Famous Entrepreneur Quotes
Jocko Willink’s Quotes
“Discipline is your best friend. It will take care of you like nothing else can.”
“Do not take the easy way out. Do not give up based on instinct.”
“Take the step. Step aggressively toward your fear.”
John “Jocko” Willink’s Top 10 Rules For Entrepreneurship, Business and Success
He’s an American podcaster, author and retired United States Navy SEAL. He received the silver star and the bronze star for his actions in the Iraq war. He started a weekly podcast covering topics like leadership, exercise and lessons from a former Navy SEAL. He’s Jocko Willink, and here’s my take on his top 10 rules for success.
Rule #1: Attack
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 got this and that and the other thing. And I’d look at him and I’d say, “Good.”
And finally one day he was telling me about some issue that he was having, some problem and he said, I already know what you’re going to say. And I said, well what am I going to say? He said, you’re going to say good. He said, that’s what you always say.
Don’t get startled, don’t get frustrated
When something is wrong and going bad, you always just look at me and say good. And I said, well, yeah. When things are going bad, there’s going to be some good that’s going to come from it.
“When things are going bad, don’t get all bummed out, don’t get startled, don’t get frustrated. If you can say the word good, guess what? It means you’re still alive. It means you’re still breathing. And if you’re still breathing or in hell, you’ve still got some fight left in you. So get up, dust off, reload, recalibrate, reengage. And go out on the attack.” – John Willink
Didn’t get the new high speed gear we wanted? Good.
Didn’t get promoted. Good. More time to get better.
Oh, mission got canceled? Good, we can focus on another one.
Didn’t get funded. Didn’t get the job you wanted.
Got injured, sprained my ankle, got tapped out? Good Got beat? Good.
You learned. Unexpected problems, good. We have the opportunity to figure out a solution. That’s it. When things are going bad, don’t get all bummed out, don’t get startled, don’t get frustrated. If you can say the word good, guess what? It means you’re still alive. It means you’re still breathing. And if you’re still breathing or in hell, you’ve still got some fight left in you. So get up, dust off, reload, recalibrate, reengage. And go out on the attack.
Rule #2: Have Discipline
I always say that discipline is the root of all good qualities. But you have to absolutely apply it to things outside of just waking up early. It’s everything, it’s working out every day. Making yourself stronger and faster and more flexible and healthier.
Discipline is eating the right foods to fuel your system. It’s about disciplining your emotions so you can make good decisions. It’s about having the discipline to control your ego so your ego doesn’t get out of hand and control you.
“Discipline is the root of all good qualities.” – John Willink
It’s about treating people the way you would want to be treated. And doing the tasks that you don’t necessarily want to do, but that you know will help you. Or help your team. It’s about facing your fears. Takes discipline to face your fears so you can conquer them. And that’s what discipline is. Discipline means taking the hard road. The uphill road to do what’s right for yourself and for other people.
It’s so often the easy path, the easy path that calls to us to be weak for that moment, to break down for that moment. To give in to the desire and the short term gratification. But the discipline will not allow that.
The discipline calls for strength and fortitude and will. It won’t accept weakness. It won’t tolerate another break down. The discipline can seem like it’s your worst enemy, but the reality is discipline is your best friend.
It will take care of you like nothing else can. And it’ll put you on that path the path to strength and health and intelligence and happiness. And most importantly, it’ll put you on that path to freedom.
Rule #3: Take Action Now
People want to know how to stop the laziness, and they want to know how to stop the procrastination. And you know, they have some idea in their head, you know, some kind of a vision of what they want to do. But they don’t know where to start.
They don’t know where to start it, ya know? They don’t know where to start. And so they say, hey, where do I start? And when’s the best time to start? And I have a very simple answer for that. Here and now.
That’s it. You want to improve?
You want to get better?
You want to get on a workout program or a clean diet?
You want to start a business?
You want to write a book or make a movie or build a house, or a computer or put together some mobile application?
Where do you start?
You start right here.
And when do you start?
You start right now. You initiate the action aggressively. Ya go. ‘Cause the idea isn’t going to execute itself. And the book isn’t going to write itself. And the weights out in the gym, they’re not going to move themselves. You have to do it, and you have to do it now.
And that means you got to stop thinking about it, and stop dreaming about it and stop researching every aspect of it and reading all about it, and debating the pros and cons of it. Just start doing it. Take that first step. And make it happen. Get after it. Get after it here and now.
