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Ret. Navy SEAL Jocko Willink on Embracing Discomfort and Leading Through Extreme Ownership (+ His Real Estate Investing Tips!)

The BiggerPockets Podcast
74 min read
Ret. Navy SEAL Jocko Willink on Embracing Discomfort and Leading Through Extreme Ownership (+ His Real Estate Investing Tips!)

Decorated Navy SEAL commander. Author. Podcaster. And house hacker?!

Yes, Jocko Willink invests in real estate and shares some great tips… but that’s not the only reason he’s on the show today. And it’s not the only reason why he’s sure to be one of our most popular guests to date.

You see, Jocko looks at life’s challenges differently. And after hearing his message, you might, too.

Contractor rip you off? Good. Rental property flooded? Good. Spent a bunch of money and never found a deal? GOOD!

Actually, great!

Now you can learn something about yourself. You can get tougher. You can improve.

That’s the worldview Jocko outlines in his No. 1 New York Times bestseller Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win.

Today, we dive deep into how to apply this mindset to your business. PLUS, we discuss Jocko’s philosophy on leading teams, managing risk, harnessing your ego, and foregoing comfort in pursuit of long-term goals like financial freedom.

You’ll also love getting to know Jocko the real estate investor!

From buying a hoarder house filled with chicken bones to dividing his kids’ bedrooms into “prison cell”-sized sleeping quarters, Jocko discusses how some sacrifice goes a long way toward creating financial freedom—even on a modest military salary.

Beware: by the end of this show, you might just be staring down your fears and greeting your biggest obstacles head-on with the word “good.”

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Brandon: All right, Jocko, welcome to the Bigger Pockets podcast. Man, this has been a dream of mine for the last several years to have you on here, so thank you for joining us.

Jocko: Yeah, thanks for having me on. Sorry it took so long. Been busy, just like you guys are.

Brandon: No, it’s awesome. We’re going to have a good time today. So I want to go through… In the introduction I explained a little bit about who you are and what you’ve done, but I want to go in the beginning of your story on what was pre-military Jocko? What was that like, who were you, what kind of kid were you before you joined the military?

Jocko: I always wanted to be in the military. I always wanted to be some kind of commando. I was running around in the woods, I was putting mud on my face. I was turning every stick I could find into a weapon and that’s how I grew up, but I was also a very rebellious kid, so I was listening to hardcore music and heavy metal music and getting into fights and just doing dumb stuff, wasn’t really focused in school and I just thought the whole time it doesn’t matter what I do because I’m just going to go in the military and that’s what I ended up doing.

Jocko: Got done with high school, enlisted in the Navy and that ended up being the perfect place for me and I wouldn’t change anything about my military career at all, other than obviously losing guys in combat, but the career that I had was awesome.

Brandon: Why did you choose Navy?

Jocko: I liked the water and I heard that the SEAL Teams was a maritime component of special operations, so I figured if I could be a commando in the water, that’s even better.

David: You’ve mentioned before, I’ve heard you say that when you got into the military it just made sense. You had the structure that might not have been there and what you were looking for was a direction. You had all this energy, but you didn’t know where to put it and the military is very simple. They basically give you the floor plan, “Hey this is what you do. Just go do it.” You don’t have to be creative and figure things out. Can you describe a little bit of what the feeling was like where you knew, “This is where I’m supposed to be. I belong here?”

Jocko: I think I went through the same kind of initial shock of boot camp that everybody goes through where all of your freedoms, and all of your privacy gone. So that takes about probably 12 to 24 hours to say, “Okay, I get it. I understand what’s happening.” Pretty much after that I was… and even while that was going on I was kind of into it, man. I’d been waiting, so I was ready and it didn’t take long for me to recognize the fact that I had a blank slate, so all the dumb stuff I’d done as a kid was gone, it didn’t matter, no one cared what my background was, no one cared who my parents were, no one cared what my grades were.

Jocko: No one cared about any of that. It was do what you’re supposed to do and you’ll progress. So as soon as I figured that out, which was, like I said, very quickly, I got on board and started trying to be a good military individual and then when I got to SEAL teams I tried to be a good SEAL.

David: The reason I ask is there’s a lot of people that want to get into real estate investing, they’re not happy where they are and so they’re kind of like flying in orbit around this whole entrepreneurship idea, but they don’t know how to get all the way in there and they don’t know if they should and I really like that you pointed out that you didn’t fit in with the world that you were living in before. You were getting into trouble. You just probably needed a place to test, “Who am I?” and you’re trying to answer that question and getting into fights was the closest thing you could find.

David: Then when you found the environment of the military it all made sense to, and there’s a lot of people that are in their jobs feeling the same way. They know they have creative ideas, they know they have things that want to do, but their job is to sit there and look at that spreadsheet and put in those numbers, not to come up with a new marketing plan, and when you find it, if they could find what you described when you entered the military that’s something people should absolutely grab a hold of and say, “Okay, I need to pursue this harder.”

Jocko: I definitely think that if you can find something that you enjoy doing you should try and do that as much as you can. I also think you have to recognize the fact that if you’re going through life as a normal human being, you’re going to have to do some things that you don’t want to do and that’s okay too. Even when you talk about real estate, I was always trying to buy houses and I was always buying… the old strategy, not that I did this purposely because I wasn’t really smart enough to figure this out, but you know the strategy of you buy the worst house in the nicest neighborhood that you can afford, buy the worst house on the block. So I was doing that not because I wanted the worst house or not because it was a long term strategy but because in the areas I wanted to live the only house I could afford happened to be the worst house on the block, which meant I was often moving into houses that were barely livable.

Jocko: The first couple houses that I bought out in California were unlivable when I bought them. As a matter fact, the first house that I bought in California, when I brought my wife there, she wanted to walk away from the deal because the person had been collecting chicken wishbones… you know what a wishbone is [inaudible 00:06:46]

David: Yeah.

Jocko: So the person had been collecting this chicken wishbones and they were all hanging on strings above the kitchen sink. I’m talking probably 50 chicken wing bones in this and the counter in the kitchen was made of wood. So what that meant, it was severely rotted out, it smelled, it was gross. There was this disgusting deep maroon shag carpet that was all worn down to the mat and I’m going through this walkthrough with my wife, my wife just wants to walk away from the deal and I just had to say, “Listen, I’ll be in there, I’ll get it livable,” and that’s what I did on that house.

Jocko: The next house that I bought in California, same thing. It was unlivable when I bought it. I had to go in there and I remember I had 72 hours, we had renters moving into the first house I bought in California and I had 72 hours to get my “new house,” air quotes around new house because it was anything but new, I had 72 hours to prepare that thing to move my wife and my two daughters into. So I was awake for 72 hours, I was doing rehab on the house, getting it good enough to move into. So it’s not like I went into a situation saying, “Hey, great, I want to do this, that’s the ideal for my family,” but I had to look, the short term suffering was going to pay off in the long term and both those situations worked out.

Brandon: Man, that’s such a truth of life. So many people I see out there who want anything, anything, whether it’s fitness, whether it’s real estate, whether is business or whatever, they look at a situation like that and they’re like, “Oh, I would never do that. I would never go and live in a property like that. I would never do that to my family. I would never do that to my kids,” and when I look at my own life, almost everything good I’ve ever got was from a situation that most people would be like, “I would never do that,” because I just feel like that’s what separates people who actually succeed from those who don’t.

Jocko: Yeah, that’s absolutely the truth. The other thing is, I was talking about with my kids the other day, when my kids were young we didn’t have any money. I was in the Navy, you don’t make a lot of money in the Navy and every penny that I did make, I was paying a mortgage with it or a couple mortgages or three mortgages with it. So the whole time my kids, I was the guy that was out buying used Christmas presents, you know what I mean? And my kids never knew it. My kids were thankful that I got them whatever, pair of pants, they didn’t know that they came from a thrift store, and that’s just the way it is.

Jocko: So I think if you enjoy it, if you can have the attitude that you see what’s going to come to fruition long term, it allows to find some joy in what you’re doing, and you know what? Maybe this is just an individual thing, but I like suffering through those things. I think it builds character and I have a good time doing it. There was a time period also where my wife and I, we bought our second house in California and it was a really small house and my wife got pregnant.

Jocko: So now we went from having two girls to having two girls and a boy and it was a two bedroom, 934 square foot house and my wife and I lived in the living room. So when you walked through the front door of my house, on the right-hand side was a couch and the left-hand side… I mean, on the left-hand side, literally when you walked through the door was our bed, was where we slept and that’s the way it was. We slept in the living room and we did that until I saved up enough money to put a little addition on the back so we could have our own bedroom. Again, you know what? It was fun, that’s what we did. That’s what we were doing and I had a vision of where it would lead to in the future, so it’s all good.

Brandon: Go ahead David.

David: I was going to say there’s something to be said for if you can, what you said, embrace the mindset of make it fun while it sucks. When I was working as a police officer I was living in rooms of other police officers and paying $500 a month for rent and saving 100% of my paycheck to go buy rentals and I had about 11 rentals before I ever bought my own house. It was actually fun the way camping is fun. If you have that attitude of, “This is going to make me a lot of money later. This delayed gratification is going to pay off later,” you can find joy in what you’re doing, like the way we laugh about the chicken bone story. I’ve never heard that. That’s very funny. I bet it didn’t feel like a ton of fun when you were walking in the house with the wife and thinking, “I got to get her on board. She’s not going to see the vision,” but those are the turning point moments. Like if we asked you what those houses are worth now, I’m sure everybody listening would say, “Oh hell yeah, I would do that, that’s totally worth it,” but it doesn’t feel like that in the moment.

Jocko: Yeah, no, I got to tell you, I was laughing to be quite honest with you. I was looking at those chicken bones and thinking, “Okay, well this what we’re doing. We want to live by the beach in California. We want to live by the beach in San Diego-

David: You got to earn it.

Jocko: You got to deal with some chicken bones, that’s the way it is.

