Stop Doing Stupid Things: Jocko Willink

By | January 4, 2022

[January 4, 2022]  This sounds like advice from my maternal grandmother, Bigmama (yes, that is what we really called her).  She was keen on her grandkids not doing stupid stuff (see her advice here and here).  Likewise, Jocko Willink, retired U.S. Navy SEAL, tells us the same thing; adopt discipline and stop doing stupid things.

Sounds easy.  Well, no, it is tough because those stupid things we are attracted to and addicted to making us weak.  Here are some of Willink’s words to help motivate.1

“When you are in the military, you have this discipline, and beyond that discipline that’s imposed on you, you also have to just hold the line yourself.  I mean, when you’re in the military, sure you go through boot camp where there’s a drill instructor yelling, but once you’re in the military, you’re doing what you have to do; it’s self-discipline.”

I often write about the importance of self-discipline.  Willink tells us that discipline is more than just doing the right thing; but it means having a mission, a goal of some kind that is important for you to achieve.  You must have something to aim out, or you are aimless in life, and that is not acceptable because life only exists by adopting responsibility.

“That you learn and you become self-disciplined and what happens is, guys get out and that’s gone and that hurts them and the other thing that hurts them is they don’t know what their mission is anymore and my big thing with people that I’ve been telling vets now is find what your next mission is.  Go find whatever your next mission is, but it has to be something.  When people are not going anywhere, they’re failing.  When they don’t have the drive, it’s because they’re not accepting responsibility for anything.  You need to be responsible for something.”

Self-discipline has many meanings.  Willink can put it into perspective in simple terms.  That is the reason I’m quoting him extensively in this article.  Too many people think that “discipline” is an undefined, amorphous concept that is a rigidity, a straightjacket that destroys the individual.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Discipline starts with waking up early.  It really does.  You absolutely have to apply it to things beyond waking up early.  It is working out [physically] every day, making yourself stronger and faster and more flexible and healthier.  It is eating the right foods to fuel your system correctly.  It is disciplining your emotions so you can make good decisions.  It is about having the discipline to control your ego, so it doesn’t get out of hand and control you.  It is about treating people the way you would want to be treated.  It is about doing the tasks you don’t want to do, but you know will help you.  Discipline is about facing your fears, so you can conquer them.  Discipline means taking the hard road.  The uphill road.  To do what is right for you and for others.  Hold the line for your health and mental toughness and exercise your will.”

Discipline means stop doing stupid things, adopt a mission, aim for it, and grab hold of responsibility.  That is the only way to a life worth living.




Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” at Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

19 thoughts on “Stop Doing Stupid Things: Jocko Willink

  1. Lady Hawk

    A real man that Jocko! You don’t see many real MEN any more. Most are of the metrosexual variety or whatever they call those sissies today. Yep, sissies. What else should I call them but girlie men. Hahahaha ha ha. I get a big laugh every time I think about those wussies living in their parent’s basements when not attending college classes. What a bunch of wimps. Bring back real men.

  2. Ronny Fisher

    Smart, strong, fast…… Jocko willink is a real man. Message for snowflakes, watch this guy!

  3. lydia truman

    Jocko says, “Discipline starts with waking up early.” That sure is right. Why? Because it gives you a huge jumpstart on everybody else that is sleeping in. Only the lazy don’t get up early (or the infirm). Let’s all get up early, make our beds, and do some exercise to start the day off right.

    1. Willie Strumburger

      Sounds like a good plan to me. You have to start somewhere and this begins the process. Oh, and don’t forget to aim at something too.

  4. American Girl

    Jocko Willink is a real American Patriot! Like Gen. Satterfield. Great to have real men around.

    1. Valkerie

      Right, Edward …… and I see that he is moving over to a new social media that doesn’t censor.
      Jocko Willink at
      @jockowillink, Jan 2
      Discuss, argue, disagree, listen, agree, learn, change, evolve.
      Censorship allows none of the above. #GETTR Setting up my account at oDwGw4eCGwKGPcMw

      1. Guns are Us

        Thanks guys for doing a bit of referencing on this Navy SEAL. I’d heard of him before but hadn’t read anything about him. Looks like a real man who wants to make all of us stronger and smarter. That is a goal that will be difficult to achieve.

  5. Max Foster

    “Discipline means stop doing stupid things, adopt a mission, aim for it, and grab hold of responsibility. That is the only way to a life worth living.” Pow! Got that right, Gen. Satterfield. I expect more and more folks are slowly realizing this is the basis for a good life. If you don’t aim for something, then anything you do will not work. Like shooting a gun in the dark, you will miss if you don’t aim. At least aim at something. Gen. S. once said that he is always going from point A to point B. Same idea. Thanks.

    1. Janna Faulkner

      That’s what makes the world work. Fortunately we still provide rewards for those who have great accomplishments but we also provide a safety net for the unlucky and the stupid. Now, don’t do stupid if you can help it because there is nothing good there to like or possess. Be a real man (or woman) and stop being stupid about so many sexes.

  6. Audrey

    Jocko Willink, great guy. Brilliant career in the Navy and a tough guy. Expect him to emphasize physical fitness, and as it should be.

  7. Army Captain

    Seems pretty obvious to me. But, who am I to tell a “basement-dwelling dweeb” liberal what to do? They take their goose-stepping marching orders from any Marxist walking down the street.

    1. JT Patterson

      Yep, and you know who they are as they drive past your house slowly, alone in their Prius wearing their face diaper.

      1. Melissa Jackson

        Enough insulting the mentally insane. Liberalism (or actually leftism/Marxism) is a mental disorder. Oh, somebody else already called it a mental disorder. ha ha ha …. 😊

    2. Plato

      Yep, but don’t expect any commonsense or somebody actually looking at a detailed analysis or logical conclusion that varies from their straightjacket approach.


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