Jocko Willink: The Way of the Violent Intellectual – The Portal

Key Takeaways

  • There is a dichotomy to all advice – this is why Jocko and Lief Babin wrote The Dichotomy of Leadership
    • A leader must talk, but not talk too much 
    • A leader must be aggressive, but not reckless
  • To make good decisions, a leader must keep their emotions under control
    • A leader who is too emotional will make decisions based on how they feel and neglect to think about the logic or reasoning behind their actions
  • One of the best ways to build bonds is to do hard things with people
  • There are 3 things that made Jocko feel like a man:
    • Learning how to fight and defend himself
    • Experiencing combat and doing his job in the face of danger 
    • Becoming a husband and father
  • Combat forces you to face your own mortality
    • People go through life without ever facing death because it’s so far away that they can ignore it. But in war, you can’t ignore it; it’s in front of your face every day.
  • Violence is a language every human being understands
    • It’s a form of communication stronger than words

Intro

Books Mentioned

Who is Jocko Willink?

  • Jocko:
    • Was born and raised in a small New England town and joined the military shortly after finishing high school
    • Went to college at the University of San Diego and majored in English
    • Did two deployments to Iraq
  • After retiring from the Navy, Jocko began to consult businesses about leadership and later launched his own consulting company – Echelon Front
    • Many of the businesses he was was working with wanted his teachings in writing, so Jocko and his teammate Leif Babin published Extreme Ownership 
  • Jocko also hosts the Jocko Podcast and has written several children books including Mikey and the Dragons and Way of the Warrior Kid

Military Culture

  • The military and special operations units have different cultures, but so do colleges and businesses
    • If you go to a Metallica concert, you’ll find a culture where everyone dresses and acts the same
    • The world is filled with different cultures – the military is just one example
  • The military isn’t perfect, but it does an excellent job of taking everyday people and giving them a clean slate as well as guidelines for a successful career
    • The military doesn’t care where you’re from, who your parents are, your race, etc.
  • In every culture, including the military, there are good and bad leaders

The Dichotomy of Advice

  • Ego is a dichotomy
    • You need to have an ego but you also have to stay humble
  • It’s difficult to give general advice because everyone’s different
    • When Jocko talks to both executives and young SEALs, one key piece of advice he focuses on is telling them them to stay humble 
    • But, when Jocko talks to young inner-city kids who are underprivileged and beaten down, he certainly doesn’t need to tell them to be humble – instead, tries to get them to increase their confidence
  • There is a dichotomy to all advice – this is why Jocko and Lief Babin wrote The Dichotomy of Leadership
    • A leader must talk, but not talk too much 
    • A leader must be aggressive, but not reckless

Emotions & Bonds

  • People talk a lot about critical thinking, but not a lot about critical feeling. To make good decisions, a leader must keep their emotions under control.
    • A leader who is too emotional will make decisions based on how they feel and neglect to think about the logic or reasoning behind their actions.
      • No one respects a leader who constantly loses their temper 
      • However, you can’t be emotionless – no one wants to follow a robot
      • (Once again, we see a dichotomy)
  • Sometimes people “over-think” things and other times they “over-feel” things
  • Masculinity isn’t inherently bad – if you take any trait to an extreme, then it turns bad
    • Be assertive and brave, but don’t be stupid
  • One of the best ways to build bonds is to do hard things with people
    • This is why there are strong bonds in the military – people experience boot camp, training, and combat with their teammates and thus form tight bonds
    • Employees at companies that survived the 2008 economic crash became closer because of it 
    • That said – People also form bonds by getting into trouble together and escaping it

War, Combat, & Death

  • The highest form of competition is war closely followed by fighting
    • Once you learn how to fight, you tend not to fight because you realize how stupid it is
      • If you want to fight someone, do it on the mat, not on the street
  • There are 3 things that made Jocko feel like a man:
    • Learning how to fight and defend himself
    • Experiencing combat and doing his job in the face of danger 
    • Becoming a husband and father
  • Death is very remote in our lives today
    • Funerals do closed-casket ceremonies, rarely do people go to cemeteries anymore, etc.
  • Combat forces you to face your own mortality
    • People go through life without ever facing death because it’s so far away that they can ignore it. But in war, you can’t ignore it; it’s in front of your face every day.
    • If you survive combat, you realize how beautiful life is and you become more grateful for every moment
  • War is absolutely horrible
    • In Ramadi, in 2006, Jocko saw people being skinned alive, beheaded, tortured, and raped
      • A little background: From 2007 to 2014, due to the efforts of the U.S. military, Ramadi was completely peaceful. However, around 2015, ISIS came in and retook the city.
  • Violence is a language every human being understands
    • It’s a form of communication stronger than words
  • Most Americans are sheltered from the violence of war
    • In 2006, when Jocko was in Ramadi and getting hit with mortar shells, most Americans were heading to the mall or Starbucks without knowing much about the war in Iraq
    • People would rather keep up with the Kardashians than the war their country is part of 
  • If you’re going to war, you need to have the will to kill – you have to be okay with knowing you WILL kill innocent people. There will ALWAYS be casualties.
    • You also need to have the will to die – no matter how tactical and sophisticated your technology is, soldiers will die

Additional Notes

  • One of Jocko’s favorite books is About Face by Colonel David H. Hackworth
    • Hackworth had the courage to say that the strategy in Vietnam was not ideal and ended up being kicked out of the military because he fought for what he believed in
  • If you give people ownerships of things, they take it and do a better job than simply telling them what to do
  • Leadership involves followership
    • If you can’t follow, you won’t be able to lead
  • The best leaders know when it’s time to let others take over
  • Mistakes WILL happen in combat
    • In Extreme Ownership, Jocko talks about an event that resulted in a blue on blue (friendly forces killing one of their guys)
      • When you’re in charge, everything that happens is on you – Jocko begins the book by talking about how he took full-responsibility for the blue on blue incident
  • Discipline = Freedom
    • If you want financial freedom, you need to be disciplined with your finances
  • Sometimes you need to detach: Take a step back from the situation and look at the big picture

Portal with Eric Weinstein : , , , , ,
Notes By Alex Wiec

More Notes on these topics

Top Insights and Tactics From

31 Best Podcasts of All Time

FREE when you join over 12,000 subscribers to the
Podcast Notes newsletter

No Thanks
Array
(
    [type] => 8
    [message] => Constant DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT already defined
    [file] => /var/www/vhosts/podcastnotes.org/httpdocs/wp-config.php
    [line] => 20
)