Brandon: I feel like that’s going to be an anecdote in a future book of yours, the chicken bone story, there we go. That’s awesome. All right, well let me ask you, overarching, you’re not known for being the real estate guy. You’re like the extreme ownership and the dichotomy of leadership and all of this military stuff, but you’ve done some real estate. So just for our audience, since a lot of them are entrepreneur in the real estate space, what is your real estate philosophy, what have you done, what’s that look like for you?

Jocko: My real estate philosophy is I would buy places that were, like I just said, kind of the best thing I could afford in a neighborhood which is usually the worst thing in the neighborhood and fix them up, live in them for a while and as soon as I could save up enough money to buy something else I would and then I ended up branching out with a bunch of friends and we own a bunch of properties, both commercial and residential in various parts of the country, so it’s been great.

Jocko: What I really like about it and this is advice I give to young military guys and girls, but folks that are in the military, because you’re not going to get rich being in the military and yet it’s a great job, it’s a noble profession, it’s a secure job… That’s another thing, the real estate market crashed and the economic travesty that unfolded in 2007-2008, I was in the military. I barely even knew what happened. My paycheck was coming in, I was paying my mortgage. It was no factor to me and I had a lot of friends… Well, the people that I know I should say, in the civilian sector, they were getting crushed by that and for me it was just another day.

Jocko: So from a real estate perspective what I tell folks that are in the military is instead of paying rent, buy a house, rent out the rooms. You know you buy a little three bedroom house, rent out all three of those bedrooms and sleep in the living room yourself, that’s what you do, pretty soon you’ll be able to save up enough money to put a down payment on another place and put a down payment another place, and move in there, and do the same thing and just keep doing that. You got to forgo your comfort a little bit, and David, I’m not sure, when you were paying $500 a month for rent living in this various houses, were you married, did you have kids?

David: No, I was single.

Jocko: Yeah, and that’s the perfect time to do it.

David: Yep.

Jocko: You do it when you’re young, you do when you’re single, you do it when you don’t have kids, you do it when the only person that’s really going to suffer is you and it’s not really suffering. Like you said, if you’re having a good time with it, it’s all good. So like anybody else, I believe real estate a very good longterm investment. I saw enough people get caught upside down and crushed by the economic downturn, so I’m not one of these people that tells everyone to go out and leverage as much as they can to buy as many properties as they can. I say think about what you’re doing and don’t over leverage, but you can’t buy a house and think, “Oh cool, I’m just going to flip this and its guaranteed to go up $100,000 in value and two years.” That’s not a guarantee and might end up owning that place for a long time.

Jocko: So set yourself up, think about it, take risks, but don’t risk what you… It’s like gambling, don’t risk what you can’t afford to lose, and if you can buy a house and you don’t mind getting stuck in that house for three years or five years while the economy turns back around and digs itself out of a hole, hey, there’s no factor. If you buy a place that you hate living in or you’re not going to live in or you have no ability to rent it and you’re going to either lose it or you’re going to be forced to live in a place that you hate, you may want to think about that.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s good advice. Somebody the other day asked if I’m worried about a coming recession. You know the recessions tend to happen every decade or so and we are definitely due for one. Whether or not it hits this year or 10 years from now, they asked if I was worried about it. I said, “I don’t worry about it, I plan it.” Like every decision I make today is based on am I willing to hold this property should the market turn? Am I willing to hold this for three, five, 10 years? Will I have an exit strategy by doing that and if so, then yeah, I’ll move forward with it, but if not then I’m not going to because I don’t want to be the guy in 2008 caught with their pants down, which was a whole lot of people.

Jocko: A whole lot of people, it was horrible to watch and it’s a good warning for everyone right now and forever, be careful what you do, don’t over leverage yourself and what you just said is the exact same philosophy I have. If I think I can hang onto to this thing, worse comes to worse and I can put a couple renters in there and cover a little bit of subsidize that a little bit if I have to, okay, cool, I’ll do it, but if I’m doing massive leverage on something that I wouldn’t be able to rent, on something that I would never want to live in, okay, well that might not be the best call.

David: Well, that’s where the risk comes in, but you mitigate your risk when you’re willing to be uncomfortable. That’s all that this really is, is, “Okay, I’ll rent out the bedrooms and I’ll sleep in the family room. Now I’m coming out-of-pocket $200. I can work at Applebee’s and make $200. That’s not a big deal.”

David: That mindset I guess… This is why I wanted Jocko on the podcast so bad and our guests have heard me talk about this for a while, is you do a better job of teaching this than anyone I’ve ever heard, that having mindset that embraces, “It’s hard, that’s good.” Sleeping in the family room or on the couch or whatever you got to do to get through that tough time not only allows you to take the risk that you need to take to get the house to accomplish your goals, but it makes the next thing that you undertake that much easier because you conditioned yourself to not needing comfort and not needing to be a prima dona.

David: When I read your book, Extreme Ownership, I don’t know how to describe what that was like. It was the best feeling ever. Brandon described it as the feeling of, “Okay that guy just put into words what I’ve been feeling my whole life and more people need.” That’s why I love what you’re talking about, because it’s really just looking at… If you look at it and say, “Okay, I’m sleeping in the family room. I’m in America, I have running water, I have a toilet, I have a roof over my head. My bed is a little less comfortable, but I’m sleeping in a bed. For most of the time the world has been spinning people slept on the ground in a cave if they were lucky. You know, “Was the dirt soft?” It doesn’t seem so bad at that point.

David: When I was working as a cop I was working 100 weeks and people said, “How do you do it?” and I just said, “I sit in an air conditioned vehicle, temperature controlled, the car does most of the work. I go on a couple calls an hour, but out of a 20 hour day a few hours of that was hard work.” The rest of it is not really that bad and if I keep thinking that way, then I can keep doing it and you understand that mindset. Do you mind expanding on that a little bit for what you’ve seen with people that you’ve been trying to coach or help the mindset that when they can embrace it, it typically leads to a happier and a more successful life.

Jocko: Any situation that you get in, no matter how negative it is there are positive things that are going to come from it, and if you allow yourself to focus on the negative aspects of something, well then that’s where you’re going to go, that’s where you’re going to go mentally, and that’s where you’re going to go emotionally and that’s where you’re going to go physically, but if you look at these small positives, whether it’s, “Hey look, I’m in an air conditioned car,” or whether it’s, “Hey look, I own a piece of real estate by the beach in California,” if you look at those positive things that will keep you mentally moving and emotionally moving in the right direction. So those things are really important.

Jocko: I’m just thinking it goes further. After I had my son several years later my wife got pregnant again. So now, even though we had built the new room on there for my wife and I, well guess what? Now I had four kids and one was going to be a baby. So what I did is I took and went and cut my son’s bedroom in half. So I had my newborn baby and my son, which was like six or seven at the time, I had them living in fundamentally a prison cell sized room, but that’s what I had to do and that’s what you know, you get your work boots on, you strap on your hammer, and you go out there and make it happen and for me it was awesome, it was like, “Hey, my kids have their own room. It’s 10 by 8, but they have their own room,” and my wife was like, “Cool, it sounds good to me.”

Jocko: So yeah, as a opposed to, “Oh my gosh, this is horrible. They’re in this tiny rooms. We’re not providing for them correctly. [inaudible 00:19:25].” No, it’s actually, “We’re awesome. We’re taking care of them. We’re doing the best we can and they’re going to be stoked one day and they’re going to look back and say, ‘Yeah, that’s the way we grew up and it was a good time.'”

Brandon: Yeah, you know there’s a thing we talk about a lot in personal finance called the creep, with the income creep and basically it says over time we tend to like… Here’s an example. When I was in college my wife and I, when we first got married and we were young and super poor, we stayed in car. Everywhere we traveled we just slept in the back seat of the car. I’m 6’5-and-a-half, like awkward tall, and she’s 5’10”, we’re tall people, crammed in the back of a little Prius. That’s what we did because we had to do it.

Brandon: Then later on I got a little more money, started staying at Super 8 motels. Like Super 8 was high level. Then it moved up to a little bit nicer hotel. Then today I go somewhere and my instant thought it like, “I wonder what the Marriott has, or maybe the Four Seasons.” I’m pushing up there, right? So the danger that everybody goes through is this idea of once to get to that level it’s really hard to back down that creep. So that’s why people who earn a half-a-million dollars a year are living paycheck to paycheck while people who are earning $50,000 a year are living paycheck to paycheck. They’re all living there because everyone just increases their thing.

Brandon: The reason I brought that up is because it’s that concept of like, “Oh, I couldn’t put my kids in an 8 by 10 bedroom.” It’s because the creep has made it so the standard is my kids should have a pony and my wife should have a Lexus. “I can’t put my wife in a Toyota because that would be irrational and awful.” So that’s just something I constantly having to remind myself, as I build wealth and as I get more and more successful in life it’s like, “Let’s not get too comfortable at this level.” There’s this like, “I have to be content in all situations and not just in the good ones.”

Jocko: Yeah, and that goes back to what risk you’re willing to take and I’ll tell you, when we were early on, making some moves, investing money into my own businesses and stuff like that, I said to my wife, “Hey look, worst case scenario, we’ll be in an RV traveling the coast of California surfing, and I would be totally stoked to do that. I’d be fine. Best case, maybe instead of an RV on the beach we’ll have a house on the beach. It’s all good.”

Jocko: When David was saying earlier like, “Hey, you’ve got to take some risk,” for sure, but I don’t try and dictate to people what level of risk they should take because I know there’s people out there that driving a Lexus is more important to them than it is to me or having your kid in an 8 by 10 room is a sin to them or something that’s totally awful. For me it’s no factor. So yeah, you got to look at what the worst case scenario is for you and then you got to figure out if you’re willing to take that risk.

