT SNOOZE
  • Brush your teeth and immediately work out
  • After you’re done, shower and ATTACK your to-do list
  • Repeat day after day
    • Eventually, you’ll come to realize that discipline = freedom

How do you build mental toughness and resilience?

  • First realize: you actually already have it
    • “Human beings can survive the most INSANE adversity you can imagine” – Jocko Willink
      • People who survive prison camps aren’t superheroes – they’re ordinary people! They have mental toughness and resilience, AND SO DO YOU.
  • As Jocko said in Tools of Titans:
    • “If you want to be tougher, be tougher”

Parenting Advice

  • If you want your child to learn to love a sport, don’t push it – make it fun for them
  • Always remember: “Your kids are not going to be what you want them to be” Jocko Willink
    • Are you what your parents wanted you to be? – Probably not
    • The more you try to conform your child to be what you want them to be, the more they’ll resent you

How has Jocko managed to be so successful as a businessman?

  • First: “I get involved in businesses that are related to things I know about”
    • The first business Jocko ever started was an MMA gym, Victory MMA
    • Later on in his career, Jocko founded Echelon Front, his leadership consulting company
    • Then, Jocko started a tea company – Jocko White Tea
    • Recently, Jocko got involved with a company called Origin Maine to help sell his supplements
  • Second: “I follow my own leadership principles. The principles that I teach, I utilize them myself.”

Additional Notes

  • One of Jocko’s favorite workouts:
    • Every minute, do 5 burpees followed by as many thrusters (a front squat/push-press combo) as you can with 135 lbs. (or an equally challenging weight)
    • Repeat until you get to 100 total thrusters
    • Jocko adds: “It is a complete soul-crushing, leg destroyer of a workout”
  • If Jocko didn’t go into the military, he probably would have been a cop or firefighter
    • “I like high-stress situations. I enjoy mayhem and chaos… When they hit me, I feel as if I’m utilizing the best of my natural capabilities. I’m calm under pressure, I stay relaxed and detached, and I can look at complex problems and simplify them well.” – Jocko Willink
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