Veterans and young people all across the world can find inspiration in the works of author and entrepreneur Jocko Willink. But of course, Jocko has his flaws just like the rest of the world.
I have the utmost regard for the men and women in uniform who defend the safety of the American people against enemies both foreign and domestic. However, some people frequently sell themselves and defraud others by using their military insignia.
They don’t include Jocko.
The significant issues in David Goggins’ lifestyle are often discussed, and Jordan Peterson‘s thoughts and ideas have been questioned, but Jocko’s somewhat toxic lifestyle is rarely discussed.
In this article, I will discuss why most people shouldn’t heed Jocko’s advice and how he has skillfully built a cult-like following. Some of Willink’s fascinating findings will also be examined.
Who is John Gretton “Jocko” Willink?
John Gretton Willink, aka Jocko Willink, is a former Navy SEAL and current businessman. During the Iraq War, he commanded SEAL Team 3 (Task Unit Bruiser) in the military. Ramadi was the site of the conflict. Jocko was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and awarded the Bronze Star and Silver Star for his service.
We honor Jocko’s military service and thank him for his sacrifices, yet his time in the military was not Mr. Willink’s most illustrious professional endeavor.
I seriously doubt that there is a single person here who doesn’t know who Jocko is, but I’ve included this part for the 1% that don’t.
Jocko Willink’s Time as a Navy SEAL
Jocko completed Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S) just like every other Navy SEAL. Jocko has an obvious bias against SEALs who have been deployed and frequently says things like “BUD/S is not a highlight of a SEAL’s career or training.”
One of the top students in his BUD/S class, 177, he reportedly excelled in many areas. Jocko was awarded the “NEC 5326” (Combatant Swimmer) and the SEAL insignia when he completed STT (SEAL Tactical Training) and his 6-month probationary term.
Mr. Willink has served in the armed forces for the past eight years. He joined SEAL Team Two and SEAL Team One.
After completing Officer Candidate School, Jocko became a Mustang and eventually assumed command of a platoon. He has been sent to the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, and the Middle East.
One of his proudest moments in the military was contributing to the success of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2006, he led an elite unit to the Iraqi city of Ramadi, called Task Unit Bruiser, whose members included the likes of Chris Kyle, Jonny Kim, Michael Monsoor, Marc Alan Lee, and Kevin Lacz.
He’s so qualified that the Navy SEALs hired him to train recruits.
“Jocko” John Gretton Willink officially left his position in October 2010.
Jocko Willink and his fellow retired Navy SEAL, Leif Babin, started the leadership consultancy firm Echelon Front. The company thrived thanks to Mr. Willink’s charisma and two decades of military expertise. Echelon Front works with enterprises and corporations to improve the leadership skills of the higher echelons of management.
He also publishes a popular weekly podcast among young people called “The Jocko Podcast.” Jocko is a jiu-jitsu coach at Victory MMA & Fitness in addition to his other responsibilities. Jocko Willink is also a co-owner of Origin USA, a retailer of health and fitness goods like gym supplies, vitamins, and apparel.
The Wife of Jocko Willink
When Jocko Willink married Helen, she was working as a flight attendant. They have four children together, all of whom Jocko adores.
She’s British yet she followed Jocko to America. Helen put her career on hold to focus on raising her kids.
Helen allegedly met Jocko when he was a passenger on one of her flights, but this has never been proven by either party.
She also assists her husband Jocko Willink with the management of their fitness and training center, protein shake and other supplements, podcast, and online merchandising.
The Problems with Jocko Willink’s “Extreme Ownership” Approach
Don’t get me wrong; I was once a devoted follower of Jocko; it’s just that I’ve come to see that his influence is leading many to destroy themselves.
While some people have found success in dropping pounds or advancing in their careers by taking complete responsibility for their lives, the vast majority of people are making things more difficult for themselves.
People become cynical and hopeless under extreme ownership.
Jocko Willink doesn’t get that everyone is unique in terms of character, upbringing, and outlook. Most people who try to take “extreme ownership” of anything end up quite depressed and regretful.
Without a strong will like Jocko’s, you’ll sink into depression or paranoia if you spend too much time looking for excuses to blame yourself for everything wrong in your life, relationship, health, etc.
Although the concept of Extreme Ownership is fantastic, it is best suited to people who can handle a great deal of pressure. A Navy SEAL or an 80s stockbroker, for instance. Despite Jocko Willink and his group’s insistence, this idea does not work for every situation.
It’s important to look for growth opportunities in your failures if you want to develop as a person, but there’s only so much you can do before you start to feel like the worst human ever. That is just the way our brains are wired.