Jocko: Look, the bottom line is if you want to get rewarded you’re going to have to take risk and the more risk you take the bigger reward you’re going to have, but you got to remember that things are not always going to go your way and no matter what anyone says, when the market crashed there was a handful of people in the world that predicted that and actually acted on it. There was a bunch of people saying, “Oh, it’ll crash, it’ll crash,” but they didn’t act on it. So you have to be prepared, whatever you wager you have to be prepared to end up in a worst case scenario, where you’re living in an apartment with your kids and it’s a one bedroom and you and your wife are sleeping in the living room and the kid are sleeping in the bedroom now. If you’re okay with that, take some risk. If you’re not, then adjust your output so that it matches what you’re willing to deal with.

David: You’re so right and the people that took the risk in 2009, 2010, ’11, when everybody was saying… Like that’s when I started buying houses, when everyone was saying, “Don’t do it at all,” but I was able to because I was renting a bedroom for $500 a month, so if it all fell apart who cares, I would have been all right. What I learned was that the more that you’re willing to endure or adjust, like what you said, the more risks you can take, which equals bigger rewards without necessarily bigger consequences because it’s not like my family was going to go hungry because I had put myself in that situation.

David: I know you’ve been through very difficult things in your career. Just for instance, like Hell Week for you, when you through BUD/S training and then some of the deployments you did, that really established a baseline for you that you know, “I don’t care how miserable it is, I will figure out a way to make it.” That actually helps you in the business world because you can accept it’s going to be really tough, “I’m going to be living in an RV,” or whatever, “I will take bigger risks,” and then a hard day’s work to you doesn’t feel like a hard day’s work because you’ve done a harder day’s work before and that was the mindset I was talking about with how I can work a 20 hour day.

David: Have you noticed that a lot of the successful people you [inaudible 00:24:11] with now had that same trait, that they went through a more difficult thing earlier in their life, so now it doesn’t seem as tough for them to do what they have to do to win?

Jocko: I think that if anyone is going to reach any level of success they’re going to A, have to take some risks and B, along the way they’re going to lose, they’re going to get tripped up sometimes, it happens to everybody. That’s when that attitude that you were talking about earlier, that I talk about, which is people that got tripped up and said, “Oh no, this is a disaster and I’m never going to make it out of this,” well guess what? They don’t. People that say, “Oh I got tripped up, cool, now I have a better story to tell in 10 years when I do get to where I want to be.” People who have that attitude they tend to proceed out of things correctly whereas people that get bogged down in a bad situation, it hurst them.

Brandon: David mentioned BUD/S week, can you explain what that is, Jocko? What is Hell Week or BUD/S and then Hell Week and what is that whole thing for the Navy SEALs?

Jocko: BUD/S is the basic SEAL training that you go through and then part of the training is something called Hell Week, where you don’t sleep and you do physical activity for five or six days and a bunch of people quit. In the grand scheme of things it’s not really that big of a deal. I got four kids. There was times where my wife with three kids, or two kids and one was a newborn, or one was on the way and she’s got morning sickness and she’s not sleeping at night. Single moms that are out working two or three jobs trying to raise… Hey, going through Hell Week, you get to work out a bunch, you get all the food you could possibly eat and you’re getting trained and you’re getting paid to do it. It’s not that big of a deal.

Jocko: Same thing with BUD/S. BUD/S is an extended, hey, you get to work out a bunch and you’re going to be cold, “Ooh,” you’re going to get tired, “Oh no,” you’re going to get dinged up a little bit, but it’s not that big of a deal. All it does is weed people out that don’t actually want to be there. Do you learn anything in BUD/S from a tactical perspective? Not really. Do you learn that when you’re going through something that’s not fun that it’ll eventually stop? Sure, and you can utilize that attitude. The real challenges in the SEALs teams don’t come until you get to the SEALs teams and really for me, it wasn’t until, September 11th and the war started and that’s when you actually start to figure out who you are.

David: Well the purpose I would imagine is, like you said, to get people to quit, to weed people out. It’s not necessarily turning you into a super commando type guy, but it’s to establish a baseline of yeah, life can suck really bad, it can be really hard, you don’t have to quit. That way you’re a good investment when they want to start pouring into you, and I’ve just seen that pattern in life, the people who start with an internship and they’re not getting paid that much, but they’re willing to show up every day and work 60 hours a week and they’re humble, they earn the right, they’ve proven that they won’t quit, so now it makes sense for their boss to give them the best training, to give them the best tools, which is what a Navy SEAL has to be. They’re getting the very best training, the very best attention, they’re being molded as a person. They’re not just your standard let’s plug this person in because we need someone to man a post in this position. It’s the same thing as a cop.

David: When you earn the right to get extra training because you haven’t quit and you showed up and you’ve shown your dedicated, you get all kinds of cool stuff. That’s when the job really becomes fun and it’s not just in law enforcement and military that that works. If you prove to the boss at your job, “I’m willing to do whatever it takes,” which probably won’t be as hard as BUD/S training was going, they’re going to want to pour into you and I just wish more people understood that concept, that you have a lot more control over your own outcome in life with your job than what you think, then when you just wait for someone to say, “Hey, here’s an opportunity. Just stick out your hand so I can give it to you.”

Jocko: Yeah, well you mentioned a little key to business and a key to life, which is hard work. If someone is willing to work hard then you have a really strong chance of getting noticed and you have a really strong chance of, like you said, someone trusting you, investing in you, paying attention to you and helping you, whereas if you’re waiting for someone to do something for you when you haven’t done anything for them, you’re going to be waiting for a really, really long time.

Jocko: When you were talking about boot camp and me, my attitude, when I got into the SEALs team, my goal, all I wanted to do was to be a good SEAL. That’s what I was doing, “Okay, what do I need to do to be a good SEAL?” I need to work hard, I need to study, I need to prep my gear, I need to not be late. These are fundamental things and if you take that attitude into any work environment, don’t be late, show up with the right gear, be prepared, study what you’re supposed to study, know what you’re supposed to know, that’s so much of the battle right there, as opposed to thinking, “Well, I’m going to sit back and hope that someone is going to give me the path.”

David: There you go.

Jocko: No, get out there and do what you’re supposed to do.

David: Yeah, because you give away your power of your life to other people and you put it in their hands, that you hope somebody recognizes something in you and it really is as simple as you said. For almost every job that’s out there, if you think the night before, “What am I doing tomorrow and how can I prepare for it,” you’re already ahead of 95% of the other people. When they do start training you, you’re going to pick it up a lot quicker because you’re prepared. It’s like showing up and you’re already in shape, right? The first couple months of a new job, maybe it takes you awhile to get in shape except for the guy that prepped.

David: That’s one of the things I love about your book, Extreme Ownership, is that it’s proving we have the capability of growing in any circumstance, of overcoming in anything if we can pay the price to be humble enough to say, “That was my fault.” And what I loved was your very first… I’m sure you get this a lot, of a situation that most people would have said was not their fault, this was your blue on blue situation, but you were able to look at that and say, “Yeah, I can see where I was at fault,” which ultimately meant you were the one who got better, you got stronger, you became the better leader when you owned it. Can you share with our audience a little bit about this principle of extreme ownership, how it applies to business and how it leads to personal growth?

Jocko: Well, you just summed it up really well.

Brandon: David does that. He does that. Usually he gets done talking, I’m like, “All right, that was a good show. All right, thanks.” What are your thoughts?

Jocko: It’s really straightforward. Mistakes are going to happen. Your life is going to happen. Your life is going to unfold and the longer you sit around and blame other people, other things, other circumstances for the situation that you’re in, the longer you’re going to be in that bad situation. The minute that you say, “Okay, this is what’s going on. This is on me and I’m going to do what it takes to get it fixed.” If you take that attitude, I’m telling right now, that will turn your life around.

Jocko: The moment you say, “Well, I’m in this situation because we don’t get paid enough money as a cop. I don’t get paid enough money as a Navy guy. I got ripped off and bought a car on 24.9% interest and now I got this car payments and now I can’t afford to save for a house,” the minute you’re blaming that car dealer for selling you that car instead of saying, “Okay, you know what? This is my fault and you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to take this expensive car that I can’t afford, I’m going to bring it down there and I’m going to trade it in and I’m going to get a Hyundai for $1200 because that’s all I actually need, and I’m going to fix this problem,” the minute that you actually take ownership of the problems that’s putting you in the situation you’re in, that’s when you can actually go and start solving those problems.

Jocko: Obviously it applies to an individual in your personal life, but it applies to your business and your teams as well as a leader. When something goes wrong and you’re the leader of the team, I haven’t had anyone come up with a situation where I’m the leader of the team, something went wrong and it’s not my fault. If I’m leading a team and something goes wrong, it’s 100% my fault. So what do I have to do to fix that problem? If you have that attitude, I’m telling you, your world will begin to change and it’s not going be easy to change, it’s not even easy to take ownership for things in the first place because we as human beings have these big giant egos and the last thing we want to do is say, “Oh, this happened and it’s my fault,” when it’s much easier to point my finger at my wife for spending money that she shouldn’t have spent or at my kids for spending money that they shouldn’t have spent or at my boss for not giving me the bonus that I so much deserved.

Jocko: It’s like guess what? None of those are their fault, it’s your fault. I didn’t explain the situation with my wife so she understood our finances, I didn’t explain it to my kids well enough, I didn’t develop a good enough relationship with my boss, I didn’t work hard enough, I didn’t deliver the results that my boss needed. Those thing are all my fault and here’s what I’m going to do to fix them.

David: Yes. Go ahead.

Brandon: There’s been a handful of books in my life that change the way I think. Rich Dad Poor Dad did it for me the first time and the book called Life and Air, but Extreme Ownership did that for me very much so because anytime I look at any situation now I naturally, like that book comes to mind. I probably think about your book almost more than any other one because that concept comes to mind all the time, but then when I explain it to other people and I don’t know if you get this as well, but I get a lot of kickback against it, like pushback of like, “Yeah, but you shouldn’t lower your self-esteem by saying everything is your fault and it’s really not your fault. Sometimes you have bad people around you.” I get a surprisingly amount of people who disagree with me on extreme ownership and to me it just seems like common sense. Why is that? Why do people just fight against that?

