jocko willink

Fighting, Fitness, Binary Decision Making. The Path of Discipline Leads to Freedom | Jocko Podcast #260

Key Takeaways

  • “There is no easy way. There is only hard work, late nights, early mornings, practice, rehearsal, repetition, study, sweat, blood, toil, frustration, and discipline.” Jocko Willink
    • “Discipline: the root of all good qualities. The driver of daily execution. The core principle that overcomes laziness and lethargy and excuses.” 
  • The best time to start? NOW.
    • “Stop thinking about it, stop dreaming about it, stop researching every aspect of it, and reading all about it, and debating the pros and cons of it. Start doing it.” – Jocko Willink
  • Zero stress is not good because it leads to regression
  • The better you treat yourself and the healthier you are, the less sleep you will need
    • Sleep is necessary for recovery. If you are healthy and need to recover less then you will need less sleep.
  • Jocko advises that the smartest option in a combative situation is to walk/run away
  • “The ultimate form of self-defense is the firearm. It is an equalizer without parallel.”Jocko Willink
    • But guns are not available nor are they practical in every situation which is why you should also learn hand-to-hand combat
    • “If you’re going to have a firearm, you damn well better train with it”
  • Knowledge without action is useless
    • “The only thing that matters is that you actually DO” – Jocko Willink

Intro

  • Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) is a podcaster, author, and a retired United States Navy SEAL
  • Co-host: Echo Charles (@echocharles)

Books Mentioned

  • Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual by Jocko Willink
    • These Podcast Notes are based on Jocko’s analysis of his book. If you find these notes valuable then you will find the book valuable too. 

Discipline

  • “There is no easy way. There is only hard work, late nights, early mornings, practice, rehearsal, repetition, study, sweat, blood, toil, frustration, and discipline.” Jocko Willink
    • “Discipline: the root of all good qualities. The driver of daily execution. The core principle that overcomes laziness and lethargy and excuses.” 
    • “How do you achieve freedom? There is only one way. The way of discipline.” 

Procrastination

  • The best time to start? NOW.
    • “Stop thinking about it, stop dreaming about it, stop researching every aspect of it, and reading all about it, and debating the pros and cons of it. Start doing it.” – Jocko Willink
    • If you’re reading this and you’re putting something off, just start
  • The idea of being successful is sweeter than the work it takes to get there for most
    • “Impose your will to make it happen” – Jocko Willink
  • We imagine ourselves as independent people, but the social pressure is ingrained in our DNA and is incredibly effective
    • It remains true that you are whoever you surround yourself with
    • If you hang around unsuccessful, lazy people then you too will be lazy and unsuccessful

Stress

  • Take comfort in the fact that any stress you experience cannot match up to the stress of your forefathers 
    • Would you rather be stressed about work or fight at the Battle of the Somme?
  • “Humans can withstand almost inconceivable stress” – Jocko Willink
    • However much stress you think you can withstand, triple it and that’s the true level of stress you can withstand 
  • “Don’t stress about things that you can’t control. If the stress is something that you can control and you are NOT, that is a lack of discipline.” – Jocko Willink
  • Zero stress is not good because it leads to regression

Binary Decision Making

  • Sometimes, it’s necessary to shed human-level thinking and operate in binary like a machine 
    • “Are you going to work out, yes or no? Are you going to get off the couch, yes or no? Are you going to eat that donut, yes or no?” – Jocko Willink
    • “Are you going to be healthy or unhealthy? Are you going to improve your life? Are you going to sacrifice long-term success for short-term gratification? – Jocko Willink
  • You already know the answers so don’t overcomplicate decision-making

Sleep

  • “The world is yours when you’re up before the enemy” – Jocko Willink
    • “There’s no traffic, the gym is empty, there’s no one to distract you”
  • While we all know the benefits of sleep, you should be healthy enough to go without it and still perform at a high level
  • Jocko is one of these people who genetically need less sleep than the average person
    • “I’m not trying to sleep less. I’m more than happy to sleep, but it just doesn’t happen.” – Jocko Willink
    • He notes that he has seen this characteristic in his daughter also who only needs a few hours of sleep
  • The better you treat yourself and the healthier you are, the less sleep you will need
    • Sleep is necessary for recovery. If you are healthy and need to recover less then you will need less sleep.
  • “How can we get enough sleep and still wake up early? The answer is simple: go to bed earlier.” – Jocko Willink
  • If you’re not active throughout the day then you won’t be tired when it’s time for bed, so be physically active during the day
    • “If your mind is still active when you reach your bedtime, get into bed and get a book and start reading. Reading is relaxing, it settles your mind, and it makes you smarter.” – Jocko Willink
  • Above all, make your sleep schedule consistent

