June 3, 2019

Mental models

#56 – Jocko Willink, retired Navy SEAL, Part II of II: Sleep, fasting, raising kids, discipline, taking ownership, and the impact of war

"Leading a family is the same way you lead an organization or lead a team. If you bark orders at your team, your team won’t like you, they won’t respect you, and they're not going to carry out those orders with any sort of commitment." — Jocko Willink

Read Time 20 minutes

In the second installment of this 2 part series, Jocko shares his sleep routine and attitude towards sleep, we talk about his meals (and occasional indulgences), his experience with fasting, and touch briefly on his workout routine. Jocko explains his approach to leading a family, instilling values in his kids, and working with others who may not share your same principles. We also find out what prompted Jocko to make discipline the underpinning principle of his life, when it might make sense to quit, and the philosophical topics such as free will, mindset, and whether or not you can change someone. We also discuss 9/11 and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the future of warfare, and perhaps more importantly, how Jocko’s experience in combat has shaped and impacted his life to this day.


We discuss:

  • Where was Jocko when the 9/11 attack occurred? What did he think? [5:45];
  • How SEAL teams are structured, and which teams Jocko was on [10:45];
  • War in Afghanistan: Unique challenges, how it differs from Iraq, and the lessons learned [13:00];
  • Iraq War: Differing public opinions on war, Jocko’s experiences in Iraq, strategic mistake of ISIS, and the Saddam regime [19:15];
  • The future of warfare: machine technology in war and medicine [27:30];
  • Raising kids, instilling values, and leading a family [33:45];
  • Sleep: Jocko’s habits, routine, and attitude towards sleep [40:15];
  • When it makes sense to quit [53:30];
  • What makes Jocko different, the existence of free will, and whether or not you can change people [1:01:45];
  • How to work with people with a bad attitude and opposing mindset [1:07:45];
  • Does Jocko ever indulge? Favorite foods and treats [1:11:00];
  • Fasting and meal timing [1:16:30];
  • Olivia (Peter’s daughter) interviews Jocko [1:21:45];
  • What prompted Jocko to start prioritizing discipline in his life? [1:22:15];
  • What does Jocko do in his workouts? [1:23:30];
  • Where did the nickname, Jocko, come from? [1:24:20];
  • Jocko’s favorite book, his best advice, and secret to getting up early [1:25:50];
  • The impact that war had on Jocko [1:28:00]; and
  • More.


Where was Jocko when the 9/11 attack occurred? What did he think? [5:45]

Where was Jocko when 9/11 happened?

  • In college at the University of San Diego (only because they Navy made him go)
  • As soon as the second plane hit, Jocko was certain that we were under attack
  • Jocko saw this attack as a game changer, a “Pearl Harbor like moment”
  • Within a day or two Jocko was calling his Navy detailer asking to be taken out of college and put on a SEAL team immediately
  • The detailer said no… “Finish college. This war is going to last a long time.
  • Jocko finished college and returned to the SEALs in the Spring of 2003 (6 months after the Iraqi invasion)

How SEAL teams are structured, and which teams Jocko was on [10:45]

  • SEAL teams consist of multiple platoons
  • Generally, you work just within your platoon
  • Sometimes two or three platoons will work together on a particular mission (4 in rare cases)
  • There are a total of 8 SEAL teams,  numbered 1 through 8
  • Odd numbers are on the west coast
  • Even numbers are on the east coast
  • The numbers are simply the order in which the SEAL teams were created (starting with 1 and 2 back in the 1960s)
  • Jocko was on: SEAL Team One, SEAL Team Two, SEAL Team Seven and SEAL Team Three (in that order)
  • After college, Jocko joined SEAL Team Seven
  • Jocko was put in command of a platoon that then deployed to Iraq

“I’m the luckiest guy in the world because to show up at a SEAL Team and get a SEAL platoon that’s getting ready to deploy to Iraq. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

War in Afghanistan: Unique challenges, how it differs from Iraq, and the lessons learned [13:00]

How is fighting similar and different in Iraq vs. Afghanistan?

{end of show notes preview…}

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Jocko Willink

Jocko Willink is a retired U.S. Navy SEAL officer, co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win, host of the top-rated Jocko Podcast, and co-founder of Echelon Front, where he serves as Chief Executive Officer, leadership instructor, speaker and strategic advisor. Jocko spent 20 years in the SEAL Teams, starting as an enlisted SEAL and rising through the ranks to become a SEAL officer. As commander of SEAL Team Three’s Task Unit Bruiser during the battle of Ramadi, he orchestrated SEAL operations that helped the “Ready First” Brigade of the U.S. Army’s First Armored Division bring stability to the violent, war-torn city. Task Unit Bruiser became the most highly decorated Special Operations Unit of the Iraq War.

Jocko returned from Iraq to serve as Officer-in-Charge of training for all West Coast SEAL Teams. There, he spearheaded the development of leadership training and personally instructed and mentored the next generation of SEAL leaders who have continued to perform with great success on the battlefield. Jocko is the recipient of the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and numerous other personal and unit awards.

Upon retiring from the Navy, Jocko co-founded Echelon Front, a premier leadership consulting company, where he teaches the leadership principles he learned on the battlefield to help others lead and win. Jocko also authored the Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual, a New York Times Bestseller, and the best selling children’s books: The Way of the Warrior Kid, and The Way of the Warrior Kid: Marc’s Mission.


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  1. His sleep schedule (falls asleep instantly) probably indicates that he isn’t sleeping enough. I’ve been through enough sleep programs to have learned this.

  2. I’ve watched Jocko’s Ted Talk and thanks to this concept of Extreme Ownership, I’ve completely changed my life. So happy to find another podcast here. Thank you!


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