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Quotes by Jocko Willink

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Jocko Willink. We hope you enjoy pondering them and please share widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Jocko Willink

John Gretton "Jocko" Willink (born September 8, 1971) is an American author, podcaster, and retired naval officer who served in the Navy SEALs.

His military service included combat actions in the war in Iraq, where he eventually commanded SEAL Team 3's Task Unit Bruiser that fought in the battle against the Iraqi insurgents in Ramadi, and was honored with the Silver Star and Bronze Star for his service. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

Willink co-authored the books Extreme Ownership and The Dichotomy of Leadership (with fellow retired SEAL Leif Babin) and co-founded the management consulting firm Echelon Front, LLC. Willink hosts a weekly podcast with Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioner Echo Charles, called the Jocko Podcast.

Quote: Leadership requires belief in the mission and unyielding perseverance to achieve victory. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of silhouette of person jumping in mid air
Photo Credit: Aziz Acharki

Leadership requires belief in the mission and unyielding perseverance to achieve victory.


Quote: Everyone wants some magic pill -- some life hack -- that eliminates the need to do the work. But that does not exist. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

Everyone wants some magic pill -- some life hack -- that eliminates the need to do the work. But that does not exist.


Quote: If I'm going to get you to do stuff, I need to lead you. I can't just order you to do it. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

If I'm going to get you to do stuff, I need to lead you. I can't just order you to do it.


Quote: If I went back to my 20-year-old self, what I would tell my 20-year-old self is, 'You don't know anything.' Because everyone, when they're young, they think they know what's going on in the world, and you don't. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

If I went back to my 20-year-old self, what I would tell my 20-year-old self is, 'You don't know anything.' Because everyone, when they're young, they think they know what's going on in the world, and you don't.


Quote: If someone attacks me, and they want to punch or kick me, I can just run away. They're not holding onto me. I can get away from them. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

If someone attacks me, and they want to punch or kick me, I can just run away. They're not holding onto me. I can get away from them.


Quote: The thing about Jiu Jitsu is it is also not for everybody. It can be very humiliating and humbling. If you have a hard time dealing with the fact that someone smaller than you may be able to tap you out, it is going to be difficult. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

The thing about Jiu Jitsu is it is also not for everybody. It can be very humiliating and humbling. If you have a hard time dealing with the fact that someone smaller than you may be able to tap you out, it is going to be difficult.


Quote: It's really hard to guarantee things in life. I guarantee if you get up in the morning and you work out, and you work hard, you will have a better day -- 100% guaranteed. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

It's really hard to guarantee things in life. I guarantee if you get up in the morning and you work out, and you work hard, you will have a better day -- 100% guaranteed.


Quote: We record when I have a hole in the schedule. Sometimes night, sometimes afternoon, sometimes morning -- we fit it in when we can. I prep for episodes all the time. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

We record when I have a hole in the schedule. Sometimes night, sometimes afternoon, sometimes morning -- we fit it in when we can. I prep for episodes all the time.


Quote: We have food all around us all the time, and if we haven't eaten for three hours, we think we're starving. You're not starving -- human beings can go for 30 days without food. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

We have food all around us all the time, and if we haven't eaten for three hours, we think we're starving. You're not starving -- human beings can go for 30 days without food.


Quote: I don't pick up toys. I crush them. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

I don't pick up toys. I crush them.


Quote: Your success, or lack of success, is your responsibility. Even when you have a chain of command that you don't like as well, its your responsibility to work with the up chain of command. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

Your success, or lack of success, is your responsibility. Even when you have a chain of command that you don't like as well, its your responsibility to work with the up chain of command.


Quote: Jiu Jitsu is a great workout both mentally and physically. You want to be strong for it and flexible for it. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

Jiu Jitsu is a great workout both mentally and physically. You want to be strong for it and flexible for it.


Quote: If I've got something do. I'm going to attack it. I'm going to attack that stress. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

If I've got something do. I'm going to attack it. I'm going to attack that stress.


Quote: Freedom is what everyone wants -- to be able to act and live with freedom. But the only way to get to a place of freedom is through discipline. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

Freedom is what everyone wants -- to be able to act and live with freedom. But the only way to get to a place of freedom is through discipline.


Quote: Getting out of bed is like the foundation of the discipline, and I think it carries over into everything else. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

Getting out of bed is like the foundation of the discipline, and I think it carries over into everything else.


Quote: I'm not a complete psychopath. Am I partially? Sure. I'll accept that. But I'm not a complete psychopath. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

I'm not a complete psychopath. Am I partially? Sure. I'll accept that. But I'm not a complete psychopath.