Jocko has incredible self-control and natural ability. I think that’s something we can all agree on. That’s why the extreme ownership strategy suits him so well; he can put it into practice without exhaustion. However, likely, most of Jocko’s fans aren’t quite as talented as he is. And those who follow him should understand that.
The contradiction that most Jocko Willink lovers find themselves in goes like this:
“I feel like a total loser when I look at all the things going wrong in my life and I’m responsible for them all,” the speaker explains, “but I can’t get confident (i.e. competent) without taking extreme ownership.”
Different people have varying levels of resilience to stress due to unique combinations of upbringing experiences, socioeconomic status, personality type, level of intellectual and social development, etc. And if you want the best life possible, you should look for ways to tackle challenging tasks in a way that you enjoy.
To elaborate, the Jocko Willink counsel for those who despise writing essays would be, “Get after it and get it done!”The best piece of advice, though, would be to brainstorm various ways to kick off the essay (imagine Jocko saying it). You could, for instance, set a timer for one minute and force yourself to write for that amount of time, though you could keep going if you wanted to. Work for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break using the Pomodoro Technique. These tried-and-true techniques will shape you into someone capable of taking tremendous ownership.
The vast majority of Jocko Willink’s fans immediately begin searching for scapegoats when something goes wrong. If they weren’t productive, it’s their fault; the same goes for when their boss mistreats them or doesn’t pay them on time. There will always be faults to find and admit, but doing so systematically can severely damage your sense of self-worth. You’ll fail and feel down on yourself until you have Jocko-level confidence in yourself.
Big businesses can learn a lot from Jocko Willink’s concept, and his unit in Ramadi, Iraq benefited much from it. However, this is largely because both of these types of jobs need employees to have exceptionally high-stress thresholds. independence, and faith in one’s abilities. Extreme ownership aids in overcoming the narcissism that comes along with excessive self-confidence. It’s an effective alternative to narcissism since it makes people more modest.
If Jocko’s Extreme Ownership helps you, then, by all means, keep doing it. But if it isn’t, don’t blame yourself. Jocko has probably avoided discussing this issue because Echo is a bootlicker and is easily silenced by Jocko’s zeal during Q&A sessions.
Since extreme ownership has proven successful for him and his clients, Jocko Willink assumes it will do the same for everyone else. But he has no idea how to work with a metropolitan mind, therefore he never considers it. He doesn’t do anything but read from a prepared script as he instructs the company’s staff on topics they’ve already been briefed on. We can’t hold it against him that he has only ever worked with folks from the military or/and the sports industry. Nonetheless, Jocko needs to take full responsibility for this. Right?
Another work that deals with this theme is Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins, albeit David’s worldview is far more harsh and violent than Jocko Willink’s. Next week I’ll write about Mr. Goggins, so be sure to check back then.
Jocko Doesn’t Think COVID-19 Masks Are Necessary.
Jocko does not engage in social isolation or mask-wearing for attention.
In episode 258 of The Jocko Podcast, Jocko interviewed John Stryker Meyer, a 70-year-old South Vietnamese Special Operations Group (SOG) soldier. The screenshot below, taken after the podcast with Mr. Meyer, shows that he is not hiding his identity or socially withdrawing at the time.
Jocko Willink has not revealed whether or not he tests his visitors and staff for Covid-19 before the meeting, in contrast to Joe Rogan. Since it’s a weekly podcast and he frequently has guests from other states, this is worrisome. Mr. Khahn Doan almost certainly caught the virus from Jocko or someone else on the podcast, as he quickly tested positive for Covid-19 as well.
Jocko did feel bad about his negligence, so he forwarded the link to the “Cowboy” donation page, where he contributed $2,000, for a total of $33,873. One of the reasons I like Jocko Willink so much is because, despite his narcissism, he practices what he preaches.
People were concerned about the report’s timeliness about the podcast, although Jocko never elaborated on this.
For the sake of the protection and security of our loved ones, I do not believe that mask use and social isolation should be a political issue. I believe it was irresponsible of Jocko Willink, as an influential figure, to not at least wear a mask.
I know I’m not alone in thinking this way. Fans of Jocko’s were debating this incident on the Jocko Podcast subreddit, and it appears that they did not approve of Jocko’s no-mask approach.
Criticizing Jocko Willink online, however, is a sin for which you will be punished with hazy justifications from his acolytes. Dozens of people will still try to justify Jocko Willink’s beliefs and deeds on this thread alone, just because he is their idol. Almost immediately, the fanboys informed the commenter that “Cowboy” claimed he caught COVID-19 at a different party. And the Jocko faithful simply accepted this without question.