Rule #4: Turn Weaknesses Into Strengths
Person’s strengths are often their biggest weaknesses. And so that also means that their weaknesses can be their strengths. So, me? I am weak. In all those ways that I listed. I am weak. But I don’t accept that.
I don’t accept that I am what I am, and that that is what I’m doomed to be. No, I don’t accept that. I’m fighting. I’m always fighting. I’m struggling and I’m scrapping and I’m kicking and I’m clawing at those weaknesses.
“Person’s strengths are often their biggest weaknesses. And so that also means that their weaknesses can be their strengths.” – John Willink
To change them, stop them. Some days I win. Some days I don’t. But each and every day, I get back up and I move forward, with my fist clenched toward the battle, toward the struggle. And I fight with everything I’ve got to overcome those weaknesses and those shortfalls and those flaws as I strive to be just a little bit better today than I was yesterday.
Rule #5: Be Focused
First of all, before the war, the military sent me to college. So I had to go to college. And as I said before, I was super focused when I went to college. I’d been in the SEAL teams for 10 years. I was a go-getter, I was a hard charger. I was like oh, you want me to read this book?
Boom, I would sit down and just force myself to read it. And then got back to the SEAL teams and like when I went to college, I literally read every single thing that I was assigned. And nobody does that in college, nobody does that. I read every single page of every single thing I was assigned during college.
That’s ridiculous, it’s almost a waste of time. It’s almost embarrassing. Echo definitely thinks it’s a waste of time. But it was because I just could just lock my brain down and get it done. So then get back to the teams and in the teams, officer in the teams you have a lot of administrative paperwork to do, evaluations and after actions reports and all these things.
And I would do the same thing. I would just go on a lock down mode and I would put my brain on it and boom I’d go through it and just get it done. I would just be able to focus.
Interviewer: So like, each thing,
Laser focus, laser focus.
Interviewer: So that report, done, gone, memo, gone. Report, done.
Rule #6: Kill The Quitter Instinct
There’s another kind of instinct that you need to be on the lookout for. This one is a liar. This one is a saboteur. This one is a back biter. And like the devil himself, he’s a shape shifter. He’s going to disguise himself and make you think he’s got your best interest in mind.
But he doesn’t. This is the instinct that says you’ve had enough. This is the instinct that says you’ve given it your best shot. You can stand down. You can back off. You can take a knee. This is the instinct that says you can rest now. Do not listen to that instinct.
Do not listen. That instinct is a liar and wants to bring you down. That’s the instinct that’s a defense mechanism. Wants to give you an out. A place to run to, a little place of sympathy. An amnesty, a little place of amnesty where everything’s forgiven, where all these failures can gather together in comfort and drown their sorrows in lies and in deception.
Do not give up based on instinct.
And they tell each other and they’ll tell you, you did the best you could. They’ll say the deck, the deck was stacked against you. And they’ll say it’s not your fault. And they’ll tell you it’s okay to stop. It’s okay to settle. It’s okay to give up.
And that is the instinct to fight, ya need to push back to smash into the ground. Do not take the easy way out. Do not give up based on instinct. If you are forced to stand down, to retreat, so that you can rebuild and re-attack, so be it.
But make that decision based on logic. Not on the instinct of surrender and defeat. And you need to train that instinct. Your instinct. Train it to say get up. Go, fight on. And if that is what you become, if that becomes your fundamental reaction to adversity, if that becomes your gut instinct, then you will overcome just about anything that stands in your path.
Rule #7: Take Advantage Of Stress
There’s been thousands, and hundreds of thousands, millions of warriors that have been in very stressful situations and faced evil and faced death. Much worse than the situation I’m in or you’re in that we might consider stressful.
And I even did this when I was overseas, when I was on deployment, when I was a combat leader. I was feeling stress. And you know what, we took casualties and it was awful, and it was heart breaking and, But there were other soldiers and warriors throughout time that have been in much worse situations.
Gettysburg or Vicksburg or the Battle of the Bulge. And in all those horrible situations, they proved, really that humans can withstand almost almost unimaginable stress. Which meant to me that I could too. And you can.
You have to at least embrace what you can
And the first step for me, is doing that, taking that look to gain some perspective and then in order to gain perspective you got to do something that we already talked about, you’ve got to detach, you’ve got to detach from the problems or the stress that you’re experiencing so that you can get that perspective of them.
Now, there’s a couple different types of stress. Now if it’s something that you can control that’s causing you stress, well, why aren’t you getting control of it? Now there’s also stress that’s caused by things that you cannot control.