Quote: Things won't get better dwelling on the past. Accept what has happened. Then move forward. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

Things won't get better dwelling on the past. Accept what has happened. Then move forward.


Quote: The more you practice, the better you get, the more freedom you have to create. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

The more you practice, the better you get, the more freedom you have to create.


Quote: While discipline and freedom seem like they sit on opposite sides of the spectrum, they are actually very connected. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

While discipline and freedom seem like they sit on opposite sides of the spectrum, they are actually very connected.


Quote: I would say there are some foods that I strongly recommend that you do not eat. No. 1 on that list, I believe, is doughnuts. Comfort food. Zero value. Don't eat them. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

I would say there are some foods that I strongly recommend that you do not eat. No. 1 on that list, I believe, is doughnuts. Comfort food. Zero value. Don't eat them.


Quote: It's not fun to get out of bed early in the morning. When the alarm goes off, it doesn't sing you a song: it hits you in the head with a baseball bat. So how do you respond to that? Do you crawl underneath your covers and hide? Or do you get up, get aggressive, and attack the day? by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of Jocko Willink quote: It's not fun to get out of bed early in the morning. When the alarm goes off, it doesn't sing you a song: it hits you in the head with a baseball bat. So how do you respond to that? Do you crawl underneath your covers and hide? Or do you get up, get aggressive, and attack the day?- black text on quotes background

It's not fun to get out of bed early in the morning. When the alarm goes off, it doesn't sing you a song: it hits you in the head with a baseball bat. So how do you respond to that? Do you crawl underneath your covers and hide? Or do you get up, get aggressive, and attack the day?


Quote: Every day is a major balancing act that I have to figure out and coordinate. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

Every day is a major balancing act that I have to figure out and coordinate.


Quote: The goal of jiu-jitsu in self-defense isn't to take someone down to the ground -- the goal in jiu-jitsu for self-defense is actually to be able to defend yourself on the ground, get up, and get away from an attacker. That's what the goal is. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

The goal of jiu-jitsu in self-defense isn't to take someone down to the ground -- the goal in jiu-jitsu for self-defense is actually to be able to defend yourself on the ground, get up, and get away from an attacker. That's what the goal is.


Quote: It's a lose-lose situation to get in a confrontation on the street. If you can break contact and get away, break contact and get away. That's what you should learn self-defense for. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

It's a lose-lose situation to get in a confrontation on the street. If you can break contact and get away, break contact and get away. That's what you should learn self-defense for.


Quote: I'm always reading the next book. Taking notes. Highlighting, researching, studying. It doesn't stop. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

I'm always reading the next book. Taking notes. Highlighting, researching, studying. It doesn't stop.


Quote: One of the best mental disciplines for people to implement is simply putting together a schedule or a task list and actually executing it. Write the list or the schedule the night before, and then do what you said you would do. Life becomes much better when you do that. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of Jocko Willink quote; white text on black background

One of the best mental disciplines for people to implement is simply putting together a schedule or a task list and actually executing it. Write the list or the schedule the night before, and then do what you said you would do. Life becomes much better when you do that.


Quote: One of the key qualities a leader must possess is the ability to detach from the chaos, mayhem, and emotions in a situation and make good, clear decisions based on what is actually happening. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

One of the key qualities a leader must possess is the ability to detach from the chaos, mayhem, and emotions in a situation and make good, clear decisions based on what is actually happening.


Quote: If you try and work out at 4:30 in the afternoon, how many people are going to chip away at that time? Your boss, your job, your work, your family, your other obligations that you might have. At 4:30 in the morning, all those people are asleep, so you can do whatever you want. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of Jocko Willink quote; white text on black background

If you try and work out at 4:30 in the afternoon, how many people are going to chip away at that time? Your boss, your job, your work, your family, your other obligations that you might have. At 4:30 in the morning, all those people are asleep, so you can do whatever you want.




Quote: One of my direct subordinates, one of my guys that worked for me, he would call me up or pull me aside with some major problem, some issue that was going on. And he'd say, 'Boss, we've got this, and that, and the other thing.' And I'd look at him and I'd say, 'Good.' by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of Jocko Willink quote; white text on black background

One of my direct subordinates, one of my guys that worked for me, he would call me up or pull me aside with some major problem, some issue that was going on. And he'd say, 'Boss, we've got this, and that, and the other thing.' And I'd look at him and I'd say, 'Good.'


Quote: Just as discipline and freedom are opposing forces that must be balanced, leadership requires finding the equilibrium in the dichotomy of many seemingly contradictory qualities between one extreme and another. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

Just as discipline and freedom are opposing forces that must be balanced, leadership requires finding the equilibrium in the dichotomy of many seemingly contradictory qualities between one extreme and another.






