"Discipline Equals Freedom"
Jocko Willink
Jocko Willink
Ex-us navy seal & podcaster

Jocko Willink Quotes on Leadership:

The most fundamental and important truth at the heart of Extreme Ownership: there are no Bad Teams, only Bad Leaders.

Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.

Leaders must always operate with the understanding that they are part of something greater than themselves and their own personal interests.

To implement real change, to drive people to accomplish something truly complex or difficult or dangerous — you can’t make people do those things. You have to lead them.

We learned that leadership requires belief in the mission and unyielding perseverance to achieve victory, particularly when doubters question whether victory is even possible.

On any team, in any organization, all responsibility for success and failure rests with the leader. The leader must own everything in his or her world. There is no one else to blame. The leader must acknowledge mistakes and admit failures, take ownership of them, and develop a plan to win.

A good leader does not get bogged down in the minutia of a tactical problem at the expense of strategic success.

Leadership requires finding the equilibrium in the dichotomy of many seemingly contradictory qualities, between one extreme and another.

Generally, when a leader struggles, the root cause behind the problem is that the leader has leaned too far in one direction and steered off course.

A good leader has nothing to prove, but everything to prove.

The only meaningful measure for a leader is whether the team succeeds or fails. For all the definitions, descriptions, and characterizations of leaders, there are only two that matter: effective and ineffective. Effective leaders lead successful teams that accomplish their mission and win. Ineffective leaders do not.

Leadership is simple, but not easy.

If mistakes happen, effective leaders don’t place blame on others. They take ownership of the mistakes, determine what went wrong, develop solutions to correct those mistakes and prevent them from happening again as they move forward.

Staying ahead of the curve prevents a leader from being overwhelmed when pressure is applied and enables greater decisiveness.

"Don’t expect to be motivated every day to get out there and make things happen. You won’t be. Don’t count on motivation. Count on Discipline.”

Jocko Willink Quotes on Discipline:

With myself, I have to hold the line. There are areas within myself where I CANNOT compromise. I am going to work hard. I am going to train hard. I am going to improve myself. I am not going to rest on my laurels. I am going to own my mistakes and confront them. I am going to face my demons. I’m not going to give up, or give out, or give in. I’m going to stand. I am going to maintain my self-discipline. And on those points there will be No Compromise. NOT NOW.  NOT EVER.
Although discipline demands control and asceticism, it actually results in freedom. When you have the discipline to get up early, you are rewarded with more free time.
The moment the alarm goes off is the first test; it sets the tone for the rest of the day. The test is not a complex one: when the alarm goes off, do you get up out of bed, or do you lie there in comfort and fall back to sleep? If you have the discipline to get out of bed, you win—you pass the test.
Instead of letting the situation dictate our decisions, we must dictate the situation.
Motivation is fickle. It comes and goes. It is unreliable and when you are counting on motivation to get your goals accomplished—you will likely fall short.
Discipline is the difference between being good and exceptional.
Self-discipline is the root quality that will improve every aspect of your life.
GET UP AND GO. Take the risk, take the gamble, take the first step. Take action. And don’t let another day slip by.
Discipline is about doing things you don’t necessarily want to do but that you know will help you or your team.
The reason why Discipline is hard to maintain is because it is hard to maintain. It takes work.
Getting better isn’t a hack or a trick or a one change that you need to make. Getting better is a campaign. It’s a daily, weekly, an hourly fight. Against weakness, temptation, and laziness. It’s a campaign of discipline. A campaign of hard work and dedication. Waking up early, going to bed late, and grinding out every second in between.
While discipline and freedom seem like they sit on the opposite sides of the spectrum, they are actually very connected.
Discipline can seem like it’s your worst enemy. But the reality is, Discipline is your best friend.

"If you want to be a good leader, you have to understand human nature. And the places where human nature reveals itself most clearly are times of extreme sorrow, pain, suffering, and inhumanity."

Trust is built on relationships, relationships are built on trust.
When I look back at my career in the Navy, in the SEAL teams, just about every single thing I ever did was through relationships.
If I’m manipulating you, I’m trying to get you to do something that’s going to benefit me. If I’m leading, I’m trying to get you to do something that’s going to benefit you, that’s going to benefit the team, and it’s going to benefit the mission.
If you want to see what happens to human beings, how they behave, see what they do in a concentration camp.
When you’re sending an email to someone and you’re typing like this (typing angry), don’t send that email. That’s not a good email to send. Wait. Write it out, fine. And then, save it. And read it later and you’ll realize ‘Oh yeah, I was really mad about something. I was frustrated.’
If I want to gain the ability to influence you, what I have to do is give you the ability to influence me.
When you want to earn respect, give respect. When you want to earn influence, give influence. When you want to earn trust, give trust. All those three are related.
You’re not going to be great at everything. But you can get better as long as you have the discipline, put your mind to it, and are willing to work hard.
If you have discipline now, it’ll give you freedom in the future.



Jocko Willink is a retired United States Navy SEAL, Podcaster, Entrepreneur, and Author. He served from 1990 to 2010 in the United States Navy and received the Silver Star and Bronze Star for his service in the Iraq war.

Jocko WIllink co-authored Extreme Ownership and The Dichotomy of Leadership with fellow Navy SEAL Leif Babin. He is also the author of Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual, Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual, and The Way of the Warrior Kid Book Series.

Along with Leif Babin, he co-founded Echelon Front, a leadership consulting company. He hosts a weekly podcast called the Jocko Podcast with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner Echo Charles.