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Jocko Willink: How to Become Resilient, Forge Your Identity & Lead Others | Huberman Lab Podcast 104 with Andrew Huberman (Preview)

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Key Takeaways (Preview) 

  • Rarely is there a single moment when you understand discipline, leadership, or detachment; discovering self-identity is more of a gradual process
  • The actions that you take today will either positively or negatively impact your future; act accordingly 
  • Combat is much different than garrison; nothing goes as planned in combat, and the authoritarian-types do not perform well in the chaos
  • Get up when your alarm goes off the morning; don’t overthink it  
  • Jocko Willink’s workouts can be anywhere from 8 minutes to three hours
  • Jocko doesn’t eat a big meal until he’s done with doing the physical stuff for the day, which is usually around 6:00 pm or 7:00 pm 
  • You can create your own energy; high-intensity, anaerobic-blast-type exercises give Jocko the most energy for the rest of the day 
  • There is a cluster of chemicals in each of us called catecholamines, which consist of dopamine, epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine, and cortisol; these compounds have enough energy to power our brain and body for 50 days 
  • Stanford’s lab is finding that brief cold exposure prior to physical activity is improving athletic performance, most likely because it wakes the athletes up and creates neural energy for them

Intro 

  • Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) is a retired United States Navy officer who served in the Navy SEALs and is a former member of SEAL Team 3. He is the host of the Jocko Podcast, and author of several books including Extreme Ownership, The Dichotomy of Leadership, and Way of the Warrior Kid. He also runs several companies, including Echelon Front, ORIGIN, and Jocko Fuel
  • In this conversation, Jocko Willink and Dr. Andrew Huberman discuss identity, leadership, movement, nutrition, exercise, deliberate cold exposure, BUDS, mindsets in the military, confidence, generators vs. projectors, motivation, neural vs. caloric energy, Navy SEAL culture, detachment, suicide, family, social media, combat, mental resilience, positive action, sleep, political leadership, and much more
  • Check out these Podcast Notes from Lex Fridman’s conversation with Dr. Huberman
  • Host: Andrew Huberman (@hubermanlab)  

Sense of Self, Discovery, and Autonomy

  • Rarely is there a single moment when you realize discipline, leadership, or detachment; discovering self-identity is more of a gradual process
  • A Hungarian school of psychology believed there were two types of people: generators and projectors
    • From a young age, generators realize that they can impact other people positively or negatively by creating and building things  
    • Projectors prefer to reflect on what they see 
  • You get a clean slate when you join the military; no one cares if you were the captain of the football team or if you failed your SATs
  • In the military, performing the tasks that you are assigned should result in you getting more control over your own destiny 
  • The ultimate compensation for humans is to have more control over their destiny 
  • Realize that your actions today not only impact what will happen to you in the next hour, day, or week, but it will also impact you over the next five years 
  • The actions that you take today will either positively impact your future, or negatively impact your future 
  • Jocko’s life became better the more he focused on doing the things that would positively impact his future 

Mindsets in the Military: Garrison vs. Combat 

  • The book On the Psychology of Military Incompetence by Norman F. Dixon changed the way that Jocko thought about personalities in the military 
  • The military appears to be a perfectly orderly organization from the outside looking in 
  • It can be an attractive place for people that are more authoritarian, and also for people that want to be told what to do 
  • The term “garrison” refers to a non-combat environment
  • People with the authoritarian mindset do better when in garrison because things are orderly and predictable 
  • Combat is much different than garrison; nothing goes as planned in combat, and the authoritarian-types do not perform well in the chaos 
  • The person that thrives in combat has a more open mind 
  • It’s common for the people that thrive in combat to not perform well in garrison because their weapon is ready for combat, not inspection, for example 
  • … 

The Different Branches of The Military

  • The stereotypical marine is pretty close to the actual marine
  • The Marine Corps has an incredibly strong culture 
  • There stereotypes of each brand of the military exist for a reason, but they are obviously not all true down to the level of the individual    
  • Jocko Willink recommends the book By Water Beneath The Walls: The Rise of The Navy Seals by Benjamin Milligan, calling it the best book on the history of the Navy Seals 
  • Decentralized command is one of the strengths of the Navy SEAL teams 

Daily Workouts & Discipline 

  • Jocko Willink’s workouts can be anywhere from 8 minutes to three hours
  • He says he could fill his entire day with physical activity if he didn’t have anything going on 
  • Wake up early and get a sweat going 
  • Jocko does it all (lifting heavy, cardio, kettlebells, bodyweight) and shares the he is not really good at any one aspect of physical activity 
  • If Jocko only has a few minutes to work out in the morning, then he will ramp up the intensity and make every minute count 
  • Jocko logs his workouts so he can reflect back on what he was doing 