Jocko: Well people fight against it because their ego hates it and I hear every single one of those excuses tons of time. I work with companies, I work with businesses, I work with leaders all the time, every day, all day and I hear every excuse you can possibly imagine. Hear the one that you just say, “You know it’s not really your fault because you got a bad team.”

Brandon: Yep.

Jocko: Well guess what? Who’s and charge of the team? You are. So that means you train the team, that means you mentor the team, that means you get rid of the people on the team that don’t know how to do their jobs. Okay, that’s all on you. If you got bad people in your life on a personal level, guess whose fault that is? That’s your fault. You brought those people into your life and you allow them to continue to sit there. You get yourself upside down financially, well guess what? You can blame whoever you want to blame, it’s on you. What are you going to do to fix it? That’s what you got to ask yourself. So yeah, I get every excuse that you can imagine and I have yet to have one where I said, “Yeah, good point, that’s not your fault.”

Jocko: I’ll give you another example. You know when someone says, “Hey, what about someone that gets cancer? What about someone that gets a really bad disease? Hey, how do I take ownership of that?” The answer is straightforward. Look, that’s horrible, but here’s what you have to do. You have to take ownership of how you’re going to respond to that, right? What are you going to do? What are you going to do if you’ve got a terminal illness, okay, take ownership of about how you’re going to live the next four months of your life. What are you going to do with the rest… that’s what you need to take ownership.

Jocko: So look, that’s an extreme example obviously. I have not had cancer. I’ve lost some friends to cancer and the ones that I’ve seen that had the attitude of like, “Okay, number 1, I’m going to fight, and number 2, I’m going to get my life in order to the best of my ability and I’m going to enjoy what I have left.” Those are the people that had the best attitude the whole time. So even with something as harsh as that, it’s like what can you do? How can you look at this in the best positive light?

Jocko: That’s another one. You know with the attitude of saying, “Hey, when something goes wrong, good,” and someone will throw that at me. I’ve had people not even throw that at me, not in a, “I got you,” kind of way, but in a legitimate, “Hey, I just got diagnosed with cancer. How do I say good to that?” The answer for me is like, “Okay, let’s look at this. You’re here right now. A, you have an opportunity to fight against this and B, even if this is a 100% terminal disease, guess what? You’re here right now, you can enjoy your family, you can mend relationships that you’ve hurt. You have time right now that if you would have gotten hit by a car you wouldn’t have.” So you’ve got your mental capacity in order. There are positives to it.

Jocko: My point is, look it’s a horrible situation, but what are you going to focus on? Are you going to focus on all the negatives and go down into that abyss or are you going to say, “Okay, these are the cards that I’ve been dealt. What positive can I take out of this and how can I move forward?” That’s really the best possible thing you can do.

David: What I love about the concept of extreme ownership or one of the things I love is it’s very simple to when you describe when I got in the military and I realized how simple it was to win. It wasn’t easy but it was very simple. It was just, “Hey, here’s every question that’s going be on the test and here’s what the answer is. Just remember it. Show up on time, have your gear looking this way. This is the way you do whatever.”

David: Extreme ownership works the same way. Anything goes wrong, you look at how it could have been your fault. So when I first heard it I was a cop and I was one of those cops that was very irritated when I had a partner that wasn’t very good and I would complain about it either to myself or to other people and I heard that and it just babtised my brain with, “Okay that suspect just got up and ran away when I had already stopped him and I had him sitting down in the corner where he couldn’t get away with his legs crossed. My partner came in, was very casual, the dude saw it, “Pft,” scoots off. Now I got to go run him, I got to spend the rest of my shift sweating and itchy and miserable.”

David: I just realized I’ve never told him, “Hey, my expectations when I detain a guy is that you control him in this way.” Then lo and behold when I said that and he could tell, “I don’t want to let David down,” he started to do it. Then the next time we got into a struggle, he did not know what to do. He kind of watched me wrestling with the guy and didn’t know where to jump in, and he said, “Well, I didn’t want to mess it up.” Okay, instead of just thinking you’re a POS and you just watch me fight and did nothing, I thought, ‘We never talked about this,'” right? “Here’s what I want you to do. When I’m struggle with him you jump on his legs because if you can just keep him from kicking around and moving it’ll [inaudible 00:38:34] him place. I can get to his arms really easy.”

David: Then I started thinking, “Oh my god, what else can I do this with? Hey, let me show you how you handcuff someone. Oh my gosh, that’s horrible. Let’s practice our handcuffing techniques, so when I get the arm you could put the handcuff on in two seconds,” and it just never ended. I ended up everybody wanted to be my partner because I made them look really good and then I never got the bad one because then the best people wanted to work with me.

David: You go into the business world and what you find is that when you take ownership, it’s like you’re the only guy in the gym who’s actually lifting the weight. Everybody is saying, “Yeah, the weight is just too heavy. I can’t do that. Why’d they make it so heavy? That’s not my fault I can’t lift that weight,” and they’re literally cutting themself off from the only thing that builds muscle, which is resistance and tension and things being tough. So when I got in the business world it just seemed easy. My assistant is known right now, Krista, as just a rockstar because she’s so good at what she does, but that’s because we just set a standard that was ridiculously high and I held her to it all the time and everything that went wrong I said, “Okay, that was my fault. I did not make sure you understood how important it was that you call instead of email in this situation.” Now, what do you know? Business is really good.

David: It’s not that hard. She’s taking care of almost everything and your book put into words that attitude that I felt guilty about having and then I read that, I’m like, “Oh no, that’s actually something that you can embrace.” I’m just indebted to you because it changed my life so much and now life is a lot easier because nobody else is doing that, nobody else in the gym is lifting the weight. Your competition is really not even trying when you compare it to what they could be doing.

Jocko: Yeah, all those examples are the types of examples that I hear all the time. You could either sit there and silently blame your partner or even verbally blame your partner. Even if you say, “You don’t know what you’re doing. You shouldn’t have let that guy run.” What does that do? I’ll tell you what it does, it develops an antagonistic relationship between you and your partner and now he doesn’t want to work with you, now you’re annoyed the whole time, he’s annoyed the whole time, whereas if you actually take ownership of the problem and you say, “Hey, you know what? We never talked about this. I should have told you what I normally do and I kind of let you down. I’m sorry about that. You want to do a couple walk throughs, so we know how to do it.”

Jocko: You did the same thing with your assistant. Think of what your assistant thinks of you when she sends an email instead of calling and you lose a deal, so you walk in and you go, “You just cost me $100,000 on this deal. That’s pathetic. I can’t believe… I should be thinking about firing you… you’re on the… ” What does that do? It makes her paranoid, it makes her not want to actually be proactive because she’s scared to make a mistake and she feels like she’s blamed, and by the way, she’s putting her resume out to find if she work with someone [inaudible 00:41:02] who’s not a complete jerk, whereas when you go in and you take ownership of it and you say, “Look, this is…

Jocko: And by the way, you’re not just saying, “This is my fault,” so that you can smooth things over. You truly believe, “This is my fault. I’m the boss, I didn’t teach you how to do this. That is 100% my fault, and this is what we need to do from now on. Here’s the criteria that means email, here’s the criteria that means voice, here’s the criteria that means text me immediately because I need to go make a visit. Do you understand these things? Here’s a couple scenarios,” and all of a sudden she’s thinking, “Wow.” She’s feeling guilty that she did mess that up and she wants to do better. She knows that you’re investing in her, she’s going to stick with you forever because she trusts you, because you trust her, because you’re trying to grow her.

Jocko: It just goes on and on and on and you look up in however many years you’ve been doing this for and all of a sudden you’re saying, “You know, life is easy.” Life does get easy.

David: When you got a good team.

Jocko: But you got to get through taking responsibility for the things that are going on in your world. I had a guy on my podcast, Captain Charlie Plumb, who was in the Hanoi Hilton for six years in Vietnam after getting shot down and one of the things that he said, they would get shifted around from roommate to roommate like every three months or every six months and if they had a roommate that did something… I mean they’re stuck in a prison cell. If they had a roommate that did something that annoyed them, so whether it was a guy that picked his nose or scratched his ass all the time or whatever, when you had that situation the code was if your roommate, if your cellmate did something that annoyed you, it was your fault for allowing yourself to be annoyed. When I heard that I’m like, “It doesn’t get anymore extreme ownership than that.

David: That’s rough, man.

Jocko: [inaudible 00:42:55] something in everything that they do that annoys you is your fault for allowing it to annoy you. So what these guys come out of there with the most incredible bond, and not to mention they get through living in close quarters with someone with no food for six months, eight months or a year.

Jocko: So yes, this idea of taking ownership is very powerful. It’s hard to actually do if you let your ego get in the way. If you don’t let your ego get in the way and you take ownership of stuff, it will absolutely improve your life.

Brandon: You know one of the biggest areas for real estate investors, myself included, where I tend to not want to take ownership is when dealing with contractors.

David: I was thinking that. I was thinking [crosstalk 00:43:34]

Brandon: Yeah, we deal with contractors all the time. How many times in my life, even on this show and people are probably laughing right now because they hear me every other episode, complaining about a contractor where he ripped me off or he’s a month overdue, but when I really like, in my soul look at the situation, 100% of the time, not 99, not 98, 100% of the time I could have solved that in a different way. It’s always my fault when I really think about it. My ego hates that though. I hate that, having to admit like, “No, I was the moron there. I didn’t spell it out, I didn’t get it in writing, I paid the guy in cash, I paid upfront.” It’s always stuff that I could learn from, but yet I keep making the same mistakes over and over and over. So yeah, that’s rough.

Jocko: One of the examples I talk about is… Well, and it works with contracting too, what if the weather is bad?

David: Oh, you have a good one in your book about that. You should have set the base closer?

