Jocko Willink is an extraordinary leader and human being. He’s a retired Navy SEAL who served two tours in Iraq, leading SEAL teams in some of the fiercest battles during the Iraqi conflict.
The experiences Jocko gained as a Navy Seal can teach you valuable leadership skills that you can apply to your own life. Jocko’s message is all about stepping up and getting work done without making excuses.
Here are my 43 favorite Jocko Willink Quotes that are sure to get you fired up and ready to take on your next challenge.
Best Jocko Willink Quotes
1. “DON’T THINK. DO.”
— Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) November 28, 2017
2. “You don’t “find” time to do what is important. You MAKE TIME. GO.”
3. “Blah blah blah blah DO WORK.”
4. “A leader must be aggressive but not overbearing.”
5. “I’m not saying 0430 is for everyone. But if your sleeping until 10 every day, get used to losing.”
6. “You’re not going to find happiness. You have to make it. So get out there and make some happiness.”
FINDING HAPPINESS. pic.twitter.com/jnzZYpB2M9
— Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) November 8, 2017
7. “A leader must be attentive to details but not obsessed with them.”
8. “A leader must be brave but not foolhardy.”
9. “Discipline is your best friend. It will take care of you like nothing else can.”
10. “A leader must be close with subordinates but not too close.”
11. “A leader must be confident but never cocky.”
12. “Do not take the easy way out. Do not give up based on instinct. Take the step. Step aggressively toward your fear.”
13. “When things are going bad there’s going to be some good that comes from it.”
14. “A leader must exercise Extreme Ownership. Simultaneously, that leader must employ Decentralized Command.”
15. “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, well then hell, it means you still have some fight left in you. So get up, dust off, reload, recalibrate, re-engage, go out on the attack.”
16. “Discipline is the root of all good qualities.”
17. “The idea isn’t going to execute itself…You have to do and do it now.”
18. “Ego clouds and disrupts everything.”
19. “Your life is like a story. You’re writing it. And you don’t know how long the story is. You don’t know how many chapters you’re gonna get. So I would say go ahead and fill ’em up.”
— Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) October 8, 2017
20. “A person’s strengths are also often their biggest weaknesses.”
21. “Extreme Ownership: there are no bad teams, only bad leaders.”
22. “Good leaders don’t make excuses. Instead, they figure out a way to get it done.”
23. “Each and every day I get back up and move forward with my fist clenched toward the battle.”
24. “I had to take complete ownership of what went wrong. That is what a leader does — even if it means getting fired. If anyone was to be blamed and fired for what happened, let it be me.”
25. “If frontline troops are unclear about the plan and yet are too intimidated to ask questions, the team’s ability to effectively execute the plan radically decreases.”
26. “If you allow the status quo to persist, you can’t expect to improve performance, and you can’t expect to win.”
27. “In chaotic, dynamic, and rapidly changing environments, leaders at all levels must be empowered to make decisions. Decentralized Command is a key component to victory.”
28. “It is essential to develop a standardized planning process.”
29. “Do not give up based on instinct. If you are forced to stand down. To retreat so that you can rebuild and attack so be it. But make that decision based on logic. Not on the instinct of surrender and defeat.”
30. “Get out there and do what you’re supposed to do whether you feel like it or not.”
— Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) November 17, 2017
31. “If it’s something you can’t control, how can you look at it in a different light? How can you see it in a way where you can take advantage of it? How can you take that stress and make it into some kind of ally?”
32. “When it comes to stress, don’t fight it. Turn it on itself and use it. Use it to make yourself sharper and more alert. Use it to make yourself think more and learn more.”
33. “Overconfidence was risky in such a hostile environment, a mistake most often made by warriors who had never truly been tested.”
34. “Unless you do the work, the world will never see your vision.”
35. “The better you understand yourself, the better you’ll become. You’ll be better. You’ll do better.”
36. “The leader is truly and ultimately responsible for everything.”
37. “Step aggressively toward your fear and that step toward your fear is the step toward bravery.”
38. “There can be no leadership when there is no team.”
39. “Those donuts aren’t food. They’re poison…All that junk isn’t food. It doesn’t fuel you. It kills you.”
40. “Imagine if you added up all those moments and all those seconds of hesitation and then all those opportunities that you missed because you hesitated and all those things you wish you would’ve done but you didn’t because you hesitated. Think if you added all that up and put it into a big pile. Imagine how big that would be…and what a waste.”
A BIG PILE OF… pic.twitter.com/TB69wpJLq7
— Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) September 19, 2017
41. “We’re scared of what we don’t know and there’s only one way to learn and to know and that is to confront that fear.”
42. “Most things that never get done never get done because they never get started.”
43. “Discipline Equals Freedom.”
Most Navy SEALS don’t become public faces or do candid interviews. That’s why it’s incredible that Jocko Willink created his own podcast where we can get real insights from a man who knows all about real leadership.
There are a lot of motivational gurus who talk about overcoming adversity. Jocko has led others through life or death situations and come out victorious.
And he didn’t stop after he left the military. These days he’s grinding harder than ever, waking up at 4:30 every morning and getting after it.
I’ll leave you with this epic Jocko Willink Ted Talk speech where he describes what extreme ownership really means. You can watch it below!
Did you enjoy this collection of Jocko Willink quotes? If so, you should check out my 21 favorite quotes from Tribe Of Mentors, the new book by Tim Ferriss.