Study Notes: Jordan Harbinger/Jocko Willink Interview

The Analysis: coaching insights from a warrior (ex Navy SEAL). Notes jotted in chronological order (a few with rough time stamps) and taken from a coaching perspective.

The Notes:
•if Jocko could tell his 20-year-old self anything, it would be that he doesn’t know anything. Growth happens in five year increments — when you’re 20, you think you know everything. When you’re 25, you go, “oh wow, at 20 I didn’t know anything, but I know it all now.” Etc, etc, through 30 and 35, and by the time you hit 40 you realize there’s a pattern and you still don’t know anything.
“The best deliverer of humility is life itself.” — Jocko Willink
•to teach humility, give somebody a project that they can’t handle — slightly outside their competency level, “hey, since you’re so smart, go ahead and do x” (~6 min)
•to teach confidence, give somebody a project within their competency level “hey, this is a big project, can you handle this for me?” And when they successfully complete it they’re more competent. And then they can move up to take your job and you can take somebody else’s job.
•don’t feel threatened by other people taking your job. You want to train people to take your job, and you’ll move up too.
•to give feedback to somebody above you, don’t tell them they’re wrong (unless they’re a great leader, they’ll be offended). Instead, ask them to elaborate on a couple points you’d like clarification on (why are we doing this x way, etc.) This forces them to think about it. You’re coming from a perspective of wanting to help their plan, and they’re open to you. Maybe their plan is actually fantastic, and you didn’t understand it, and if you still don’t understand you ask “why are we doing it this way instead of this way?” You can do this DOWN the chain of command too. ~10 min
•”If you want freedom in your life, there’s only one way to do that, and that’s discipline.” — Jocko Willink
•external discipline vs internal discipline — external discipline is good, but it’s finite. You need internal discipline to sustain it.
•to avoid having people tell you what to do, get ahead of the curve and do it before they ask you to.
•people know what they need to do. They know what they need to do to make their life better.
•Jocko watched his leaders when he was in the SEALs and he figured out what he liked and what he didn’t, to mimic when he was a leader.
“When you write things down, you have to think about it. The more you think about something, the better you understand it.” — Jocko Willink
•the path to misery is a comfortable path. The path to slavery is a comfortable path.
•if you did burpees today instead of watching TV, if you eat beef jerkey instead of a donut, you won’t notice a difference in your life trajectory. But if you did that every single day, your whole life trajectory would change.
•the stakes are just as high in the real world as they are in combat, it’s just harder to see. You have one life and death is coming fast. Your life is on the line every day when you wake up (and the trajectory and quality of your life).
“Do not accept your weaknesses. Fight every day to change them.” — Jocko Willink
•when you don’t like anything at all, but you know it’s something you know you should do, you gotta lean into it, because that means you need it.
•most of the time when humans think they need rest, they don’t. Take rest when you know you need it, but take it tomorrow. Err on the side of pushing yourself.
•logic and emotion work in tandem, especially wen you have to dig a little deeper. When your logic tells you it’s time to stop, you need to dig into the emotions and push it. If your emotions are struggling to keep going, you have to dig into the logic to keep going. (~43 min)

Diner Sketches 4.1.18

Location: Bob’s Diner, Carnegie, PA
Date: 4.1.18 (Easter)

The Game: while waiting for your food at a diner (or any public place, really, though diners are most fun), choose and describe people around you. Don’t give away any blatantly obvious details, but write with the intent that someone could look around the room and pick the subject out.The Sketches:

A waitress with too much belly — she’d be the quintessential American girl, but she was too soft around all the edges, and too tired. “Just you today?”
“Yes, just me.” His voice had a slight tremor, and his shoulders weren’t straight, but he walked steady.
She took him up the stairs to the top part of the diner, and he sat slowly, facing the rest of the diner, easing his joints down.
She spoke not quite to him, but past him. “Do you know what you want?”
“Yes,” he said. “Two eggs.”
“Anything else?”
She wrote something on her pad — like she didn’t trust herself to remember two eggs — and walked back through the diner to the kitchen. He sat and stared out across the diner with eyes that had turned dim from seeing too much life. There were still a few strands of dark around the bald spot on his hair. He wore a black sweater and a blue checked shirt — dressed like he’d come from meeting someone, or was meeting someone here. The careful class of a man who had outlived his time. His ears looked leathery, from years and years of sun.
He watched the open kitchen, watched the two cooks moving across the open range. His face was impassive, as if he didn’t think, just saw. The waitress moved back and forth through the rows of tables. From far away you could see she was wearing old running sneakers. She looked like she didn’t sleep at night.
Old diner along an old stretch of road. Run down town that passed its prime about fifty years ago and then got left behind. A young waitress who watched the road out the window but would never leave. An old man who had never left.
There was an upward tilt to his eyebrows, and they rose when he smiled. His hairline came down in a point on his forehead, turning his face into a heart. He was rather pretty to the eyes. His shirt was garish — too many colors, too bright. Trying to be hip, suave, hipster, but just looking out of place. The smooth movements of his eyes and the darkness around them. He’d about halfway gotten it, was halfway sincerely embodied, but the other half was trying too hard. He tilted his head back when he smiled.
She had a slim frame and a face with strong bone framing, wide at the top, and rounded, but with a sharp chin. It looked almost like an insect. It was the kind of face that could be beautiful if it was framed with her hair, and with darkness around her eyes, and her lips slightly parted in a photograph — the kind of photo that would take her own breath away, but she couldn’t see it, drowning in a tshirt and with her hair back.
She wore a hair tie with flowers. Her shoulders rounded slightly as she bent over a table and wiped it down — movements with so much vigor. She tried too hard to be happy, peppy, energetic. She moved faster than anybody else working there — bounced slightly when she walked. There was a slight awkwardness about the way she carried herself, a girly awkwardness, and an innocence.
She’s the kind of girl that men watch but who herself can’t understand why — she can’t see it when she looks in the mirror.
Her lips were so pink. She smiled too much at the customers when they came and left.