Jocko: Yeah, there’s all kinds of things that you can do. If you’re planning to do a raid with helicopters and you know that there’s a possibility that bad weather moves in, well, if that weather moves in and you don’t go on the raid because there was bad weather and the helicopters couldn’t fly and you go, “Hey, sorry, I can’t control the weather.” Well, what does that mean? Okay, most people say, “Yeah, you’re right, you can’t control the weather. It’s not your fault.” If you’re a good leader and you actually take ownership, you say, “You know what? We didn’t execute the raid because we didn’t have helicopters because the weather was bad and because I didn’t have a contingency plan to use vehicles to get to a closer point where we could actually conduct the raid with vehicles instead of with helicopters. That’s my fault.”

Jocko: The same thing with contracting. I’ve got building going on right now and guess what? We just had two weeks of rain here in Southern California and I could sure enough say, “Well, why are we behind schedule?” Well guess what? I need to build into the schedule some contingency plans that deal with weather and what parts of other projects can go on because we can’t pour cement right now. Okay, well what can we do? What can we do maybe not on this project, but on another one? So that’s my fault and if I don’t plan for these contingencies and all I do is get mad at my contractor because he’s not where I want him to be on the schedule. Well, why didn’t I talk to him early enough and say, “Hey, here’s the timeline that I need to beat. Here’s where I need this done by and by the way, what contingency plans can we talk through if we do? Where can we make up time? Do we know where we can make up time?”

Jocko: So yes, as you guys can see, taking ownership, although it’s a rough thing to do on your ego, over time it is one the most beneficial things you can do in your life.

Brandon: Yeah. How do you balance ownership with holding a team accountable? So let’s say your contractor does screw up and it’s your fault, like it’s your fault, but if it’s your fault do you still punish the contractor? How do you balance the two of accountability with your team and with those around you with you taking ownership of it? Do you have any thoughts on that?

Jocko: Yeah. When you’re taking ownership, like I just said, you’re not taking ownership for lip service. It’s not like, “Hey, I did this. It’s my fault, guys. You guys were late because of me,” it’s like, “Where am I at? What kind of plan did I come up with where I thought realistically that this contractor was going to be able to execute this entire 13 month build with no weather. Is that even a realistic thing to think about? Of course it’s not a realistic thing. What I should have done as a leader is set expectations properly where I say, “Okay, here’s where I built into this.”

Jocko: Now what you might be talking about is something a little bit different, which is, “I have a contractor that’s not doing what they’re supposed to do. They’re not making timelines consistently, not because of the weather, but because they’re lack of planning.” So maybe I get in there and micromanage them a little bit and maybe that works. Maybe that gets them tightened back up. Maybe I have to swing by the job site and check and see where the progress is to make sure that they’re holding the line where they’re supposed to be on the schedule and maybe that tightens them up and if it does, that’s great, right? I just know that I got to keep following up with them, I got to micromanage them more than I would like to.

Jocko: But maybe it doesn’t work, and maybe they just get mad and that’s when I have to say, “Okay, what am I going to do? How do I calculate this financially? Am I going to cut these guys away, bring in a new contractor? How much time is that going to cost me?” But to sit there and just throw up my hands and say, “Well, I got a bad contractor.” Well guess what? Maybe it’s time to bring someone else in and that is my decision as the leader and as the one that’s ownership of the scenario to make.

Jocko: Again, it’s kind of turns into a math problem of well how much money am I going to lose by not having this apartment ready in time to get it rented out for these following months versus how much money am I going to lose when I bring in a new contractor that I know and trust and by the way, what kind of relationship have I built with my contractor where he feels he’s okay with letting me down? Because if I build a good relationship with someone, the last thing they want to do is let me down, right? That’s the last thing they want to do.

Jocko: They want to be part of the team, they want to perform well, especially when they know, “Oh, I hadn’t explained to them that this is one property that they’re working on right now and I got seven more that are going to need help with and do you want to be in the game with me? Because if you want to be in the game with me, guess what? I work with people that work. I work with people that get after it. If you want to get after it, I got more work than you can finish, so let’s go. If you don’t want to work hard, cool, I will find someone that does.” So there’s a million things that we can do to take ownership when something isn’t going our way, even when it appears to be something that is out of our control.

Jocko: Look, it’s our world. It’s our property. It’s our business. Does that mean you’re going to win every time? Absolutely not. Man, I had one of the worst additions done on one of my properties. It was horrible and I was gone, I was on deployment and they finished the job while I was on deployment. So everything was just… there was 14 foot walls that had one plug on them. The reason I bring that example up is because you think about what that means, right? That means that this would have cost the contractor $6 to put another plug on the wall and provide convenience for the lifetime of this property, and yet they snuck in and only put one plug on this wall. I got a 14 foot wall with one plug at one end. So I can’t put a light on the other end and it’s like, “Okay, that guy is not a good person and didn’t do a good job and I wasn’t there to oversee it.”

Jocko: What does that mean? That means, guess what? First of all, I should have vetted the contractor harder. Second of all, I should have done a better job checking out the electrical designs to make sure that everything was getting covered and third, I should have planned to have the job done while I was actually home before I went on deployment, so that I could oversee this without burdening my poor wife with three kids, and what am I going to do, blame my wife? “Hey, by the way, while you’re raising those kids while I’m gone away on deployment I want you to do electrical inspections on our contractor every single day.” Like that’s not happening.

Jocko: So what do I do? Do we get frustrated? No. Like you said, what do I do? I learn from it and then I move forward. That’s what we can do in life. That’s how we take ownership.

David: Yeah, and that’s really where you see the fruits of it come out, is the next time you do the job you’ve now thought, “Okay, we didn’t even talk about the weather. Let me talk to the contractor,” and now the contractor has benefiting from your extreme ownership because he thinks, “Huh, I never thought about that. Well, what could I do?” And you have that conversation. You get stronger every time and I love that you said you’re not always going to win, because you’re not always going to win and especially if you’re pushing to the limits of what you’re capable of, you should be losing, right? When you work out you should be going to failure, which means if you did your job in the gym that day, you failed, you could not get that thing up and that’s what you’re supposed to be getting to.

David: The goal is to get stronger, and as you get stronger every time the wins start to pile up and they start to come more frequently and that’s what I feel sets apart the people that end up passing up their competition regardless of where they started, is because they learned every time, but you don’t learn unless you’re taking ownership. That comes up with real estate constantly. Like you guys have such a good example of, “Well, my agent didn’t tell me this,” and, “My contractor was supposed to do this, but he didn’t do it,” or they’re always mad at someone and what that really means is you were just hoping that it would work out. You did not have any control over what you were doing at all. You were just smoking opium and hoping that it would just all work out.

David: That’s what I tell people, is anytime you get that little feeling in your guy, “I hope this goes good,” stop. Stop right away, do not go on that at all.

Jocko: Hope is not a course of action. If you are hoping for things on a deal, it’s probably not the deal you want to go with. Yeah, once again, you can do a risk matrix and figure out if the hope is a good enough risk, but you can’t count on hope. It’s not going to work out for you.

David: Yeah, that’s really good. And when you are, you should stop what you’re doing right then and there and start to put a plan in place. What can I do to get the information I don’t have to feel better? We would never raid a house as a cop and just hope that the people inside didn’t have weapons and didn’t have a criminal history. There’s all these things that we would do to try to put the odds in our favor, and you can never control for everything, but you could have a plan in place for everything you’ve ever seen.

David: The same goes with real estate, which means the more things that you see, the more experience you have, even if it comes through a loss, the more you can prepare for the next time and the better you’ll be. Like you’ve seen, Jocko, just buying one house and holding it for a long period of time can have an insanely big impact on your financial health and your family’s health and if you start stacking up those good decisions over and over and over, what you find is that life just starts to get a lot easier. It doesn’t feel as hard. You got a good team around you, you make good decisions, those are paying off for a long period of time.

David: That’s why I love what you’re teaching, is I really wish that high school kids and grade school kids are being taught this kind of stuff instead of just, “Oh, something went wrong? Well, it’s somebody else’s fault,” because that’s prevalent in today’s society if we’re just being honest. If you can be the biggest victim and the loudest victim and blame the most people, then you’re the winner.

Jocko: Yeah, it’s horrible and you mentioned that you can’t plan for everything and you might think that that leads to the fact that well, if you can’t plan for everything then you can’t take ownership of everything, but as we already said, you can take ownership of how you react to things. So if you have a contractor that’s not doing their job or you have a business deal that doesn’t go well, what do you do? How do you handle it? What do utilize that for to learn from, to make another maneuver.

Jocko: Look, like you said, you’re not going to win every single time. It’s not going to happen. You’re going to make some bad decisions, you’re going to make some bad calls, you’re going to lose some money and how do you react to it? How do you handle those pressure situations? What do you let it do to your attitude? What do you let it do to the rest of your business? That’s what you got to watch for because the way you react to things, how you take ownership of things you can’t plan for.

Brandon: Yeah, so good. Hey, I want to shift gears a little bit here and talk about something that… Well, I’ll just give an example. Every single day on your Instagram, just about every day, I follow you on Instagram, you got that picture of your watch at 4:30 AM, roughly 4:30 AM. You wake up every morning at 4:30 AM, and I don’t want to talk about getting up early necessarily, even though I think that’s a great idea, but just that discipline of getting up at 4:30 every day at an ungodly hour like that. Were you always a disciplined person even from a young age or is that something you develop over time and can our listeners become more and more disciplined over time? How do you view discipline?

Jocko: I think I had sort of a, I guess a tendency to be disciplined, but not anymore than any person, any normal person. I think when you ask, “Can you develop discipline?” The answer is clearly yes, and the way that you develop discipline is by deciding that you’re going to be disciplined. That’s what it boils down to. You want to wake up early in the morning? Look, it’s not going to feel good. It’s not going to feel good, especially when that alarm goes off and you went to bed at 11:30 because you were up writing an email to one of your clients that’s mad about something. It’s like, “Okay, that’s the way it is.” When that alarm clock goes off it’s not going to feel good. It’s not going to feel good at that moment.

