Wisdom Day 20 November 2016: Get Thrashed

A good thrashing purges evil;
    punishment goes deep within us. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 20, Verse 30, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

This passage jumped out at me this morning! When I first started listening to the Jocko Podcast, the BJJ talk struck me as a bit of a side show, sometimes a counterpoint to extremely heavy content.  Little by little, I became convinced that my 5-year old Sophie and I needed to sign up at Jocko’s Victory MMA Gym. Since then, some time and travel issues have interferred with our regular participation, but in the beginning I could see that striking, grappling, and BJJ were having a profound impact on Sophie: on her art, her attitude, her energy, and her plans for the day and the future. Now it dawns on me that Sophie and I need to get thrashed regularly on those mats. I can not think of a better purge for evil for us both. How often do we need to  be purged? Probably daily for me:

 . . . human evil was out of control. People thought evil, imagined evil—evil, evil, evil from morning to night. (The Book of Genesis, Chapter 6, Verse 5, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

And for Sophie?

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
    but the rod of discipline will drive it far away. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 22, Verse 15, New International Version, BibleGateway.com)

Child Support Services would likely take a dim view of driving out the folly with a rod. But the mats? Another thing all together. And I would not need to be the thrasher! All around win!

Conclusion? Lot’s of Jocko’s wisdom likely comes directly from the mats. A mind purged of evil has room for wisdom and discipline.

Discipline = Freedom

Jocko Owns Evil

At first I was repulsed. Even now, I must take care not to listen to some things too late in the day. Why is Jocko Willink bringing the evil of human behavior in war to the front in Jocko Podcast after podcast? Won’t this turn away listeners?

Now, though, I begin to get it. Jocko is not toying with popular subjects. He is facing into the ugliest subject of all: evil. Jocko is owning evil. He is executing in keeping with the philosophy put forth in Extreme OwnershipHe is a leader owning his world.

First Principle: Great does not equal popular

The most important missions are not necessarily popular missions. In fact, quite to the contrary. That is the essence of leadership. If everyone knew where to go and how to get there, we would need no leaders. A true leader knows how to set the objective, get the right people on the forward team, charge the hill, and take it. Later more and more followers can occupy the high ground. So Jocko is aiming to seize, clear, hold, and build on that hill we all confront: Mount Evil. To do this, he clearly is not trying to pander to the masses, hence the second principle.

Second Principle: Gaggles rarely take the hill.

Weed out the lukewarm troops. They may make great occupation forces. Save them for that. Take the hill with Chosen Warriors. The story of Gideon provides an example:

Then the Lord said to Gideon, “There are too many people with you for Me to hand over Midian to them, otherwise Israel will boast [about themselves] against Me, saying, ‘My own power has rescued me.’ So now, proclaim in the hearing of the people, ‘Whoever is afraid and trembling, let him turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men returned [home], but ten thousand remained. (Judges 7: 2-3, AMP, BibleGateway.com)

With 10,000 remaining, God ordered the final sort:

Then the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many people; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Therefore it shall be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go with you; but everyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” So he brought the people down to the water, and the Lord said to Gideon, “You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels down to drink.” Now the number of those who lapped [the water], putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men, but all the rest of the people kneeled down to drink water. And the Lord told Gideon, “With the three hundred men who lapped I will rescue you, and will hand over the Midianites to you. Let all the other people go, each man to his home.” So the three hundred men took people’s provisions [for the journey] and their trumpets [made of rams’ horns] in their hands. And Gideon sent [away] all the other men of Israel, each to his tent, but kept the three hundred men. And the camp of Midian was below him in the valley. (Judges 7: 4-8, AMP, BibleGateway.com)

So what was the result of this counter intuitive move? The 300 routed an army of Midianites that were “as countless as locusts; and their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand on the seashore (Judges 7:12, AMP, BibleGateway). Well, yes, even in the Bible war stories get “amplified.” And yes, there is more to the story. And, yes, it makes good reading, even if the Bible is not your favorite field manual. And yes, one asks why those who lapped water from their hands were chosen over those who knelt to drink. Well, somewhere I found the explanation that those who lapped water from their hands had their heads up and could drink while maintaining situational awareness. Those who knelt were for a few moments all engrossed in quenching their thirst and thus vulnerable. Check it out.

There exists another historic example of a great leader who weeded out his followers in preparation for battle, in this case prolonged societal and spiritual warfare. When Jesus talked about his body as real food and his blood as real drink, people were outraged. It’s still tough to take such talk.

60 When many of His disciples heard this, they said, “This is a difficult and harsh and offensive statement. Who can [be expected to] listen to it?”  . . . 66 As a result of this many of His disciples abandoned Him, and no longer walked with Him.

So only the die-hards remained. The result was a movement that persists today.

Conclusion?

It is the die-hards, the hard core who change society. These are the ones who lead and own their worlds. They are the ones who face into evil. Some die and some live. But the movement wins.

What’s the point relating to Jocko’s Podcasts? You can get more and more insight on this if you choose to listen to the podcasts. My interpretation is that Jocko is after an elite following, those who will own their worlds, lead, and win. He is not talking to make himself famous. He is talking to make a difference in an evil world. Just my take.

And the take away? Hang with the Jocko podcasts, even if you find them sometimes repulsive. I think you will gain much insight. I know I am. So I will keep on listening, albeit not right before bedtime.

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Glad heart

13 A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.

…..

15 All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances]. (Book of Proverbs, Chapter 15, Amplified Version)

Oh Lord, help me stop wasting time on the things that will not give me a glad heart and instead recognize and focus on those that really will. In this quest, please give me the focus and determination to overcome procrastination. I want to have a glad heart and cheerful countenance as I move through this day. I want to move forward. Replace the scowl with a smile. Replace my complaints with contagious mirth. Let me at least bring a glow of hope to others rather than the obscurity of frustration. I want to sit at the table with You and enjoy that continual feast.

Know evil, no evil

No [actual] evil, misfortune, or calamity shall come upon the righteous, but the wicked shall be filled with evil, misfortune, and calamity. (Proverbs Chapter 12, Amplified Bible)

Oh Lord, grant me the wisdom to know and avoid evil, that I may live a righteous life. I urgently need this blessing to avoid the misfortune and calamity that assail me.