“when it comes to stress, don’t fight it. Turn it on itself and use it. Use it. Use it to make yourself sharper and more alert. And use it to make yourself think more and learn more and get better. And use that stress as a catalyst to make yourself better.” – John Willink
And if you remember talking earlier about artillery and how horrible that was, and what made it so horrible was that there was no control over it. So if you can’t control something and you can’t get control of it, you have to at least embrace what you can.
You cannot completely eliminate it
And I’m not saying you’re going to embrace artillery shelling, but I’ll tell you what, when it comes to things like artillery or for us in Ramadi, was IEDs. And we could do everything we could do to mitigate that risk, but eventually there’s only so much you can do, and you cannot completely eliminate it.
But you can’t control it, so why you going to worry about it? Why you going to stress about it? If there’s something that’s completely beyond your control, you cannot, you’ve got to detach from it and not let yourself get stressed about it.
And on top of that, if it’s something that you can’t control, how can you look at it in a different light? How can see it in a way that you could actually take advantage of it? How can you take that stress and make it into some kind of ally.
You know, the chaos of combat is something that I couldn’t control, but I had to embrace it so I could try and figure out how I could take advantage of it. So when it comes to stress, don’t fight it. Turn it on itself and use it. Use it. Use it to make yourself sharper and more alert. And use it to make yourself think more and learn more and get better. And use that stress as a catalyst to make yourself better.
Rule #8: Just Do It
Interviewer: Your book isn’t, I mean, it’s thick, but, I should have been able to read this in two or three solid days of reading.
Interviewer: I told you how successful I was.
Jocko: Yes, not very.
Interviewer: And that bugs the shit out of me. It’s a fail. It’s a,
Jocko: You know what though, I think this is,
Interviewer: It’s a failure on my part.
Jocko: I think that this is the same thing that we were talking about on the last podcast. And I think Echo said, when you say aw, you know what, I’m not going to finish this book right now, I don’t really want to. It’s sort of like when you say, oh I’m not going to-
Interviewer: No, it’s not that I didn’t want to though.
Jocko: That’s what I’m saying, you say, but I don’t want to do it right now, I can push it off a little bit. You accept that, you accept that answer. You accept that answer. The soldier, Jody, wouldn’t accept that answer. Would not.
Interviewer: Do you self talk?
Not really, not really. I’m not a guy that says, you know, I’m going to do this or I’m going to do that. I just do it. I just go and do whatever that thing is.
Rule #9: Step Towards Your Fear
You know I actually took this question from Twitter and I answered the question in one word. You’ve lived a life dominated by doubt and fear, how do you step into bravery? Step. That’s how you step into bravery.
Step. Take the step. Step aggressively toward your fear. And that, that step toward your fear is the step into bravery. Because we’re, we’re scared of what we don’t know. And there is only one way to learn and to know and that is to confront that fear.
You have to step, you have to go. And this simple action, this simple attitude, it answers so many questions. My theory here would be if you’re afraid of fighting, and altercations, go train ju jitsu, if you’re afraid of heights, work on some rock climbing.
You will overcome that fear
If you’re afraid of water, time to swim, it’s time to surf. It’s time to get out there. If you’re afraid of pull ups, do pull ups. If you’re afraid of squats, do squats. If you’re afraid of public speaking, go speak in public.
If yo’re afraid to start a business, start a business. Make it small. And on all these, what you have to do is you have to mitigate the risk and you have to ease yourself into it but you got to for it. And eventually you will overcome that fear.
“Step aggressively toward your fear. And that, that step toward your fear is the step into bravery. Because we’re, we’re scared of what we don’t know. And there is only one way to learn and to know and that is to confront that fear.” – John Willink
But the hard part is you got to take the first step. You got to take that first step to begin to inoculate yourself against the fear. Against the fear of the thing that’s in your mind. ‘Cause that fear generally is in your mind.
That you know, when you get up on stage to do public speaking people are not going to throw tomatoes at you and say oh my, you’re an idiot, get off the stage. No, they’re going to sit there, you know? So there’s nothing to fear. It’s in your head.
Rule #10: Practice Every Day
Jason: He’s a large man.
You’re a small man. Yeah, yeah.
I tweeted at Jocko and I asked him if you’d like to take part in a fitness challenge. He graciously came with a counter offer. He said, how about a grappling match? For some reason I said yes. And so here I am now in San Diego.
Camera Man: You’re on top of ’em. Push your form-
He wants my head, he wants my head!
Camera Man: You okay? You okay?
