Modern Stoics: Part Four

“You must own everything in your world. There is no one else to blame.” — Jocko Willink

Jocko Willink is a retired naval officer who served in the navy SEALs. Although he’s specifically said he doesn’t follow stoicism, there seems to be an overlap between what he values and what others value.

One of Willink’s phrases that he often repeats is “Discipline equals freedom.” He claims that this isn’t a contradiction, it’s an equation. What does this mean? 

If giving discipline means receiving freedom, what does that tell us? Well, it tells us that we can always do something to free ourselves from whatever it is that’s stressing us out. 

The other quote at the top of this page reveals Willink’s philosophy of what he calls extreme ownership. This is essentially the idea that anything that happens in your life is something that you have responsibility for. Everything that happens in your life is your fault. Not your boss’s. Not the system’s. Not your coworkers or the employees. Yours. You and you alone are responsible for 100% of what happens in your life. On the surface this seems daunting and life draining, but after some careful thought and consideration you realize that 100% responsibility means you can control anything that happens to you. You can stop yourself from being stressed out by removing the things that are stressing you out. You can fix that relationship with whoever you seem to be arguing with. You can push yourself to do better… the list goes on. 

Apply this logic to your everyday life and you realize how important it is. You and you alone are responsible for keeping your diet in check. You and you alone are responsible for making yourself workout everyday. You and you alone hold yourself accountable to your challenges, and you and you alone can confront them. Again… Scary on the surface, but comforting underneath that. 

So. You know who’s responsible for fixing your problems. Hold them accountable and charge forward with confidence.

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Like what you read? Be sure to share this post with your friends and family, comment what you’d like to hear about next, and follow this page. It helps me out a lot, and you can always change your mind later. Be sure to stay tuned for future posts, and try to be the reason someone smiles today 🙂

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