Energy & Movement, Cortisol, & Nutrition 

  • Get up when your alarm goes off the morning; don’t overthink it  
  • You will get energy from working out and you will feel better 
  • You have to go “really, really hard” to feel more tired after a workout than when you started it 
  • Andrew Huberman will sometimes crash in the afternoon after a hard workout if he was over-caffeinated and doesn’t nourish afterwards
    • He may also crash from over-nourishing after an intense workout 
  • “I find that eating slows me down.”Jocko Willink 
  • “The main reason I got into the habit of waking up early and working out is because if you do it before anyone else is awake, then they can’t bother you and you can get stuff done.” – Jocko Willink 
  • Jocko does not like to do physically active things with food in his stomach 
  • Jocko Willink doesn’t eat a big meal until he’s done with doing the physical stuff for the day, which is usually around 6:00 pm or 7:00 pm 
  • The ideal meal schedule is the one that allows you to sleep well at night – whatever that means for you – and that allows you to be active and focused when you need to be   
  • Jocko doesn’t eat before meeting with clients, doing a podcast, or when he used to go on combat missions  
  • You get a certain level of mental clarity when you haven’t eaten a bunch of food 
  • “I don’t want to have food in my stomach when I’ve got to perform or execute anything.” – Jocko Willink 
  • People over-index on the importance of caloric energy and under-index on the importance of energy from cortisol or neural energy
  • There is a cluster of chemicals in each of us called catecholamines, which consist of dopamine, epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine, and cortisol; these compounds have enough energy to power our brain and body for 50 days 
  • When we take in caloric energy, it takes neural energy to digest it and put it into storage 
  • Like Jocko, Andrew Huberman does not eat before he trains; he prefers to hydrate and caffeinate 

Exercise & Energy, Deliberate Cold Exposure 

  • High-intensity anaerobic-blast type exercises give Jocko the most energy for the rest of the day
    • Sprints on the air bike or rower, or swinging a kettlebell hard
  • Jocko Willink has a cold tub at his house and he gets in every day for five minutes after he trains 
  • Football players and cross country runners at Stanford have been experimenting with doing cold exposure before they train because of the massive long-lasting increase in dopamine and adrenaline that it causes 
  • Stanford’s lab is finding that brief cold exposure prior to physical activity is improving athletic performance, most likely because it wakes the athletes up and creates neural energy for them
  • Cold exposure for 30-60 seconds is like a 4-shot of espresso without all the jitters 
  • Dopamine can increase 2.5x after cold exposure and can last for several hours
  • If you’re training really hard, getting in the cold after exercise may blunt some hypertrophy 
  • “I am a big fan of deliberate cold exposure mostly for the neural effects.” Andrew Huberman      

Win vs. Loss Mindset

  • There is a theory in biology that when we win, we somehow get more energy to win more through the release of dopamine 
  • Testosterone in both men and women is a close cousin of the dopamine system; the patterns of their release are actually from the same general areas in the brain
  • The selection process of the SEAL teams is going to weed out a bunch of people that can’t recover quickly from something bad
  • You are not going to “win” in BUDS training; the training officers will find out what you are not good at, they will exploit it, and you will lose 
  • It is common for people to quit BUDS because they are not used to losing 
  • There is a massive attrition rate at BUDS for giga-chad studs and division one athletes

Leadership 

  • When you are a leader of an organization, you are basically in charge of a mob when it comes to their morale 
  • As a leader, you cannot get caught up with the mob 
  • Mentally detach yourself from the mob so that you don’t get caught up in their emotions and their morale
  • If you get caught up in their emotions and their morale, you can’t correct it   
  • Bring the mob back to centerline when things are either too good or too bad 
  • An important job of the leader is to counter whatever the mob mentality is at the time 

Action & Energy

  • Andrew Huberman believes that much of the energy referenced in Eastern medicine has to do with the catecholamines (dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol) 
  • Andrew believes that the reward systems in the brain amplify when you’re working and training with people that you love

Confidence, Generators vs. Projectors, Family 

  • Overconfidence can lead to poor performance 
  • A leader must emotionally detach from the situation so she can properly assess the situation 
  • Generators know how to tap into their reward systems and they love doing so, whereas the process may be more foreign to projectors  
  • Projectors can also tap into these systems, but they generally prefer to be observers in the world and to partner with generators 
  • Be the person that modulates the confidence and ego of those you care about, including yourself
    • Modulate it instead of turning it all the way up or all the way down
  • Provide balance for people so they don’t get out of control
  • Those that experience a “downfall” tend to have been surrounded by others that never countered their emotions
  • Andrew first interfaced with Jocko’s message when Jocko was a guest on the Tim Ferriss show and the Joe Rogan Experience in 2014 

Restoring Motivation: Social Connection & Play 

Self-Identity & Context, Alcohol

  • Having a strong sense of self allows you to function in different contexts without losing who you are 
  • After seeing the number of people destroy themselves with alcohol, Jocko does not think people should drink
    • He understands why they do, but that is separate from whether or not they should at all 

Motivation Sources & Recovering from Loss 

  • Jocko Willink does not rely on motivation because it is an emotion that comes and goes 
  • Discipline drives Jocko’s daily actions, not motivation 
  • The depth of emotion that we feel when we lose someone has everything to do with our love for them

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Notes By Stan Rizzo

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