Jocko: So what do you do? You either give in to the bad feeling and you give in to weakness or you say, “You know what? The discipline doesn’t care what time I went to bed. The discipline knows I need to get up and go,” and you will realize that when you get done working out and now it’s 5:30 or 5:45 or 6:00, you already have a workout under your belt, you don’t even realize that you didn’t sleep very much. It’s fine, you’re not going to die because you had a night that you didn’t get great sleep.

Jocko: So guess what? You get up, you power through and the next night you get everything done and you go to bed a little bit earlier. Cool, you get a little extra sleep, fine. The discipline is a decision that you make and I think sometimes people… I experienced this with my own kids. Where my own kids, I would tell them, “Hey, you got to power through that,” and my own kids would be like, “Well, you know you’re you. It’s easier for you.” And I’m like, “No, it’s not easier for me. I just decide to do it, and by the way, I will never ever let anyone know that it’s not easy for me.”

Jocko: I’ll put up, feel exhausted and tired and miserable and I’ll put a smile on my face, go down there and be like, “I’m so pumped to get after it right now.” I won’t tell you if I’m cold, I won’t tell you if I’m tired, I won’t tell you if I’m too hot, I won’t tell you if I’m hungry, I won’t tell you if I’m thirsty. I won’t tell you anything. I won’t do that. I will just go and do what I’m supposed to do. Yes, does that make me a two-faced, does that make me a liar? I don’t care. I’m not going do it. I’m not going to complain, I’m not going to whine. I’m going to keep my mouth shut, I’m going to do what I’m supposed to do.

Brandon: Let me ask you a question. So question has been plaguing me for the last few weeks since I heard this story. A good buddy of mine is extremely disciplined when it comes to, like he’s got to get a jog in every day. He’s a runner, he runs every single day. He’s got two little kids at home, he’s got no money, he’s struggling with everything, but no matter what, he gets that 10,000 steps in and he goes for a jog. He’s in the middle of a tornado. Like there’s a tornado in his neighborhood and he’s jogging next to it because he’s got to get that in and I love that discipline in him.

Brandon: Then he says to me… He got his real estate license to be a real estate agent two months ago and he goes, “Brandon, I haven’t done anything. Every day I wake up and I know I need to do something and I just haven’t done it.” So his question to me was, “Why am I incredibly disciplined in this area of my life and nothing will stop me and I get after it every day, but in this other area I just can’t do it?” What are your thoughts on something like that? Why are we disciplined in some areas and not others?

Jocko: My thoughts on that are number 1, he hasn’t chosen to be disciplined in the real estate area and number 2, it’s obviously not that important to him. He’s comfortable in the situation, even though he doesn’t like he doesn’t have any he’s allowed himself to be comfortable with it, he doesn’t mind not being able to provide a good future for his kids, he doesn’t mind not being able to have a solid roof, he doesn’t mind not being able to have a financially secure scenario. He doesn’t mind that, he’s comfortable, and yet he’s uncomfortable being out of shape.

Jocko: Where his ego is focused is he wants to be in shape because he’ll look at some other real estate agent down the road that’s fat and out of shape and say, “You know what? You might have money and a plan, but I’m in shape and you’re going to die before me,” and that’s good enough for him. His ego is satisfied by that and so what he needs to do is take a long look at what his priorities actually are, but that’s great that you can run fast, but if you can run fast, but the reason you’re running is because you have no place to sleep, and you can run fast, but your kids don’t have a financially secure environment to live in…

Jocko: You know what? Even if you look at your kids and you say, “Hey, you know what? My kids don’t need a car, my kids don’t need this,” think about this, what if your kids get sick? What if your kids get sick, what if your kids get some kind of horrible disease and what they need is doctors outside of the insurance plan that you hopefully have, but what if they need specialty drugs and you just have to say, “Sorry, I can’t afford that because I was too busy running and not focusing on actually building my career.”

Jocko: Look, the other thing that’s tough about real estate, as you guys know, real estate is not like, “Oh cool, I got my license. Hey, week two, I just got my first deal.” That’s not happening. That’s not happening. You got to actually put in time and effort with no payoff. Zero payoff. I know a bunch of people that are real estate agents. Real estate agents don’t make money for years sometimes. Hey look, if you’re a good real estate agent and you can make things happen and you know people, sure, there’s a possibility you can make something happen, but I wouldn’t count on it. If you’re talking actual real estate agent.

Jocko: Now if you have saved money and you’re going to do what we’re talking about, buying houses and living in them and renovating them, that’s a little bit different because you can start making that happen, but guess what? You’re going in the hole when you do that too?

David: Yep.

Jocko: You’re going in the hole when you do that. I drove a 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan with a driver’s side window that didn’t work, it was taped shut for 13 years.

David: Wow.

Jocko: Whatever. What, I don’t care. I own real estate, get some.

David: Yeah, I love it. So Brandon and I had a similar conversation in Hawaii where we were talking and I was doing really, really well in the financial area of my life and kind of not well in any other area, and the more he was poking at me, like pushing me, like, “Hey, why don’t you do more?” The more it started to come out of me I just don’t care, right?

David: So I had the opportunity to fudge that or lie to him a little bit and make excuses and Brandon is my friend, so he probably would have… I mean, Brandon is my real friend, so he would have told me that’s BS, but a lot of people would have said, “Oh, I understand,” right? and I didn’t want to do that. Instead what I just said is, “You know what? You’re right. I have the body that I want to have because I choose what food I eat and I choose when I work out, so as much as I don’t like it, I want it,” and it was very hard to say that, but it felt right because it was true.

David: I could have a different body if I wanted a different body. I could have more friends and better friends. I could have more everything if I wanted to and when you say to yourself what you just said, Jocko, “I care more about running than I care about my family’s financial future,” which is what your actions are saying, so your words might as well back it up, it usually won’t sit right with you if you’re a good person. It will start to bother you. It’s like sand in your eyeball and then you’re going to want to start getting it out, which is where change is born. That’s the genesis of where, “I don’t like what I’m doing,” and that’s where people have to start.

David: When they say, “Oh I’ve wanted to buy a house for a long time, but I just haven’t taken action yet,” start saying, “It’s not worth it to me to make phone calls, to make the $100,000 that I said I wanted to make,” and if you do that long enough there’s just something inside you that wants to fight back, that’s like that’s not good enough and really that’s where change will start.

Jocko: Yeah, also people get sucked into doing what they’re good at and what they’re comfortable with, right? This guy just got his license. He’s not comfortable calling people up, he’s not comfortable trying to talk to listing agents to see if they can help out, he’s not comfortable saying, “You know what? I’m going to go around to a bunch of open houses and just talk to meet people and see what the market is like,” or whatever advice you give people when they’re starting in the real estate business. He’s not comfortable doing it, so what is he doing? He’s comfortable running, he’s going go for a run.

David: That’s exactly it.

Brandon: Yeah, and that’s an ego thing, right?

Jocko: Yeah.

Brandon: We cater to our egos when we feel the most uncomfortable, that’s why they’re not our friends.

Jocko: [inaudible 01:02:57] ego.

Brandon: Yeah, it makes sense.

Jocko: Yeah, and I always talk negatively about ego, but it’s not like I don’t think you should have it. In fact, you better have an ego. An ego is what is driving you to win. An ego pushes you to do better. If you doing have an ego and you didn’t care what anyone saw you as or you didn’t care how you appeared or you didn’t care what you looked like, well, then you would just be sitting around on a couch eating Cheetos and watching TV, which is not what I recommend.

Jocko: So I’m not saying you shouldn’t have an ego, but the bad thing is happens is people let ego stand in the way of them actually trying something new or, as we talked about already, taking ownership of things that are going on in your world that are not good.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s so good. So good. You know, really, just one last point to that. It reminds of the workout analogy, David, you used a second ago, but when people talk about becoming a real estate agent or even investing in real estate or starting a business or whatever, and Jocko, you hinted at this as well, you don’t make money in the beginning or when working out you don’t get ripped that first time, [inaudible 01:04:06] results.

David: Results.

Brandon: And I actually told this guy when he said he was going to get his license. I said, “That’s great, but understand you’re going to have to leave your family, like leave your wife at home with the two kids, which is really hard to do and you’re going to feel horrible, then you have to go do something that makes you zero money at all, nothing for months and you’re going to have to do that for hours and hours and hours every day for month after month after month and have no progress whatsoever. You’re going to feel like a complete failure and then you’re going to feel like an idiot for leaving your family every day, and if you can do that, then you’ll probably be a successful real estate agent or a successful real estate investor or a business owner or whatever.

Brandon: It takes an incredible amount of time and discipline to just fail over and over over and not see the results in a world that we’re so results driven, like post that Instagram picture, “How many likes does it have? Oh not a lot, okay, I’m not going to do that again.” It’s just a very different world that I think we struggle with and a lot of people struggle with that. You got any advice on how do you just get through months and months of hell until you see the results?

Jocko: You got to play the long game. You’re fighting the long war. So when you shoot a weapon and you’ll know what I’m talking about, David, when you shoot a weapon, what you’re supposed to do is look at the front sight of your weapon, right, because that’s what’s going to be in focus and as you look at your front side, even if you’re looking 300 yards away on a rifle at your target, after a few seconds that target will become blurry because you just can’t focus for that long on a target that that’s far away.

Jocko: So what you do is you keep that in the background and you focus on your front sight. That’s what you have to do in life. So you have this long term goal and maybe that long term goal is I’m going to save up $100,000 as a down payment on a house. Okay, so you have that goal, you see what your target is. Well, after a week that target becomes real fuzzy because it’s so far out in the future that you just lose sight of it.