He actually asked to get choked out, so there it is. Ju jitsu. Fairly decisive victory, but yeah, ya know, really, honestly, it’s just ’cause I’ve been training for a long time, and I have that skill set. It’s something that anybody could get. It’s not because I’m special. It’s just ’cause I trained for a long time doing this. And if the roles were reversed and he’d been training longer than me, he’d be doing that right there to me. That’s the way it works.
Even if I look like this and you look like that?
Yeah, I’m more than happy to get a 135 pounder in here right now that’ll-
Show me what it’s about?
They’ll do you worse than I just did you.
Jason: I hear you.
Do you want that?
Jason: No, I do not.
I got guys that’re standing by that are hungry.
I’ve had enough of Jocko for one day. I don’t need anybody else.
Thank you guys so much for watching. I hope you enjoyed I made this video because Michael Angelo Rayco asked me to. So if there’s a famous entrepreneur that you want me to profile next, leave it down in the comments below, and I’ll see what I can do.
I’d also love to know, what did Jocko say that had the biggest impact of you? What clip did you enjoy the most? And what immediate action are you going to take in your life or your business after watching this clip? Leave it down in the comments below and I’m going to join in the discussion.
Finally, I wanted to give a quick shout out to Zeno. Thank you Zeno so much for picking up a copy of my book, Your One Word and posting that picture online. I really appreciate it. Also Zeno, thank you so much for all the love you’ve given to the Believe Nation community for being a part of almost all of our live chats, and just being a force for good in the comments. I really really really appreciate your support.
So thank you guys so much for watching. I believe in your, I hope you continue to believe in yourself and whatever your one word is, much love, I’ll see you soon.
Learn from criticism
Nobody likes being evaluated, right? Nobody. Now, you might get somebody that says oh, I love being coached. And there are some people that are pretty positive about that, and as matter of fact I have clients where they want to be coached, right?
But most people, especially in a normal environment like if you go out and you hire someone to coach you, okay. But most people in a normal environment, they don’t like being evaluated. They don’t like being judged, always judging.
So, the first thing you have to do when it comes to being evaluated is get that in your head that you, like everybody else has defense mechanisms. And they’re going to flair up as soon as somebody says something critical of you.
As soon as somebody goes to evaluate you. Your defense mechanisms are going to go up. And then once that happens, once you feel those defense mechanisms go up, you got to put your ego in check. You got to put your ego in check. And then once you do that, you got to listen. Listen, I know it sounds crazy, listen to what they’re saying. Don’t even think of a response. Say to yourself, you know what, I’m not even going to respond, I’m only going to listen to what they’re saying.
Yeah, but, and to kind of add to that-
Dude, you’re already can’t even take it.
No, no, I can take it.
I’m saying but I think, ’cause people will quote, unquote do that, but they won’t really do it, as far as I’m not going to say anything, I’m just going to listen.
Yeah, that’s actually, that’s actually, that’s actually how they set it up too, look, I’m not going to say anything, I’m just going to listen.
Yeah, exactly what I’m talking about. Or they’ll all body language, you know the kind where they’re like. You know, they’ll do that kind of stuff. Don’t do that, don’t do that.
So you’re right, you got to listen, and not just listen, but truly listen. Not listening just with your ears, but listen with your mind and your brain and with an open mind. An open mind. And then think about what people are saying.
And then see it, this is important, see it from their perspective. Because if you just see it from your perspective, you’re not even seeing what the criticism really is. You’re only seeing the defense of the criticism. So actually get in their mind and say wow, what does this look like from their perspective? Why would they be taking the effort and the risk and the challenge of trying to present this problem to me if it wasn’t important?
Are they just doing it just to make me mad? No. They’re trying to help you. And you know what? Just like, just like a joke, ya know how they say like every joke has some little truth to it? Every little criticism, even if the person is your arch rival, their criticism is built on something.
So what is that reality that you can take away from it. You got to take it with a grain of salt, especially if the person, like it says here, if the person has different opinions and motives, well of course they have different opinions.
You want people with different opinions. Maybe they have different motives, so maybe you think they’re trying to usurp your authority or something like that. So, maybe you got to take it with a grain of salt, but find the grain of truth in there too.
And find what it is from their perspective, what the problem is, and learn from it. And one of the most beautiful things about this is, you take the criticism and you make adjustments. You know, how do I deal with being evaluated?
I try and accept the evaluation and make adjustments to improve myself as a human. That’s how I deal with being evaluated. And I’m not saying I deal with it any better than anybody else. Because everybody gets defensive, myself included. You know, we had a little conversation when we started tonight, right?