Quote: When I checked into SEAL Team One many years ago, one of the things that I noticed was there was this old guy, who was younger than I am today, who I decided that I was going to be like. I wanted to emulate what he was doing, and one of those things was he got to work before anybody else. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of Jocko Willink quote: When I checked into SEAL Team One many years ago, one of the things that I noticed was there was this old guy, who was younger than I am today, who I decided that I was going to be like. I wanted to emulate what he was doing, and one of those things was he got to work before anybody else.- black text on quotes background

When I checked into SEAL Team One many years ago, one of the things that I noticed was there was this old guy, who was younger than I am today, who I decided that I was going to be like. I wanted to emulate what he was doing, and one of those things was he got to work before anybody else.


Quote: I did 20 years in the Navy. I joined the Navy right out of high school and went through Navy boot camp, went to SEAL training, got done with that, and then showed up at a SEAL team, where I did 20 years. That was pretty much my whole adult life. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

I did 20 years in the Navy. I joined the Navy right out of high school and went through Navy boot camp, went to SEAL training, got done with that, and then showed up at a SEAL team, where I did 20 years. That was pretty much my whole adult life.




Quote: Why do you want to get a good workout early in the morning? Well, because it sends more oxygen to your brain; it releases endorphins. It puts you in a state of mind where you can crush things, which is where you want to be. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

Why do you want to get a good workout early in the morning? Well, because it sends more oxygen to your brain; it releases endorphins. It puts you in a state of mind where you can crush things, which is where you want to be.


Quote: Being a kid's not easy. You're transforming and becoming a human being. At some point, you have everyone taking care of you, and then, all of a sudden, you're out in the world. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

Being a kid's not easy. You're transforming and becoming a human being. At some point, you have everyone taking care of you, and then, all of a sudden, you're out in the world.


Quote: Waking up early was the first example I noticed in the SEAL Teams in which discipline was really the difference between being good and being exceptional. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

Waking up early was the first example I noticed in the SEAL Teams in which discipline was really the difference between being good and being exceptional.


Quote: There is one thing that gets you out of bed in the morning, and that is discipline. Because your dreams and your goals are not there waking up for you in the morning. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

There is one thing that gets you out of bed in the morning, and that is discipline. Because your dreams and your goals are not there waking up for you in the morning.




Quote: If you continue to keep low performers on your team, that are actually dragging the team down; you're failing the whole team, and eventually, the whole team is going to fail. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

If you continue to keep low performers on your team, that are actually dragging the team down; you're failing the whole team, and eventually, the whole team is going to fail.


Quote: SEALs are human beings. We may all have the same haircuts, but we aren't robots. Some SEALs are great people. Some are not great people. Some have done unspeakably terrible things. You're dealing with different people, different dreams, different desires. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

SEALs are human beings. We may all have the same haircuts, but we aren't robots. Some SEALs are great people. Some are not great people. Some have done unspeakably terrible things. You're dealing with different people, different dreams, different desires.


Quote: Who wants to leave the door open to being dominated physically by another human being? Jiu Jitsu gives you the ability to not be dominated by that person, and to me, that's real peace of mind. I don't have to worry about that when I'm walking around in the world. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

Who wants to leave the door open to being dominated physically by another human being? Jiu Jitsu gives you the ability to not be dominated by that person, and to me, that's real peace of mind. I don't have to worry about that when I'm walking around in the world.


Quote: Even if you can't perform at a high level, showing up and doing something is still a thousand times better than not showing up at all. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

Even if you can't perform at a high level, showing up and doing something is still a thousand times better than not showing up at all.


Quote: Stop researching every aspect of it and reading all about it and debating the pros and cons of it. Start doing it. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

Stop researching every aspect of it and reading all about it and debating the pros and cons of it. Start doing it.


Quote: Faster. Stronger. Smarter. More humble. Less ego. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

Faster. Stronger. Smarter. More humble. Less ego.


Quote: Leading people is the most challenging and, therefore, the most gratifying undertaking of all human endeavors. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

Leading people is the most challenging and, therefore, the most gratifying undertaking of all human endeavors.


Quote: The only person you can control is you. So focus on making yourself who you want to be: Faster. Smarter. Stronger. More humble. Less ego. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

The only person you can control is you. So focus on making yourself who you want to be: Faster. Smarter. Stronger. More humble. Less ego.


Quote: Character is doing what's right. by author Jocko Willink overlaid on photo of photo of author Jocko Willink with quote

Character is doing what's right.


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