Jocko: So what you have to do is you have to focus on your front sight, which is focus on this week. What can I do this week, what can I do today, what can do this month that will move me closer to that long term strategic goal? You look at that front, whether it’s, “Look, I don’t care what happens, I don’t care how many deals I get, but I’m going to talk to whatever, seven people this week. I’m going to talk to seven agents this week and I’m going to see if there’s any way I can help them,” or whatever. Whatever goal you make and you just say, “Look, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Jocko: Now what happens eventually is that daily grind wears you out and as that daily grind focusing on the front sight wears you out, then what you have to do is shift your focus back to that long sight again, back to that long term target and you say, “Oh yeah, you know why I’m doing this right now? Because I’m going to get a house one day, and that’s where I’m at and that’s why I’m doing this short term stuff,” then you focus on the short term.

Jocko: So you got to shift your focus back and forth. Sometimes the long term goal is so far away that it’s too much for you to understand and it’s too much for you to keep moving forward on. So in that time, just look at the short term goals. When you get worn down by the short term goals, cool, look up for the long term goal and say, “Yep, that’s where I’m going. I can suck it up right now. I can keep living in this apartment for $500 a month while I’m buying investment properties because I know where I’m going to end up.” That can be enough to get you through, whereas if you go, “You know what? Forget it. I’m done with this and I’m going to rent a $2500 a month place with three bedrooms and a pool and by the way, I’m buying a 72 inch flat screen TV today,” you just lost that long term goal and it’s not good.

Brandon: Yeah.

David: Well, if you do it right, when you get a long term goal, it’ll pay for all your other things that you want, right? Like Brandon was talking about this and I’ve talked about it before too, let your house buy your car, let your good investment pay for the luxuries that you really want. Don’t blow your capital on that short term thing that’s not going to give any love back.

Brandon: Yes.

Jocko: Yes, that is a good thing to do. That is a good thing to do to go in and buy the car that you want with cash and just be like, “Yeah, I’ll take it. Here’s the money, bye.” “Would you like to talk to our finance department?” “Nope. We’re good.”

Brandon: “No thanks.” Yeah. Hey, Jocko, you have a few books aimed at kids and I know you have kids yourself and I want to touch on this before we get out of here today. Those people listening, a lot of our listeners have kids at home, young kids especially. Like our audience is 30 to 40-year-old people heavily. First of all, I’m wondering why did you write these books, the books for kids and then what lessons are not taught in school today that you’re trying to communicate or that more kids should realize that the parents listening can start implementing in their kids.

Jocko: Yeah, so why did I write these kids’ books? Because I have kids and if you’ve ever gone out and try and buy books for your kids that actually give them a message that are based on the values that you might want your kids as human beings to know, you won’t be able to find them. So that’s why I wrote these books, The Way of the Warrior Kid. What lessons they teach that they don’t learn in school? Every lesson that a kid should grow up with that they don’t learn in school, which they’re not, is what’s in these books.

Jocko: Everything from eating healthy to working out and I don’t know if you’ve read the books, but the second book is based on the fact that this kid wants a new bike. The kid wants a new bike and that’s what he wants and his uncle says, “Oh yeah, you know you can get a new bike, how much does it cost?” “Well, it’s $149.” “Okay, cool, do you have $149?” “No.” “So what are you going to do?” And he kind of sets it up like he thinks his uncle is just going to buy it for him. It’s like, “No, I’m not going buy it for him. You have to earn that money.”

Jocko: So he starts a business, he starts mowing lawns and while he’s doing that he actually takes his old bike, which he had let fall apart and get rusty and takes it apart with the help of his uncle and rebuilds the bike and fixes it up and gets it into tiptop shape and renames the bike and by the time he gets this bike made with his own hands he realizes he doesn’t want to buy a new bike. That’d be a waste of money.

Jocko: There’s so many lessons in these books that every, and I’m going to say kid, but I’ll tell you what. One of the coolest letter… I don’t usually… you know you get letters from people that say, “Hey, thank you for this and thank you for that,” and I know we all get those kind of letters and it’s awesome to get. I got a letter from a guy that said, “Hey, I’m 37 years old, I was out of shape, I was drinking every night, I was having a bad time at my job. I hadn’t been promoted in three years,” just problem, problem, problem, problem, and he said, “Then I read your book,” and he said, “When I read your book, I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to start waking up a little bit earlier and just doing a little exercise.'”

Jocko: So he started doing that and then he said, “You know what? When I started exercising, I said, ‘You know what? Maybe I don’t need to drink every night,’ so I stopped drinking every night. Then I started actually applying myself at my job. Then I started actually getting up early, working out, going early to my job, doing a good job, paying attention,” and he said, “So it’s been nine months. I’ve lost 40 pounds of fat, I got promoted at work, I repaired the relationship I had with my wife and kids and life is awesome,” and then he said, “By the way, the book that I read was The Way of the Warrior Kid,” which is the first kids’ book that I wrote.

Jocko: Those books, The Way of the Warrior Kid is the first one, The Way of the Warrior Kid, Marc’s Mission is the second one and Way of the Warrior Kid: Where there’s a Will is the third book in that series, and I also wrote a little kids’ book, which is called Mikey and the Dragons, which is how to overcome fear.

David: That’s fantastic.

Brandon: Yeah, and I’m not surprised at all by the fact that this guy’s life was changed by those books because it’s the simple lessons that change people’s mentality and the way we think, it’s simple stuff and so…

Jocko: At the event that we just did in Australia for Echelon Front called The Mustard and I just had this CEO of a big investment company, he brought like 28 people or something to our event. So he showed up and I was talking to him and expecting him to talk to me about extreme ownership or expecting him to talk to me about the dichotomy of leadership or Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual or the podcast and he said, “Yeah,” he goes, “no, I listen to all those things, they’re all great,” and he goes, “but what really made me commit to your message,” he said, “was when I read your kids’ books to my kids,” and I said, “This is stuff that everyone needs to hear,” and that’s why I brought my company here.

Jocko: So yeah, the kids’ books have been awesome to write and I’m super stoked. One thing that’s weird, I’ll say this, is they’re all written well, but the three warrior kid books are written from the perspective of a 10-year-old kid named Mark and when I saw that I love the books and that they’re awesome, I always feel like I’m being arrogant, but when I read the books and when I reflect on them, I always feel like I’m complimenting this 10-year-old kid that wrote the book. So I’m not trying to be arrogant, but that kid, Mark, that’s the lead character in those books, he did a great job telling his story.

Brandon: There you go.

David: That’s brilliant because you found a way to be proud of yourself without fueling your own ego. You create someone else’s ego and you fueled that.

Jocko: I’m proud of that kid. He wrote a great book.

Brandon: Well, speaking of books you have a new book coming out right now. I think it actually came out a couple days ago, before this podcast launched. It’s on leadership, right? I think it’s called, what was it, Leadership-

David: Leadership Tactics I believe, right?

Brandon: Strategies and Tactics.

Jocko: [inaudible 01:13:14]

Brandon: Can you explain what that is? I read 99% of it now or 90% of it over the last day since I got it from your publisher and it’s unbelievably good. Can you explain what is this book about and why is it different than the others?

Jocko: I have a leadership consulting company, I have a podcast where I answer questions all the time. At my leadership consulting company I’m answering questions all the time and even the question that you asked, Brandon, like, “Hey, what about when someone says this?” Well, I get asked those questions all the time and specifically on my podcast I would get lists and lists of questions and obviously when you get thousands of questions a lot of those questions are the same questions.

Brandon: Yep.

Jocko: And I realized that people have a hard time actually taking these principles and pragmatically applying them to the specific scenarios that they are in. So that’s what this book is. It’s leadership strategies and tactics and it’s something like 85 or 90 chapters that are all two, three, four pages long. Some of them are even less than that, that, “Hey, what do you do when your boss is micromanaging you? How do you handle that?” “What do you do when your boss puts an ultimatum on you? How do you handle that?” “How do you lead someone that is not reaching their potential?” “How do you tell someone tactfully that their creating a problem or that they’re not meeting the standard?” All these sort of pragmatic things to apply these things as a leader is what this book is.

Jocko: The feedback that I’m getting from it from the folks like you that got an early release copy has just been phenomenal. A lot of people are saying, “This is the book that we’ve been waiting for.” So I’m super happy to get it out there. Hopefully it also means that I have to answer less questions of the same kind over and over again, but that’s what I wrote it for and that’s the mission of this book, is to allow people to take these and pragmatically implement these solutions into their life.

Brandon: Yeah, you know what I love about it and I’m not just trying to blow smoke here, but you know like when you’re working out… I’ll just give you an example of going to the gym. When you’re going to the gym, you can be like, “Here’s why working out is so helpful and here’s why you should work out and here’s a bunch of great machines,” but sometimes I just somebody that says like, “Do this machine, this way, this many times.” So for example it’s like, give a chapter, How the Succeed as a New Leader, “Number 1, be humble. Number 2, don’t act like… ” it’s just like, “Oh, okay that’s great.” So you can just flip through this like field manual style, right, and, “Okay, this is what I’m struggling with now, this is the answer.” I love it.

Jocko: And that’s a good one, Mike. There’s a chapter on what to do as a new leader and one of the things is don’t act like you know everything and this is a big trap for new leaders because they’re feeling like they got promoted, maybe they don’t feel like they should have, so what they want to do is they want to bow up and act like they know everyone. Well everybody on the team knows that you don’t know everything, so when you try and act like that, they actually lose respect for you, for you trying to act like you know everything. So really simple, pragmatic.

Jocko: The other one that’s funny is… or just thinking of this from our conversation that we’ve had is a lot people say, “Well, you know, Jocko, when I take ownership of something my team is actually saying, ‘Yeah, it’s your fault.’ What do I do then?” This is a question I’ve been asked over and over again and the answer is really obviously, right? When you say, “Hey, team, this went wrong and it’s my fault,” and your team says, “Yeah, I know,” you say, “Yeah, yeah, that’s what I just said. Yes, it is my fault. I’m not just saying that so you guys will leave me alone. I’m saying it’s my fault because it truly is my fault because I’m the leader, here’s the mistakes that I made and here’s what I’m going to do to fix them.”

