83 Powerful Jocko Willink Quotes

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Jocko Willink is a former Navy SEAL who was awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star Medal for his service.

Today, Jocko is an author and podcaster who speaks about and teaches leadership and discipline.

He is a fascinating man to listen to and from his many appearances, he has inspired me to take action in my own life.

As a result, I wanted to share with you a handful of great Jocko Willink quotes.

I am certain that after reading these, you too will want to take action to improve your life as well.

83 Powerful Jocko Willink Quotes

Jocko Willink On Life

jocko willink quotes

#1. “When you’re too embarrassed to ask for help, that’s a little knock at your door saying, you’re insecure!” – Jocko Willink

#2. “All animals, including humans, need to see the connection between action and consequence in order to learn or react appropriately.” – Jocko Willink


#3. “Everyone wants some magic pill, some life hack, that eliminates the need to do the work. But that does not exist.”  – Jocko Willink


#4. “We all have a tendency to avoid our weaknesses. When we do that, we never progress or get any better.” – Jocko Willink

#5. “Go down swinging. And I’ll tell you, if you fight with all you have, more often than not, you won’t go down at all. You will win.” – Jocko Willink

#6. “The Darkness cannot extinguish your light, your will, your determination. No matter what is happening, no matter how hard the fight is. As long as you keep fighting, you win.” – Jocko Willink

#7. “It’s not fun to get out of bed early in the morning. When the alarm goes off, it doesn’t sing you a song. It hits you in the head with a baseball bat. So how do you respond to that? Do you crawl underneath your covers and hide? Or do you get up, get aggressive, and attack the day?” – Jocko Willink

Get up and go. Take the risk, take the gamble, take the first step, take action. And don’t let another day slip by.

#8. “Get up and go. Take the risk, take the gamble, take the first step, take action. And don’t let another day slip by.” – Jocko Willink

#9. “You can get out of the storm and you will get out of the storm. And, when you get out, you’ll see the sun.” – Jocko Willink

#10. “There are people in the world who have skills and strength and talent that I will never have. Never. These notions that you can be whatever you want to be as long as you want it bad enough are not true. They are fairy tales.” – Jocko Willink


#11. “Most things that never get done never get done because they never get started.” – Jocko Willink


#12. “Don’t ask yourself ‘Why Me’? Instead, ask yourself ‘What am I going to do about it?” – Jocko Willink

#13. “If I went back to my 20-year-old self, what I would tell my 20-year-old self is, ‘You don’t know anything.’ Because everyone, when they’re young, they think they know what’s going on in the world, and you don’t.” – Jocko Willink

#14. “Ego clouds and disrupts everything.” – Jocko Willink

#15. “Don’t let your mind control you. Control your mind.” – Jocko Willink

#16. “You’re not going to find happiness. You have to make it. So get out there and make some happiness.” – Jocko Willink

#17. “The earlier you get in the game and start applying yourself, the better the life you’re going to have.” – Jocko Willink

Remind yourself that this struggle, this temporary pain, this fight that you’re in, will make you stronger and faster and better. Then with that motivation you go forward into the fray, into the heat of the battle, where victory is formed.

#18. “Remind yourself that this struggle, this temporary pain, this fight that you’re in, will make you stronger and faster and better. Then with that motivation you go forward into the fray, into the heat of the battle, where victory is formed.” – Jocko Willink

#19. “Go out in a blaze of glory, fighting with everything you’ve got, every ounce of energy, every bead of sweat, every drop of blood, until your last breath. And then, and only then, can you stand down, put down your sword and your shield, and rest. In peace.” – Jocko Willink

#20. “You have to decide that you are going to be in control, that you are going to do what you want to do. Weakness doesn’t get a vote. Laziness doesn’t get a vote. Sadness doesn’t get a vote. Frustration doesn’t get a vote. Negativity doesn’t get a vote.” – Jocko Willink


#21. “Time waits for no man. Life goes by, and it goes by quick. Don’t waste your years. Live them.” – Jocko Willink


#22. “That nice, soft pillow and the warm blanket, and it’s all comfortable, and no one wants to leave that comfort. But if you can wake up early in the morning, get a head start on everyone else that’s still sleeping, get productive time doing things that you need to do, that’s a huge piece to moving your life forward.” – Jocko Willink

Jocko Willink On Leadership

#23. “A leader must be attentive to details, but not obsessed with them. They must be strong, but have endurance. A leader must be humble, but not passive. They must be close to subordinates, but not too close. A leader must exercise extreme ownership, but employ decentralized command. They must have nothing to prove, but everything to prove.” – Jocko Willink

#24. “I’m always reading the next book. Taking notes. Highlighting, researching, studying. It doesn’t stop.” – Jocko Willink

#25. “Once the wheels were in motion and the full resources of the team were engaged in that highest priority effort, I could then determine the next priority, focus the team’s efforts there, and then move on to the next priority.” – Jocko Willink


#26. “If you get your ego in your way, you will only look to other people and circumstances to blame.” – Jocko Willink


#27. “If you continue to keep low performers on your team, that are actually dragging the team down, you’re failing the whole team. And eventually, the whole team is going to fail.” – Jocko Willink

#28. “When personal agendas become more important than the team and the overarching mission’s success, performance suffers and failure ensues.” – Jocko Willink

#29. “To implement real change, to drive people to accomplish something truly complex or difficult or dangerous, you can’t make people do these things. You have to lead them.” – Jocko Willink

Instead of letting the situation dictate our decisions, we must dictate the situation.

