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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War in Our Time

Preface: The backdrop of this post is the terrorist attacks that rocked Brussels four days after Belgian and French security forces arrested Salah Abdeslam in the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels. The violence spreads.

You will continually hear of wars and rumors of wars . . .  those things must take place. (Jesus of Nazareth in Matthew 24:6, Amplified Bible).

Do you remember the name Neville Chamberlain? He preceded Winston Churchill as Prime Minister of Great Britain. Here is what he said to the British people on September 30, 1938 after landing at Heston Aerodrome upon his return from his meeting with Hitler:

The settlement of the Czechoslovakian problem, which has now been achieved is, in my view, only the prelude to a larger settlement in which all Europe may find peace. This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine. … We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.

Later the same day outside of 10 Downing Street, Chamberlain offered hope and comfort to the British people,

My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.

I am no government official, but please trust me when I say there will be no peace for our time. Those of you who know history know that Chamberlain was tragically wrong. I hope you can see that anyone who assures you peace and security in the face of the ISIS threat does so for their own benefit not for yours.

What Churchill offered his people after replacing Chamberlain at the political helm of the country was something quite different: “blood, toil, tears, and sweat”

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: victory. Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. (American Rhetoric: Online Speech Bank, text and audio)

You may be sure that what we face in ISIS and the various other Islamic terrorist groups constitutes an even more “monstrous tyranny” than that of the Third Reich, against which Great Britain stood alone until the United States entered the battle.

In the context of our present situation, you may find appropriate for your consideration and reflection a passage from the speech Jocko Willlink presented upon his retirement from the Seal Teams:

As long as man is, war will always be, always. And our great nation will always need men to do what is in our nature: Kill the enemy. Kill him as he sleeps. Kill him as he plots. Kill him as he hides. Kill him as he fights. That is our nature, and that is our solemn duty. (Jocko Podcast 11)

It is my belief that anything less than attacking our terrorist enemies with such complete vigor will leave our entire nation, our sons and daughters and everything we hold dear, exposed to violence such as we have never known upon our continental soil since our own Civil War.

And the take away? I believe that each of us must be the best we can possibly be so that collectively as families, communities, states, and a nation we will be strong enough to stand against the threat of all terror. I have found Extreme Ownership an unparalleled help in my life in this regard. May it be so in yours.

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Jocko’s Watch and COP Dawn

 Jocko Willink Seizes the Day
Jocko Willink Seizes the Day

I woke up: 5:49 a.m. The image of  Jocko’s watch appeared in my mind: zero four something every day. Today, I failed the Jocko test. OK, I lost this round. Why? I thought through the previous day. I identified time mistakes that led me to fail. Those I will fix today. Tomorrow, I’ll be up with Jocko again.

When I first read Extreme Ownership, I would have been proud of 5:49 a.m. Most of the time then, it was zero six something, sometimes even zero seven something. I was losing the battle. Opportunity after opportunity slipped away. I was down. I was out. On the ropes. Whatever image paints the picture of a beaten man for you, that was me. My world owned me. It was brutal. Constantly bludgeoned and whipped by events and situations, I was bleeding from every emotional orifice in my body, anus to eardrums.

Then providence brought me Extreme Ownership. One powerful statement grabbed my attention: “The leader must own his world, there is no other excuse.” This was the catalyst. The laser power of Extreme Ownership etched that sentence on my psyche. Neighborhood by neighborhood of my world I started applying the principles that U.S. Forces used in the Battle of Ramadi to push back terror: “Seize, Clear, Hold, and Build.”

So now when I see the picture of Jocko’s watch on Twitter, it reminds me that my morning is the most strategic terrain of my day. At this stage of the campaign to take back my life, morning is my focus. I have seized, cleared, and for the most part am holding as I build this crucial Combat Out-Post: COP Dawn. Yes, today, I took a hit. The battle never ceases. But even though under fire, I build. May you do the same. It’s not just SEALs who go to war. War is your day. Own it! Lead yourself and win! May your COP Dawn meet or surpass Jocko standard time.

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Love the Timex Ironman!

War advice

Proverbs, Chapter 20, Verse 18 (Amplified Bible)

Purposes and plans are established by counsel; and [only] with good advice make or carry on war.

Now there is an imperative! Only with good advice. So let’s dialog about how to get good advice. Advice abounds but most of it bad. Hmmm??

Knowledge increases power

Proverbs 24

A wise man is strong and is better than a strong man, and a man of knowledge increases and strengthens his power;

For by wise counsel you can wage your war, and in an abundance of counselors there is victory and safety.

Lord, lead me to the abundance of counselors I need for victory and safety!