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Former Navy SEAL Commander On How To Handle Stress

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Jocko Willink, a former Navy SEAL commander, host of the “Jocko Podcast,” and the author of “Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual,” explains how he handles the stress of work in military and civilian life. Following is a full transcript of the video.

Jocko Willink: Hi I’m Jocko Willink. I’m retired from the military and just wrote a book called “Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual.”

So there’s different types of stress that people face, and in my opinion most of the time we’re either facing stress of things that we can control and stress of things that we can’t control. Well, if it’s stress of things that we cannot control, what you have to do is you mitigate that stress as much as possible. You’ve planned. You’ve trained. You’ve done everything you can in your power to mitigate the stress that’s facing you. And then after that, there’s nothing you can do. So, you have to let that one go.

If it’s something that it is something that you can control, it’s something that is hanging over your head — a lot of times people have something that they’re afraid of. They’ve got a client that’s mad at them. They’ve got a project that’s due. And they let that stress hang over their head. I don’t let that happen. If I’ve got a problem with one of my clients that needs to get solved, guess what I’m going to do? I’m going to call them up and I’m going to say, “Hey, here’s what’s going on. This is the situation. This thing went sideways. I didn’t expect it. Now it’s going to take me some more time to get you what you need.” But I’m going to do that upfront. Same thing with a project that I’ve got. I’m not going to let that thing hang over my head and wait till the last minute and be scared of it. No. If I’ve got something to do, I’m going to attack it.

So that’s what I recommend you do. If you’ve got things that are stressful in your life that you can’t control, do what you can to mitigate them and then you can’t worry about them anymore. And actually, worrying about them is taking away energy from what you should be doing, which is concentrating on the things that you actually can control. So the things that I can control that are causing me stress, I’m going to attack them. That’s what you need to do.

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    Harold McBroom
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    +SEAL Commander That's typical *military conditioning*, which has become muscle memory, but it doesn't apply as much to civilian life!  In the military, they teach you to go through a problem, and the outcome determines if you have to face that problem again later on down the road!

    When they spit you back out to civilian life, the "once a soldier, always a soldier" mentality may exist in words and patriotism only, but without the logistics you formerly had access to, many soldiers coming out of the military look for their solutions at the bottom of a bottle, not finding a solution, they tilt the next bottle hoping to find something there!   Their marriages don't last, their kids grow up with mental scars, etc…

    I know the feeling, my dad was a medic in the Army, and whatever the military did to my
    dad; He had the capacity to love, but just didn't know how to implement it, as the desire was there, but the muscle memory took over, and the results are often times that which we did not intend.  He was the type to blow up, get it all out of his system, then moments later, "Hey kids, want to go for an ice cream?", that was his way of saying, "Sorry!"

    He didn't know how to love, how to give love, nor receive it, only thing he expected from us, was "Yes Sir!", and "No Sir!", there was no such thing as nuh-uh!

    I remember one day he came home from work, said, "Did you find a job yet?", and I said, "I took the ASVAB test for the Army.  His response, "Did you pass?", and I said "Yes!", then he got teary eyed, and told me a story he recalled while being stationed in Germany, how a group of African American's ganged up on my dad in a bar, and another huge man of the same ethnicity, intervened and stood up for my dad, and he never forgot it!

    He never lived long enough to hear that I passed the test, but didn't even make it to the physical, because any history of detached retina is automatic disqualification!  (and I had flat feet!)

    What I've learned as a civilian is I have no control over anything in life!  Not the poisons and crap their putting in our food, nor Government, and corporate harassment.  The corporations own the Government, and they are international, not so loyal to any particular flag if you know what I'm implying.  Only freedom we have as civilians is not much more than what people have in prison, only difference is, we're allowed to fill our faces with Genetic Engineering, go to the bathroom, watch as much tube as we want, serve whatever God we want, as long as we keep it to ourselves; We have freedom of speech as long as everyone else agrees with what we say!

    Commander…  The Republic died countless decades ago, and America is only a word, soldiers will die for whatever excuse their given, in which they believe they are being told the truth.  I imagine Seal Team Six would have done things differently had they the intelligence we have now, that they didn't have when their Chopper mysteriously crashed killing them all!

    I don't think the mechanic's of military headstrong mentality will save what's left of this Nation!  And I wouldn't even be heartless enough to ask you to risk your life doing anything about it!  Only Jesus Christ can fix the mess we've all created!

  • Reply
    Seven Sevens
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Well said, thank you.

  • Reply
    vandertuber
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    ATTACK your stress! Don't worry about it, ATTACK it! Love Jocko's awesome can do attitude!

  • Reply
    Luimi y Shira
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Guy looks like my arc survival character

  • Reply
    first name last name
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Stress is my best friend.

  • Reply
    Rohan Showtime
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    The villain from avatar

  • Reply
    Jaideep Goswami
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    yeah!!! thanks for your advice..

  • Reply
    Chua Li
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    I'm stress because of been rejected

  • Reply
    Nate McFadden Live
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Business Insider really jerks off the SEALs

  • Reply
    Gritchka Bog
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Stoicism 101

  • Reply
    myname jeff
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Dis dude again

  • Reply
    Bennie Chen
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Hey it's the dumb guy who thinks dropping iPhones on North Korea is the plan to defeat North Korea!

  • Reply
    FrrauD DGC
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Looks like he has 300 confirmed kills just look at him

  • Reply
    Melchoir
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    me : hey, the situation is i need more time to complete the project
    Boss : i want the project complete right now or you fired
    me : (more stress)

  • Reply
    Downrange Film
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Business leaders, entrepreneurs, or people just trying to get there stuff together (like me ) can all learn from the Jocko podcast. One bite at a time..

  • Reply
    Demet
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    everyone already knows this ? it is common sense…

  • Reply
    Inderjit Singh
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Stressed about exam but I'm here instead of studying

  • Reply
    Inderjit Singh
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Just do it.

  • Reply
    LA One
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Wish you the best. Respect ?

  • Reply
    J T
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Watching this before finals

  • Reply
    FightClubStellingen
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    So he has no clue of stress theory…
    "So you'reunder stress? Then jst do som'thin'bout it!" wooow so wise!

  • Reply
    James Okello
    December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    This wont work with modern society. It requires intestinal fortitude and guts..

  • Leave a Reply