But pause for a moment and consider. To say that Jocko caused Cowboy to catch the virus would have been a terrible way to damage his pristine reputation, especially after he donated $33,000 to the man’s family and given him unprecedented visibility through his podcast.
After all, Jocko had been there for “Cowboy” financially and emotionally, so it stands to reason that “Cowboy” wouldn’t want Jocko’s reputation to suffer.
We must not turn a blind eye to the reality, however unpleasant it may be. Jocko Willink has several secrets and flaws that people don’t know about. Many people, including myself, have been hurt by this doctrine, and all I want to do is assist get to the bottom of it.
Jocko Supports the War in Iraq
Opinions on the Iraq war and the United States’ involvement in it have varied widely. There are good reasons why American folks are unhappy with the decision.
Jocko discussed his thoughts on the Iraq war in a podcast with none other than Zen atheist Sam Harris. In this case, I’ll defer to your better judgment. The only reason I’m emphasizing this is because it’s relevant but underappreciated by Jocko Willink’s fanbase. This is the excerpt:
It’s a touchy subject, so I doubt my opinion would make a difference here. I hope you’ll forgive me for not offering my thoughts on the matter.
Jocko Willink and David Goggins at Odds
One of the most frequently asked questions is this:
Jocko never invites David on his program; why not?”
The short version is that their ideologies are fundamentally incompatible.
It’s hilarious since there’s a lot of crossover in their respective 20-something fan bases. Even though Jocko Willink has often addressed the topic of David, rumors persist that the two men have some sort of animosity. So, here’s the deal as I see it:
Asked if he is “ok with David Goggins” in 2019, Jocko responded, “Yeah, He’s a great athlete.”
Can you spot the flaw in Jocko’s logic? I’ll give you a minute to think about it.
Instant time out. This is the current situation.
Instead of calling David a veteran or ex-military man, Jocko Willink referred to him as a “great athlete.” Because he has no regard for David Goggins’s military career, he has never referred to him as a Navy SEAL. He constantly refers to him as a “beast” or “athlete.” Here’s yet another time he brought up Goggins:
Don’t misunderstand me. He doesn’t have anything against David personally; he just doesn’t approve of how Goggins conducted himself in the armed forces.
As much as David values physical training and “callus[ing] his mind,” Jocko Willink prioritizes collaboration. These are, to put it mildly, opposites in the context of a Navy SEAL team. David’s use of his status as a Navy SEAL to get entry to races has also generated much controversy, but we’ll save that discussion for another time.
Not Even a Question of BUD/S
It’s commonly believed that Jocko steers clear of Goggins due to his BUD/S hyperbole, although that may not always be the case.
After dropping 100 pounds, David underwent BUD/S for the third time in quick succession. within ninety days. His body had been exhausted and hurt for some time. When you factor in David’s lunacy in caring for his body, he ends up with more harm than good. Jocko, on the other hand, was successful on his first try through BUD/S. Therefore, comparing their time at BUD/S would be a bit unfair. But until we hear it from Jocko himself, we can only speculate.
As a whole, we shouldn’t hold our breath waiting for Jocko Willink to have David on his program. When David begins promoting his next book, I do not doubt that Jocko will welcome him with open arms. Goggins’ podcast with Joe Rogan has 5.7 million views, and as a capitalist businessman, he definitely wouldn’t pass up the chance to capitalize on David’s considerably larger fan base than Jocko Willink’s.
Jocko may be a secret Trump supporter.
Jocko was recently asked his opinion on Donald Trump as president in an interview/podcast with Dave Rubin. Jocko, being the astute individual that he is, answered the question in a way that draws no attention to himself from either the right or the left. The man replied:
“From a managerial point of view, I find some of Trump’s more extreme traits to be rather intriguing. Likewise, I think it’s a good idea to do this. The thought, “How can you even, think to yourself this is a decent thing to do?” will cross my mind around 20 minutes later. What I mean is going on Twitter and immediately attacking a random person or famous person.
At first inspection, the statement appears to be correct. Yet, the complexity lies in the fine print.
Jocko thinks highly of Trump as a leader, and his only real critique is the offensive content of Trump’s tweets. Wow, Jocko Willink. Is that what you think the problem is with Trump? No, not the top brass. Has he never made a poor political choice?
Here’s the important part: in their book, Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink and Leif harshly condemn Obama’s conduct, but they never reveal their true feelings about Trump’s leadership. Doesn’t that seem like a clue? Why doesn’t Jocko stop ducking questions and instead take responsibility for his political views? How do you feel about that?
Jocko’s comments about Trump and Obama reveal his leanings toward the Right.
The shows he watches are further evidence of his right-wing pro mindset.
