Title Image - Quotes by Author 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.

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

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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

--Jocko Willink

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

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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

--Jocko Willink

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

--Jocko Willink

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

--Jocko Willink

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

--Jocko Willink

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

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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?

--Jocko Willink

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

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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.'

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink


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.

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

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

--Jocko Willink

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

--Jocko Willink

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

--Jocko Willink

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

--Jocko Willink

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

--Jocko Willink

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.

--Jocko Willink

Character is doing what's right.

--Jocko Willink

Know a quote that we are missing? Please use our suggest a quote form below and let us know. Thank YOU for visiting -- we wish you a perfect day!