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50 Jocko Willink Quotes to Motivate You to Take Charge of Your Life

Published on May 6, 2020 7:45 AM EST
50 Jocko Willink Quotes to Motivate You to Take Charge of Your Life

If you could use a little motivation and inspiration in your life, these Jocko Willink quotes will be exactly what you need. 

Jocko Willink is a highly decorated retired Lieutenant Commander from the United States Navy. He was commander of Seal Team 3 during the War in Afghanistan. 

50 Jocko Willink Quotes to Motivate You to Take Charge of Your Life

He is also an author, entrepreneur, and podcaster. The lessons that he learned throughout his career in the military provide all of us with the motivation that we can use during our daily lives. He is knowledgeable about everything from health and fitness to leadership and motivation. If you’re looking for a little inspiration in your life, who better to get it from?

Also check out these character quotes about building a great character.

Jocko Willink quotes about health and fitness

1. “Why do you want to get a good workout early in the morning? Well, because it sends more oxygen to your brain; it releases endorphins. It puts you in a state of mind where you can crush things, which is where you want to be.” – Jocko Willink

2. “I would say there are some foods that I strongly recommend that you do not eat. No. 1 on that list, I believe, is doughnuts. Comfort food. Zero value. Don’t eat them.” – Jocko Willink  

3. “The goal of jiu-jitsu in self-defense isn’t to take someone down to the ground – the goal in jiu-jitsu for self-defense is actually to be able to defend yourself on the ground, get up, and get away from an attacker. That’s what the goal is.” – Jocko Willink

4. “If you’re going to wake up early all the time, and you’re working hard, and you’re working out, sometimes you’re going to get tired. It’s OK. It’s acceptable – somewhat. We’re all human, unfortunately.” – Jocko Willink

5. “If you try and work out at 4:30 in the afternoon, how many people are going to chip away at that time? Your boss, your job, your work, your family, your other obligations that you might have. At 4:30 in the morning, all those people are asleep, so you can do whatever you want.” – Jocko Willink

Jocko Willink quotes about leadership

6. “A leader must be aggressive but not overbearing.” – Jocko Willink

7. “One of the key qualities a leader must possess is the ability to detach from the chaos, mayhem, and emotions in a situation and make good, clear decisions based on what is actually happening.” – Jocko Willink

8. “If I’m going to get you to do stuff, I need to lead you. I can’t just order you to do it.” – Jocko Willink

9. “Extreme Ownership: there are no bad teams, only bad leaders.” – Jocko Willink

10. “The temptation to take the easy road is always there. It is as easy as staying in bed in the morning and sleeping in. But discipline is paramount to ultimate success and victory for any leader and any team.” – Jocko Willink

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

12. “A leader must be attentive to details but not obsessed with them.” – Jocko Willink

13. “Human beings are generally not capable of managing more than six to ten people, particularly when things go sideways and inevitable contingencies arise.” – Jocko Willink  

14. “Some of the boldest, most successful plans in history have not come from the senior ranks but from frontline leaders. Senior leaders simply had the courage to accept and run with them.” – Jocko Willink

15. “Leadership is hard. It’s a skill. It’s a technique.” – Jocko Willink

16. “Put your leaders in stressful scenarios. Make them figure out solutions under pressure. See if you can make them frustrated, angry, and flustered, and then demand decisive leadership from them. They will be challenged at first, but they will get better over time.”- Jocko Willink

Jocko Willink quotes about improvement

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

18. “Getting better isn’t a hack or a trick or a one thing you need to change. Getting better is a campaign. Its an incessant fight that doesn’t stop against temptation, weakness and against laziness. Its a campaign of discipline. Hard work and dedication. Its going to bed late and waking up early and grinding it out every second in between – every single day.” – Jocko Willink

19. “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

20. “How do you stop making excuses? It’s actually pretty simple. You have to accept that all of your excuses are LIES.” – Jocko Willink

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

22. “It’s really hard to guarantee things in life. I guarantee if you get up in the morning and you work out, and you work hard, you will have a better day – 100% guaranteed.” – Jocko Willink

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

24. “If you allow the status quo to persist, you can’t expect to improve performance, and you can’t expect to win.” – Jocko Willink

25. “One of the best mental disciplines for people to implement is simply putting together a schedule or a task list and actually executing it. Write the list or the schedule the night before, and then do what you said you would do. Life becomes much better when you do that.” – Jocko Willink

26. “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?” – Jocko Willink

Jocko Willink quotes on taking action

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

28. “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

29. “Your success, or lack of success, is your responsibility. Even when you have a chain of command that you don’t like as well, its your responsibility to work with the up chain of command.” – Jocko Willink

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

31. “The idea isn’t going to execute itself…You have to do and do it now.” – Jocko Willink

32. “Unless you do the work, the world will never see your vision.” – Jocko Willink

33. “Get out there and do what you’re supposed to do whether you feel like it or not.” – Jocko Willink

Motivational Jocko Willink quotes

34. “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

35. “Didn’t get promoted? Good. more time to get better.” – Jocko Willink  

36. “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

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

38. “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.” – Jocko Willink

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

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

41. “Do not take the easy way out. Do not give up based on instinct. Take the step. Step aggressively toward your fear.” – Jocko Willink

More Jocko Willink quotes

42. “A person’s strengths are also often their biggest weaknesses.” – Jocko Willink

43. “Discipline is your best friend. It will take care of you like nothing else can.” – Jocko Willink

44. “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

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

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

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

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

49. “Things won’t get better dwelling on the past. Accept what has happened. Then move forward.” – Jocko Willink  

50. “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

What action are you going to take?

It’s one thing to read inspirational words and to feel motivated for a few minutes and it’s completely different to put those words into action in your own life. Spend a few minutes rereading your favorite quotes from above. What will you walk away with? 

What steps can you take today to start improving your life? Do you need to wake up a little earlier? Work on being a better leader? Or move on from the past and work on finding your own happiness? 

Don’t let these quotes be another thing that you read and don’t act on. Look for ways to put them into practice in your life right away. 

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Jocko Willink quotes and sayings? Do you have any other motivational quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.

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    Themis von Woellwarth

    May 9, 2020 at 1:07 PM


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