He’s been featured on shows like Ben Shapiro’s and Fox News as well as podcasts like Sam Harris’ and Rubin Reports. All of these outlets skew conservative or lean that way. As far as I can tell, Jocko Willink is a staunch conservative.
The data is quite clear, and I think we should accept it as the truth, even if it is upsetting to some people and obvious to others. Mr. Willink will never talk about this openly because he is afraid of criticism.
Others have picked up on the speech patterns and understood Willink’s cryptic comments as well. They both arrived at the same decision. Take a look at the reactions to this Jocko Willink Joe Rogan podcast:
Supplements by Jocko Willink: Critiques and Feedback
Mr. Willink is also the creator of the “Jocko Fuel” supplement brand. Protein powder, pre- and post-workout vitamins and white tea are all part of it. Because I am an idiot and because I want to support Jocko, I have tried nearly all of the supplements that he sells.
Even while Molk (the protein powder) has a pleasant flavor, I find its steep price tag to be excessive for what you get. Professionals typically choose higher-quality protein powders that are widely available.
Jocko White Tea is the only dietary supplement I continue to take. It’s great, and it helps me feel energized throughout the day. White tea has helped my mood and my lift has increased.
There are far superior alternatives to the Jocko Go drinks that are readily available. Likely, Jocko invests so heavily in advertising the beverage because it’s a high-margin, high-yield cash cow. For this reason, advertisements for the Jocko Go are extremely common.
Not only do I not like Jocko’s Supplements, but so do many others. Here’s a thread discussing the same issue on Reddit:
They would love to hear what you think of Jocko’s goods if you’ve tried any of them. If a supplement helps one person tremendously but causes terrible side effects in another, it would be really interesting to learn.
Jeans and Clothes by Jocko Willink
I’m on the fence about buying any clothes from Jocko Willink.
T-shirts with designs like this are one extreme:
On the other hand, you’ll be a walking billboard:
Like, seriously, who would “buy” a t-shirt that is essentially a promotion for a supplement? True, some Jocko fans might rock that look.
T-shirts reading “Get After It” and “Jocko Willink Good” is now proudly adorning my body. The quality is pretty decent. The cost-effectiveness of this material is commendable. The graphics or design aren’t innovative, but I suppose the focus is on a more intangible sense of exclusivity.
Jocko’s company, Origin USA (no relation to the PC manufacturers), also sells jeans.
In reality, the jeans are excessively costly, with the tagline “It is not made in China” serving as the only redeeming quality.
Don’t buy those jeans if you can help it. The jeans have nothing exceptional about them and will take a long time to arrive.
I suggest shelling out the $150 for a nice pair of jeans from a reputable dealership. Those are far more durable and comfortable than Jocko Jeans.
I know this paragraph doesn’t go with the rest of the post, but hear me out:
As someone who has tried both Jocko’s supplements and clothing, I feel qualified to comment on the quality of their white tea. If I had realized that Molk protein powder was just another pricey protein powder, I never would have purchased it. H
Let The Flood Gates Open…
I’m hoping this piece has cleared up any confusion or misunderstandings you may have had about Jocko Willink. Although I admire him greatly, I think he should speak out more often about the flaws in his thinking. Going cold turkey, failing, and starting the cycle all over again is causing people to become depressed and nihilistic until they finally quit.
There are more natural ways to improve one’s health. Try visiting a therapist, spending time with supportive loved ones, meditating, staying away from negative influences, and reading. James Clear’s Atomic Habits and Chris Bailey’s Hyperfocus are two good books for those who want to better themselves.
It’s time for Jocko Willink to come clean about his right-wing leanings as well. His fans and followers are often misled by this when they seek his thoughts on current events. But whether or not he decides to stop spreading false information about his political beliefs is his concern.
I’m counting on your comprehension of the ideas presented here; if you disagree, by all means, offer your perspectives and justifications. I believe we can go forward by having an honest conversation about our differences and similarities regarding these issues.
Warning (Please Read Before Posting a Comment)
Intent on enlightening my fellow Jocko supporters about the flaws inJocko Willink’s thinking, I found myself discovering more and more to write about. All of that ended up making this post far more extensive than I had anticipated.
Since Jocko Willink himself is so politically dubious, I felt comfortable sharing the facts and viewpoints he has expressed here. At all costs, he stays away from it. However, I noticed a lot of individuals probing for Jocko’s opinions on many issues. So I looked into it and found the data.
In the comments, please avoid personal attacks or calling anyone names. My intention is for this piece to serve as a useful resource for the “Get After It” crowd rather than a pointless diatribe. But this is a democracy, and all I can do is ask that people be kind.
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