Jocko Willink is a former Navy Seal. He has a popular podcast that focuses on everything military. He will read the accounts of soldiers in battle throughout history. One of my favorite podcasts was listening to him read and then explain Eiji Oshikawa’s book about the life of Miyamoto Mushashi, a Japanese Samurai from the 1600s. Read that book. It is well worth it, but this Bookish Weapon is not about Mushashi, but Jocko’s book “Discipline Equals Freedom.”
If you could take one thing from this book it would be that no matter what happens the proper response is “Good.” This is Jocko’s trademark phrase. It provides a great perspective on the malevolence and suffering of life. No matter what happens it is “Good.” It reminds me of Hal Elrod’s “Five Minute Rule.” The idea is to find the good in anything.
Yesterday, my car was broken into and a tool kit was stolen. Of course the theives tossed by belongings all over inside the car. Last night I used both Jocko’s and Hal’s approach. Said to myself, “Good” I will be more careful about what I leave in the car from now on and I remembered that I “can’t change it.” Another good thing about what happened is it gave me more compassion for people who have been victims of theft.
Besides “Good” there were two things Jocko stressed in his book that had the most impact on me. The first has to do with emotions vs logic and the second overwhelm. He says it best in both cases:
“When your feelings are screaming at you that you have had enough, when you think you are going to break emotionally, override that emotion with concrete logic and willpower that says one thing: I DON’T STOP.” Fight weak emotions with the power of logic; Fight the weakness of logic with the power of emotion.”
Then in the case of feeling overwhelmed he says:
“Life is hard. That’s what life is. And these challenges that you face, they are going to do their best to take you down. Do not let them. Stand up. Dig in. Line up those problems and confront them – face them – fight them.”
And this is the best part:
“Do not let them bring you down. Instead, let those challenges raise you up-let them elevate you. Let their demands and their trials make you stronger-let the adversity you face today turn you into a better person tomorrow. So in the future, you look back at these struggles and you say to them: Thank you – you made me better.”