You said I repeated some stuff on the last podcast.
And you know, and then we talked through it, and then I said, you know, and you know, I noticed that your camera work was a little bit off. Ya know it was just, My point was just to prove how defensive we all get. We all get. And you know what I did? I said, you know what? I noticed that too, ya know, as far as me repeating, there was a couple little sections and it was because, I pulled from multiple different books and they had a little bit of overlap.
Interviewer: Yep, saying the same, yep.
And looking back on it, probably shouldn’t have, but at the time I thought you know what, this is emphasizing really important points.
But still. People don’t want to hear the same thing over and over again. So I probably shouldn’t have done that. So, guess what, criticism accepted. I will adapt, adjust and I will make improvements to my game based on your criticism of my technique, my skill and my life.
Don’t let regret beat you down
There’s so much knowledge out there, so much information, so many ways to get better. And we make, we make so many mistakes. We’re the product of our mistakes. And often times the lesson is sitting there right in front of our face.
It’s there to be learned, but we miss it or we don’t pay attention to it or we think we know better. Until it punches us in the face. And the most important thing to learn is that we have so much to learn, we all do. And we can learn from school and from people and from experience and we learn from life. But ya have to process the information, you have to absorb it, ya have to accept it. Ya have to open your mind.
You’ve got to free your mind. So that you can learn. And make real progress. And as far as regrets and things I wish I would have done differently, of course, hindsight, hindsight is 20/20 and looking back, who wouldn’t want to take another go at something and improve on the first try by doing it again? And then why not do it again and again and again? And why not just do it over and over again until you have it perfect?
But the fact is, you don’t get that chance. You get one shot. One shot at this gig right here. Life. One life, that’s all you’ve got. And regret, in and of itself, it’s worthless. It does nothing for you. In fact, the only valuable thing in regret is the lesson you learned.
The knowledge that you gained. But walking around filled with regret gets you nothing. So, learn and move on. Don’t let regret beat you down. Don’t be a slave to regret. No. Let it teach you, let it make you better.
Let the fear of regret fuel you to take action today, now. To take action now to become a better person, not filled with regret, but filled with knowledge. Filled with knowledge and strength and power and filled with life.
Appreciate the gift of life
With the man in the cave and this idea and this thought of the enemy. And that was a thought that used to drive me. And kind of haunt me and make me get up early and work hard to push myself. Because I knew that somewhere out there, there was an enemy, a real enemy, a real man, a person, a human that was waiting for me, that was preparing for me. And therefore I needed to prepare for him.
I needed to be ready. I needed to be the things I always talk about. I needed to be stronger, and faster and smarter and better. So that when we did meet on the battlefield I would be ready for that rendezvous, for that meeting, that fate. That battle. And that thought, that thought of the enemy, yes, it absolutely fueled me. And when I was a leader in the SEAL teams, in charge of men, it was even more profound because I was thinking about that rendezvous.
For everybody that I led, everyone I was in charge of, everyone that I trained. And I felt that burden, the burden of responsibility. To prepare those men, and protect those, those men, those frog men, those warriors.
My brothers. And it was my burden to train those guys and prepare them. And that burden, it may have made me a little bit crazy, a little be paranoid, a little bit over the top. But, I didn’t really know any, any other way.
And so now, I am no longer a combat leader. I no longer prepare men for war. So the drive and the motivation is from a different place. It’s from a solemn place. The drive now and the motivation now is not really from the enemy anymore. Now it’s from my friends, my brothers. It’s from those SEALs that I knew and that I cared about more than anything. And that they sacrificed everything for us, for me.
Those guys, they gave their lives for us. And now I cannot help but think and remember that every breath that we take is a it’s a gift. It’s a sacred gift from those men. Every day we have, every sunrise, every thought and every smile and every laugh, it’s a gift. And I will treasure that gift, that gift of life. And I will not let it go to waste, not one second of it. And I’ll cherish every moment of it. And I will live it. I will live it. In their memory. And in their honor.
Jocko Willink’s Rules
- Have discipline
- Take action NOW
- Turn weaknesses into strengths
- Be focused
- Kill the quitter instinct (Evan’s Favorite Rule for an Entrepreneur Mindset)
- Take advantage of stress
- Just do it
- Step towards your fear
- Practice every day
I hope you enjoyed this article, make sure to check my Jocko Willink video on his Top 10 Rules For Success as well.