Jocko: So all these simple problems… I shouldn’t say simple. All these problems because leadership is very complex, it’s very nuanced. It’s another analogy that I make in the book is explaining to people that it’s like being a woodworker, and different people are different pieces of wood, different types of wood. You know you get a piece of pine that’s really soft or a piece of oak that’s really hard and yet you still as a wood worker have to know how to use various tools and how much pressure it takes with those various tools, with those different types of wood and then within different pieces of oak, different pieces of oak have different warps to them, they have knots in them that are different.

Jocko: So even each individual piece of wood is different and that’s what being a leader is like. You have to learn the tools and then you have to learn how to modulate those tools properly so that they’re being used in the correct manner. So that’s what this book is about and I think it’s really going to help a lot of people in their day-to-day leadership lives.

Brandon: Yeah, totally agreed. Totally agreed. Well, this is… I mean again, awesome book. I think I’ve read pretty much everything you put out there, but this is definitely my favorite of everything. It’s just fantastic, so yeah, way to go.

Jocko: Oh thanks, man.

Brandon: Yeah, all right, before we get out of here, just a couple more quick questions. We have a section of the show, we’re going to tweak it just slightly maybe, but it’s called our world famous, Famous Four.

David: Four.

Brandon: This is the part of the show where we ask the same four questions every single week to every guest we bring on the show here and we’re going to fire them at you. So the first question we usually ask here, Jocko, and I’m not sure if you have one or not, that’s why we may tweak it slightly, but real estate book. Is there a real estate book that you have read that’s made an impact on your life or a favorite real estate book? The next question is about business books. So I’m wondering first of all, is there a real estate book, anything that comes to mind that you’ve read and if not, I want to go to the leadership question, is there a leadership book you’ve read that’s made a big impact?

Jocko: Yeah, the leadership book that I’ve read is a book called About Face, and it’s actually not a leadership book, it’s a book written by a guy named Colonel David Hackworth and this book is about his experiences at the tail end or just after World War II when he joined the army. He served in Korea and he served in Vietnam and it’s about his experiences as a leader in all those situations. It’s a massive book. It’s over 800 pages long. It doesn’t talk about leadership directly, but it is an incredible leadership guide because it explains all these things that he went through as a leader. So it’s About Face by Colonel David Hackworth.

Brandon: Awesome.

David: Beautiful. Do you have a favorite business book?

Jocko: I don’t really read a lot of business books and as you know from my podcast I read a ton of books, but just about every book that I read is a military book or it’s about some sort of atrocity that’s unfolded in the world because for me, being a leader means trying to understand human nature and the best way to understand human nature is to see human nature when it is most revealed and in my opinion, human nature is most revealed in very trying situations, such as whether it’s a combat scenario or whether it’s some kind of atrocity like a genocide or something like that, that’s where I think human nature gets revealed. So that’s why the books that I read are about war.

Brandon: All right.

David: That’s a powerful point, that you don’t need to read a business book to be really good at business, you have to understand people. So you could really substitute business with being good at people and no matter what you do you’re going to do well. I really like that.

Jocko: Absolutely.

David: Can you share with us a couple of your hobbies?

Jocko: I do jujitsu. That’s my main hobby is Brazilian jujitsu and I actually own a gym in San Diego, California, big mixed marshal arts gym. So that’s my primary hobby, followed up probably by surfing, so I live in San Diego, California and surf and then I play guitar, but I’m not very good.

Brandon: That’s awesome because I play guitar and I surf and I’m going to start jujitsu. So here’s a question for you on the jujitsu thing, completely unrelated to anything we’re talking about today.

David: Is this going to be the question you’re always asking me? I’m so glad you’re going to ask Jocko.

Brandon: I don’t think I’m asking… No, no, no. Here’s my thing. So for six months now I’ve been saying I’m going to do this and I’m going to go to the local place and there’s a small gym here where dojo, is that the right terminology? I don’t know.

Jocko: It doesn’t matter.

Brandon: Oh, whatever. Okay. So there’s a small place here and I’ve not yet gone in, and when I really think of why I haven’t done it yet, it’s fear that I have no idea what to expect the first time because I don’t know anybody, and usually like if I had a friend here who was like, “Let’s go together, Brandon, I’ve been going for a while.” I’d be like, “Yeah, this is great,” but I don’t know what to expect. I’m just a little bit terrified. What do I expect that first time? Like what do I do?

Jocko: Jujitsu, and I can’t put a blanket statement on all jujitsu people, but jujitsu is actually a pretty cool, chill, relaxed community where people like to train and you showing up there, you said you’re 6’5″, you’re tall, you’re lanky. Like if you walked into my gym, I’d be stoked because that’s a rare body type and so it means we get to train with someone that’s got a rare body type, which is going to improve our games, but you know what? They’re going to introduce you to jujitsu, “Hey, look you’re going to get choked out.” They’re going to choke you and you’re going to tap, and then you’re going to let go and you’re like, “Wow, that was awesome. How did you do that?”

Jocko: And then they’re going to show you how they did it. And then you’re going to try and stop what they did, but they’re just going to do something else and you’re going to say, “Wait, how did you do that?” And they’re going to show you how they did and you’re going to say, “Oh, cool,” and you’ll stop that and then they’ll do something else, and you’ll realize that you have entered this incredibly complex game of chess with the human body and you will become addicted to it because it is a very, fun, challenging and mind altering thing. It actually changes the way you think about the world.

Jocko: So you know what you need to do? Is you basically need to shut up and go to the gym and start training.

David: There it is.

Brandon: All right I’m doing it… what day today? Today is… we’re recording this on Thursday. All right, I’m doing it on Monday, I’ll be there.

Jocko: Do it. Do it.

Brandon: They’re Monday through Thursday, do I’ll do it.

Jocko: Post a picture on social media and tag me so I can see that you’re there.

Brandon: All right, I will.

Jocko: Otherwise… you’re in, what state are you in?

Brandon: I’m in Maui, Hawaii.

Jocko: Yeah, I got friends there. They’ll come and get you.

Brandon: Okay, good. Good, that’s what I need.

David: If you want Brandon, let me know and I’ll fly out there. We could go together.

Brandon: I bet you would. I can handle this. I’m not that terrified, you know, whatever-

David: I’m just trying to be a good friend.

Brandon: I’ll do it.

David: Ask your question, jerk.

Brandon: All right, last question from me, Jocko. What do you think separates successful business owners, entrepreneurs, real estate investors, whatever, successful people in business from everyone else? If you had to really narrow it down to one or two things, what separates successful from the not?

Jocko: Hard work.

David: Great. Amen.

Jocko: Hard work. I can promise you I’m not the smartest guy in the world, I’m not the best athlete in the world. I’m a hard worker though and I think that hard work is the number one thing that you have to do and if you think you’re not going to have to work hard to be successful, it’s going to be a rough awakening because you’re going to have to work hard. That’s the way it is.

David: That’s a really good point. It’s the expectation of what hard work is, right? So I heard this really good example of two people took the same flight. One of them was told, “This is going to be full of turbulence, it’s going to be raining and dangerous the entire time. There’s going to be no food service. You’re going to be exhausted by the time you get to your destination, but it’s okay, you’ll get there safely,” and the other one was told, “This is going to be a five-star gourmet meals. You’re going to be able to lay out and sleep and it’s going to be beautiful. The flight attendants are the most amazing in the world,” and then each of them got on the same flight, which was just a regular flight from wherever they were going, and you can imagine how the two attitudes of the people impacted the experience even though they had the exact same experience.

David: So if you’re expecting to be hard, when it’s hard you’ll like it. You came prepared for that, you’re, “Oh good, they have weights here? That’s what I wanted. I’m going to get stronger,” but if you weren’t expecting it to be hard, you will come up with a million excuses and you’ll feel like it’s unfair and it will feel even harder than it is. So I love that you point… you said it a lot quicker than I did, but it’s a very good point.

Jocko: Those are the facts, man. It’s all true.

David: Last question of the day. Can you tell us where people can find out more about you?

Jocko: Well, you know my podcast, Jocko Podcast, you can find out all about me because there’s thousands… Well, not thousands, but several hundred hours of me talking, the books I’ve written. I’ve written a bunch of books, we’ve talked about them today. So Jockopodcast.com is my podcast. My consulting company is called Echelon Front, that’s Echelonfront.com. I’m on all the social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @JockoWillink and if you want to contact me usually Twitter is the best one for me to see and respond to, but I look at all of them.

Brandon: All right, very cool. Well, Jocko, this has been fantastic, just really, really good. I hope everyone goes out and reads everything you’ve ever written and listens to your show as well and subscribes and rates and reviews your show all over iTunes because I know that helps. So again, thank you for joining us today. This has been fantastic.

Jocko: Thanks guys, appreciate it.

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • What “extreme ownership” is and how it applies to real estate investing
  • Fixing up creepy, run-down houses in Southern California in his 20s
  • Why Jocko recommends house hacking for men and women in the military
  • How joining the Navy gave him purpose
  • His approach to Navy SEAL BUD/S training
  • The lessons he learned from the Great Recession—even though it didn’t personally affect his finances
  • Avoiding “lifestyle creep
  • Considering the worst case scenario before taking risks
  • How to harness your ego for good
  • What he says when people push back against the idea of extreme ownership
  • Why he writes books for kids (and why some adults like those books best)
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “Make it fun while it sucks.” (Tweet This!)
  • “It’s not really suffering if you’re having a good time with it.” (Tweet This!)
  • “You mitigate your risk when you’re willing to be uncomfortable” (Tweet This!)
  • “Any situation that you get in, no matter how negative it is, there are positives that are going to come from it.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Taking ownership—although it’s a rough thing to do on your ego—over time, it’s one of the most beneficial things you can do in your life.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Hope is not a course of action.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Jocko

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.