#30. “Instead of letting the situation dictate our decisions, we must dictate the situation.” – Jocko Willink

#31. “Extreme ownership is a mindset, an attitude.” – Jocko Willink

#32. “A leader must lead but also be ready to follow.” – Jocko Willink

#33. “Good leaders don’t make excuses. Instead, they figure out a way to get it done.” – Jocko Willink

#34. “Get creative. Get aggressive. Get it done. When you are on the road, stay on the path.” – Jocko Willink


#35. “You don’t have time. That’s a lie. You don’t have support. That’s a lie. You don’t know the best way, or you’re too old, or you’re too young, or you’re too tired, or you’re too sore, or you’re just not feeling it. Lies lies lies.” – Jocko Willink


#36. “People do not follow robots.” – Jocko Willink

#37. “There can be no leadership when there is no team.” – Jocko Willink

#38. “Once people stop making excuses, stop blaming others, and take ownership of everything in their lives, they are compelled to take action to solve their problems. They are better leaders, better followers, more dependable and actively contributing team members, and more skilled in aggressively driving toward mission accomplishment. But they’re also humble, able to keep their egos from damaging relationships and adversely impacting the mission and the team.” – Jocko Willink

Step aggressively towards your fear. That is the step into bravery.

#39. “Step aggressively towards your fear. That is the step into bravery.” – Jocko Willink

#40. “There are no bad teams, only bad leaders.” – Jocko Willink

#41. “SEALs are human beings. We may all have the same haircuts, but we aren’t robots. Some SEALs are great people. Some are not great people. Some have done unspeakably terrible things. You’re dealing with different people, different dreams, different desires.” – Jocko Willink

#42. “It’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate.” – Jocko Willink

#43. “Overconfidence was risky in such a hostile environment, a mistake most often made by warriors who had never truly been tested.” – Jocko Willink

Jocko Willink On Discipline

#44. “If you allow the status quo to persist, you can’t expect to improve performance, and you can’t expect to win. If you are sick or injured, don’t use that as an excuse to skip workouts to stay in bed all day. Do what you can.” – Jocko Willink

#45. “Don’t count on motivation. Count on discipline.” – Jocko Willink


#46. “The lies will come, and they will come from you. The lies you will tell yourself are, it’s no big deal. You can have just a little. It isn’t worth it to feel this bad. The body needs carbs. You will rationalize, and start to listen to these lies. Don’t.” – Jocko Willink


#47. “I always have respect for the enemy. The minute you’re not showing respect to the enemy and their capabilities, that’s a lack of humility and it’s going to get you killed.” – Jocko Willink

#48. “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.” – Jocko Willink

#49. “While discipline and freedom seem like they sit on opposite sides of the spectrum, they are actually very connected.” – Jocko Willink

#50. “You are declaring martial law on your mind. Mind control.” – Jocko Willink

#51. “Recognize the excuses are not valid. They’re trumped up, they’re fabricated. They’re lies. How do you stop the lies? You stop them with the truth. The truth will set you free and stop the procrastination. The truth is that you have the time, you have the skill, you have the knowledge, the will power, the discipline to get it done. Cast out the lies and burn them down.” – Jocko Willink


#52. “Don’t expect to be motivated every day to get out there and make things happen. You won’t be.” – Jocko Willink


#53. “It’s pretty self explanatory. The more discipline you have in your life, the more freedom you have in your life. People are always looking for a remedy or a shortcut to make hard things easier. Things are hard for a reason. If they were easy, everyone would do them.” – Jocko Willink

#54. “If you don’t think you are disciplined, it is because you haven’t decided to be disciplined. Yet.” – Jocko Willink

#55. “Don’t fight stress. Embrace it. Turn it on itself. Use it to make yourself sharper and more alert. Use it to make you think and learn and get better and smarter and more effective. Use the stress to make you a better you.” – Jocko Willink

The storm that you’re in is hard to see out of and it seems like it’s everything. But the storm is not everything. And, it won’t last forever.

