Matt Franz : Zealous For Knowledge

Discipline = Freedom

Jocko Willink is a big scary dude. He commanded Seal Team 3’s Task Unit Bruiser during the Battle Of Ramadi (the same unit as Chris Kyle of American Sniper). He’s a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He’s the author of three books. He hosts Jocko Podcast. And runs a consulting company called Echelon Front.

His latest book is Discipline = Freedom: Field Manual. It’s exactly the kind of concise, actionable book I love. You’ll be fired up to get after it by the end. Below are my notes.

1. Discipline = Freedom.

This is what Jerzy Gregory meant when he told Tim Ferriss: “Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.”

This is also what Michel de Montaigne meant when he said “I conceive that pleasures are to be avoided if greater pains be the consequence, and pains to be coveted that will terminate in greater pleasures.”

2. Start now.

Self-discipline, as the very term implies, comes from the SELF. YOU. It comes when you make a decision to be disciplined. When you make a decision to be better.

People constantly ask me for the secret of getting up early. I tell them it is simple:   SET YOUR ALARM CLOCK AND GET OUT OF BED WHEN IT GOES OFF.

So stop thinking about it. Stop dreaming about it. Stop researching every aspect of it and reading all about it and debating the pros and cons of it … Start doing it.

3. Be an optimist.

So I explained to him that when things are going bad, there’s going to be some good that will come from it. Oh, mission got canceled? Good. We can focus on another one. Didn’t get the new high-speed gear we wanted? Good. We can keep it simple. Didn’t get promoted? Good. More time to get better. Didn’t get funded? Good. We own more of the company. Didn’t get the job you wanted? Good. Go out, gain more experience, and build a better resume. Got injured? Good. Needed a break from training. Got tapped out? Good. It’s better to tap out in training than to tap out on the street. Got beat? Good. We learned. Unexpected problems? Good. We have the opportunity to figure out a solution.

4. Don’t count on motivation.

Don’t worry about motivation. Motivation is fickle. It comes and goes. It is unreliable and when you are counting on motivation to get your goals accomplished—you will likely fall short. So. Don’t expect to be motivated every day to get out there and make things happen. You won’t be. Don’t count on motivation. Count on Discipline.

5. Discipline is a muscle: make it stronger by using it.

To the contrary, I believe, and studies have shown, that discipline and willpower do not go down as they are called into action—they actually get stronger.

Discipline begets discipline. Will propagates MORE WILL.

Waking up early and exercising is a keystone habit. In The Power Of Habit Charles Duhigg defines keystone habits as habits which cause a chain reaction of other good habits.

Jocko says:

Before you go to bed, plan what workout you are going to do in the morning. Stage your workout clothes so you don’t even have to think when you get up. Write down a list of things you need to accomplish the next day. Set your alarm clock for 4:30 a.m. and go to sleep.

When the alarm clock goes off—get up. Put on your pre-staged clothes. Brush your teeth and go get your workout on. Hard. Get done, shower, get dressed, and begin to crush your list of tasks for the day.

When it is time for breakfast, see what happens. You won’t want to eat junk. You won’t want that disgusting donut. You will want some eggs and bacon. And that will happen at lunch too. You are feeling good. Energized. You don’t want to eat the worthless calories of pizza or French fries. You want fuel. Good fuel to rebuild your body. Clean fuel that keeps your mind sharp. When you are on the path you want to stay on the path.

6. There are no days off.

This isn’t a part-time gig. This isn’t punch the clock and go home for the day. You don’t get weekends off. No. Here: There’s no such thing as a weekend. This is an everyday gig: Every day is a Monday. And you might not like that. Me? I love it. To me, every day is a beginning. A new day. A new week. A new shot at life. An opportunity to come out of the gate like a man possessed and attack the day: Without mercy.

You are an addict. There is no such thing as an addict who is allowed to use their drug of choice 20% of the time, whether it is alcohol or cocaine or heroin. You are in the same boat. Going cold turkey and HOLDING THE LINE is the best way to stay on track.

When you are tired or sore or burned out, don’t just give up completely. Go to the gym and stretch. Move. Do some light exercises. But keep the routine in place.

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