The Jocko Podcast
A Unique Approach To Empowerment
There is a wealth of content available in the world of business and life performance that is affirming, inspiring, and cheerful.
I am a big fan of consuming all sorts of podcasts and books that can help develop me for life’s unending challenges.
There is a relatively newer podcast out there now that approaches life and empowerment in a different manner than most. The Jocko Podcast is hosted by retired Navy Seal Jocko Willink along with his cohort in the studio Echo Charles.
Jocko is not here to motivate you. He believes motivation is a failed concept. He feels If you rely on motivation to get through the daily grind of life you will eventually get burned by it.
Discipline is the calling card for Jocko. Jocko touts discipline over motivation all day.
Jocko is frank and direct when dispensing his wisdom on the podcast. You will not be regaled with some new age technique to help cajole you through your challenges in life. Tried and true reliance on discipline is the foundation of Jocko’s ethos.
Jocko’s vocal delivery, every bit as imposing as his physical frame, helps hammer home his message.
Just Do The Work
Just show up and do the work says Jocko. The work is what counts. The habit of showing up for the work will always be more reliable than relying on motivation.
Hearing Jocko deride motivation as being an untrustworthy concept for performance in life was an empowering moment for me. Prior to that revelation, I had personally encountered the let down of trying to rely solely on motivation for accomplishing my daily objectives in life.
There may be a short-term win or gain to be had by sparingly using motivation, but in the long run, you will flame out on it. It is not sustainable. I have seen the light. Submitting to the grind of the work itself is your most reliable means of productivity.
The Recurring Theme Of Darkness
In addition to the championing of showing up for the work, there is a recurring and overt exploration of the darker side of life on his show.
Through this unflinching and unapologetic look at the darker side of humanity, Jocko is often able to shine a hopeful light through the cracks of darkness.
Anyone who has experienced a significant breakthrough in life has probably endured a period of darkness just prior. There is typically no major leaps of growth in life, without suffering some life altering challenges first.
There are plenty of books and shows that love to bask in the glory of breakthroughs themselves, or especially the post-challenge glow of success, but Jocko pays heed to the darkness. He dwells, eyes opened wide with no aversions, to the darker side of humanity.
He does not do this to exploit. He does not do this to be grim or forlorn. He does this because beyond the pale of darkness, can be redemption or quite possibly heights of joy like never felt before.
If that corner is not turned, though, if that redemption is too far out of reach, Jocko will simply sit beside the darkness and observe, for darkness is an ever-present theme of the human experience.
A Glimpse At The Psyche & Sacrifice Of Our Military
Beyond my casual enjoyment of some iconic war movies like Platoon and Saving Private Ryan, I admittedly am not drawn to military culture or content steeped in military musings. There is something happening for me here, though, with Jocko and his podcast. It is something that I am beginning to believe is important for all citizens of this country.
I am getting a peek behind the curtain of military life and especially military sacrifice. Prior to listening, I would not have feigned any interest in getting that glimpse, but it is an awareness that should be required for anyone who benefits from the security and comfort that is provided by the sacrifices of our military.
There are realities of war and realities of the mindsets of soldiers in a war that us civilian folk could never even begin to wrap our heads around. Jocko’s podcast is a real and significant step towards at least becoming aware, if not ever truly understanding the psyche of military personnel.
The hair on fire commitment and unyielding loyalty that Jocko and his guests hold true for their fellow soldiers and the missions they undertake is staggering. It makes me question If I have ever truly been committed to anything before in my life, love of family aside.
Life Lessons For All
I am not a military guy. I have no affinity for military related culture beyond a casual appreciation of some Hollywood films, but there is a broad human appeal to the content Jocko is producing.
Any show segment on his podcast about a military situation has much further reaching implications than the actual tactical events that unfolded.
The military has also established some of the most tried and tested processes for leadership and development of highly functioning performers. There is knowledge and actionable lessons to be had here for all callings in life.
The Top Episodes
In the world of podcasting, Jocko is relatively new, having debuted in December of 2015. I have pulled out and highlighted here five of my favorite episodes to date.
You will see from these five episodes, that while the content on his podcast is mostly centered around the military, his guests and discussions can roam anywhere and are always applicable to the overall human experience.
Jocko Podcast 56 w/ Peter Attia - Overcoming Stress, Sleep Deprivation, and The Darkness
If anyone is a fan of Tim Ferriss and his podcast or his recent book, Tools of Titans, then you are probably familiar with Dr. Peter Attia. Dr. Attia is a brilliant guy with an impressive and intriguing background.