#56. “The storm that you’re in is hard to see out of and it seems like it’s everything. But the storm is not everything. And, it won’t last forever.” – Jocko Willink

#57. “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.” – Jocko Willink

#58. “Getting out of bed is like the foundation of the discipline, and I think it carries over into everything else.” – Jocko Willink

#59. “Discipline equals freedom.” – Jocko Willink

#60. “Fight weak emotions with the power of logic. Fight the weakness of logic with the power of emotion.” – Jocko Willink

#61. “Some things are completely out of your control and that’s fine. When that happens, you ask yourself ‘What can I control that will make this situation just a little bit better?’. Then you go. Don’t get crushed by things going wrong.” – Jocko Willink

Waking up early was the first example I noticed in the SEAL teams in which discipline was really the difference between being good and being exceptional.

#62. “Waking up early was the first example I noticed in the SEAL teams in which discipline was really the difference between being good and being exceptional.” – Jocko Willink

#63. “There is only hard work, late nights, early mornings, practice, rehearsal, repetition, study, sweat, blood, toil, frustration, and discipline.” – Jocko Willink

Jocko Willink On Success

#64. “Most of us aren’t defeated in one decisive battle. We are defeated one tiny, seemingly insignificant surrender at a time that chips away at who we should really be.” – Jocko Willink

#65. “Stop researching every aspect of it and reading all about it and debating the pros and cons of it. Start doing it.” – Jocko Willink

#66. “Perseverance is also key to success in any endeavor, but without perseverance in combat, there can be no victory.” – Jocko Willink

#67. “There is no such thing as a weekend. This is an everyday gig. Every day is a Monday.” – Jocko Willink

#68. “Didn’t get promoted? Good. More time to get better.” – Jocko Willink


#69. “Don’t just think. Don’t just talk. Don’t just dream. None of that matters. The only thing that matters is that you actually do. So do.” – Jocko Willink


#70. “Do not give up based on instinct. If you are forced to stand down, retreat so that you can rebuild and attack. But make that decision based on logic. Not on the instinct of surrender and defeat.” – Jocko Willink

#71. “I know that somewhere out there, another man is also preparing. That man is the enemy.” – Jocko Willink

#72. “If all you’re doing is grinding for the man, it’s going to burden you. Once you say, ‘Hey, I’m grinding for the man, but I’m putting money away, and this is part of my exit strategy,’ you’re working for you.” – Jocko Willink

#73. “Fear of failure is good. It will keep you up at night. Planning, rehearsing, and keeping you training hard. It will stop you from cutting corners. It will keep you thinking, working, and striving. I want you to be horrified, terrified, of sitting on your butt and doing nothing. That’s what you need to be truly afraid of, being stagnant.” – Jocko Willink

#74. “The more you practice, the better you get, the more freedom you have to create.” – Jocko Willink

#75. “That is what aggression is to me. The unstoppable fighting spirit. The drive. The burning desire to achieve mission success using every possible tool, asset, and strategy and tactic to bring about victory. It is the will to win.” – Jocko Willink

Prioritize your problems and take care of them one at a time, the highest priority first. Don’t try to do everything at once or you won’t be successful.

#76. “Prioritize your problems and take care of them one at a time, the highest priority first. Don’t try to do everything at once or you won’t be successful.” – Jocko Willink

#77. “Don’t think in the morning. That’s a big mistake that people make. They wake up in the morning and they start thinking. Don’t think. Just execute the plan. The plan is the alarm clock goes off, you get up, you go work out.” – Jocko Willink

#78. “When things are going bad there’s going to be some good that comes from it.” – Jocko Willink

#79. “The most important trait for someone to be successful and do well is to be humble. When someone’s not humble, that’s when they all of the sudden don’t listen to anyone else. They don’t want to evolve anymore because they think they know everything. So they don’t make any changes and they don’t improve. The most important quality is the quality of humility so that you can take criticism and change to improve yourself.” – Jocko Willink

Weakness is strong. I must be stronger.

#80. “Weakness is strong. I must be stronger.” – Jocko Willink

#81. “When your feelings are screaming 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.” – Jocko Willink

#82. “When you think you can’t take any more, guess what? You can. It’s proven by the stories of ordinary people in war.” – Jocko Willink

Keep fighting no matter what. You never quit. And if you feel like you’re in a place where you can’t get any lower and can’t find a way out, good. That means that the ultimate challenge is in front of you and the only way that you can go is up.

#83. “Keep fighting no matter what. You never quit. And if you feel like you’re in a place where you can’t get any lower and can’t find a way out, good. That means that the ultimate challenge is in front of you and the only way that you can go is up.” – Jocko Willink

Final Thoughts

There are 83 incredible Jocko Willink quotes.

After reading these, you should have the feeling that you are ready to take on the world.

Don’t let this feeling fade.

Take action now and take advantage of these feelings.

And when you don’t feel like taking action in the future, come back to these quotes to reignite the flame within.

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