Self-defense

  • Jocko advises that the smartest option in a combative situation is to walk/run away
    • You don’t know what the other person’s mental state is, what they’re carrying, or if there are more people around
  • “Everyone should train in martial arts just as everyone should eat. But just as food is different and varies greatly in how it affects your body, not all martial arts are created equal.” – Jocko Willink
    • Some people become attached to a particular style of a martial art without realizing that these are simply constantly evolving movements designed for combat
    • Modern warfare and the UFC has shown which combat techniques are the most effective
      • For example, kung-fu has been shown to largely be a tool for mental strength rather than an actually effective combat form
  • Fundamentals of self-defense:
    • Grappling
      • “Start with Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It is a form of grappling that is highly advanced because for the most part the actual fighting takes place on the ground…and one of the most critical parts of Brazilian jiu-jitsu is escaping someone’s grip so you can run away” – Jocko Willink
      • You may not enjoy grappling, but it’s essential. When someone decides to grapple with you, you have to grapple with them.
      • “The physical grind of wrestling hardens the body and mind without mercy. On top of the conditioning and mental toughness derived from wrestling, it is also the king of position in martial arts” – Jocko Willink
    • Striking
      • Boxing is a fundamental necessity if you’re going to learn how to protect yourself
      • “Boxing develops the ability to hit quickly, avoid being hit, and run away from the area of confrontation” – Jocko Willink
      • After mastering boxing fundamentals you can start learning Muay Thai in order to further improve your striking abilities
        • “Where boxing utilizes only two fists, Muay Thai utilizes fists, elbows, knees, and the shins in very aggressive combinations that are absolutely devastating in a fight” – Jocko Willink
    • Weapons
      • Kali/Arnis, the national martial art of the Philippines, is very effective in teaching you how to use melee weapons
      • Firearm usage is expanded upon in the next section 
  • “Perhaps the most critical form of self-defense is the mind. By being smart and aware you can avoid situations that are likely to expose you to danger.” – Jocko Willink
    • “That being said, there are times when your mind and intelligence can no longer help you”

Firearms

  • “The ultimate form of self-defense is the firearm. It is an equalizer without parallel.”Jocko Willink
    • But guns are not available nor are they practical in every situation which is why you should also learn hand-to-hand combat
  • An underrepresented aspect of firearm usage is the mental toughness required to properly utilize them in high-pressure situations
  • “If you’re going to have a firearm, you damn well better train with it”Jocko Willink
  • “Firearms are freaking loud, way louder than anything you can portray in movies” – Jocko Willink
    • Using a firearm indoors without hearing protection is almost guaranteed to mess up your hearing

Food

  • General foods to avoid:
    • Grains, gold potatoes, refined sugars, refined salts, processed oils
  • “Sugar is truly addictive. It stimulates the same parts of the brain as heroin and cocaine.” – Jocko Willink
    • This is why it feels so good to eat and why people have withdrawal symptoms when abstaining from sugar
  • Just like with any addiction, when you attempt to quit sugar your brain will rationalize why you should have sugar
  • You don’t have to eat constantly throughout the day
    • Our ancestors for millennia went through periods without food and our bodies have evolved for this
    • “Humans can survive 30 days without food, [so] you can make it an extra few hours. You can actually make it an extra few days without an issue.” – Jocko Willink
  • “Fasting will re-calibrate what hunger is to you. You will realize that you aren’t actually hungry most of the time, you’re just bored.”Jocko Willink

Injury & Illness

  • No matter how fit you are and how clean you eat, you are still only human and will experience injuries and illnesses
  • If you have problems, do what you can. Injury and illness is not an excuse to regress in your progress.
    • It’s all too common for people to use an illness or injury as an excuse for laziness
    • If you hurt your leg then focus on your arms. If you hurt an arm go work on your legs. If you have the flu then go for a short walk.
  • “Sometimes you get plain knocked-out by illness or a virus. If it’s that bad and your body absolutely needs rest, listen to your body and take the rest.”

Take Action

  • Knowledge without action is useless
  • “Don’t just read this book, don’t just listen to the podcast, don’t just watch videos online, don’t just take notes, don’t just study them, don’t just share them with your friends, don’t just plan, don’t just mark your calendar, don’t just get motivated, don’t just talk, don’t just think, don’t just dream. None of that matters.” – Jocko Willink
    • “The only thing that matters is that you actually DO”
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Notes By TD

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