I am most drawn to Peter’s knowledge and philosophies on diet and nutrition, which they do get into on this discussion, but the way this episode kicks off was so compelling to me.
The start of this episode explores Peter’s time as a surgical resident at John Hopkins, in the heart of Baltimore City. Anyone who has watched the show The Wire knows that Baltimore has constant and recurring trauma from violence surrounding the drug trade.
This discussion is another glimpse into a world many will never get to experience, yet it exists right under our noses. People should be aware of the peril, horror, sadness, and hope that all unfold daily in an inner city trauma unit like this.
Jocko Podcast 64 w/ Andy Stumpf - A Debt That Cannot Be Repaid. The Value And Cost Of Freedom
Andy Stumpf is a retired Navy Seal who was wounded in battle. I was drawn to his story from two different periods of his life, both at polar opposite ends of the human experience.
First, I was intrigued about his laser guided desire to become a Navy Seal. His awareness, at such a young age, to know that being a Seal was the only life for him, fascinates me. I am amazed when younger people can be so locked in on a pursuit of passion.
Secondly, I was captivated about the period in Andy’s life when he got wounded in battle, especially the aftermath. Andy had to contend with rehabbing a gunshot wound, the emotional battle of being withdrawn from war, and a mounting dependence on booze and prescription drugs when back home.
Andy is unfiltered and completely open in sharing his struggles from this period of his life. Much respect to him for doing so.
Jocko Podcast 74 w/ Harley Flanagan: Violence, Death, Darkness, & The Cro-Mags. Hardcore Life.
As soon as I saw Harley Flanagan was a guest on Jocko’s podcast I knew it would be a gripping show. I have been a huge fan of hardcore punk since I was in my late teens. I am fascinated by the culture and especially of tales from the scene in New York from the 80’s.
For the bands that came up in New York City from the 80’s, hardcore was literally their life. New York, particularly the Lower East Side where the scene dwelled, was a chaotic wasteland of violence, drugs, and poverty. Many of these guys lived in squats, fought against the most violent gangs imaginable, and scratched and scraped each day just to survive.
Harley is one of the most iconic figures from that time and is a polarizing figure within the scene. Whether you are a hardcore punk fan, or never even heard of the genre, you can not turn away from this episode. It is shocking and gripping the entire way through, while at times just flat out depressing.
This tale and exploration of the dark side of humanity do not necessarily wrap up in a pretty bow either. Harley’s story seems to still be unfolding.
Jocko Podcast 50 w/ Tim Ferriss: Darkness & How To Stay On The Path
This episode was a revelation to me on a few different fronts. I had been a big Tim Ferriss fan for a while, prior to hearing this episode, and had absolutely no idea Tim had a period in his life where he was committed to following through with a suicide.
I was shocked to hear Tim speak of this. This episode drove home the life-lesson that no matter how successful or together people may appear, everyone has demons and darkness that they have faced in life.
This episode also gave a harrowing and frankly saddening glimpse into the mindset of someone who is suicidal. Tim was so close and so committed to his plan, but thankfully through a twist of fate, his plan got interrupted.
The insight that Tim is able to relay, having been so close to suicide, is heartbreaking, but necessary for society at large to hear.
I give Tim respect for bravely sharing his story. I give Jocko credit for providing a platform for such a frank discussion on a topic that often sends people running for cover.
Jocko Podcast 11 with Leif Babin & Echo Charles: Jocko’s Retirement Speech
Leif Babin is a retired Navy Seal who served with Jocko and is also his co-author of their New York Time’s best-selling book Extreme Ownership.
This is a special episode on a few different fronts, with Leif representing as the first guest to appear on the podcast. These guys get into some emotional storytelling, with Jocko acknowledging it is the first time he got deep into a discussion about the Seals on the podcast.
If anyone is familiar with the film Sniper, Jocko and Leif talk in particular about some of the guys who were portrayed in this film, including Chris Kyle who was portrayed by Bradley Cooper. It is fascinating to get these firsthand accounts from two guys who served alongside Kyle.
Motivation None The Less
While Jocko is steadfast in his valuing of discipline over motivation, I had the ultimate ironic encounter with motivation just this morning. I awoke at 5:00 am by my alarm, to get some early writing done.
For a minute, I stood just outside my bedroom, not enthused about having to write and contemplating going back to bed. I called to mind the piece I had to write, which was this very piece here about Jocko’s podcast.
I immediately shunned any remaining temptation of lazily heading back to bed and got to work. Just the thought of Jocko’s podcast lit an immediate fire under my ass. Thank you for the motivation Jocko, however fleeting it may be.