Discipline Equals Freedom 'Field Manual' - Jocko Willink

Discipline Equals Freedom 'Field Manual' - Jocko Willink

Video Book Summary

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Book Summary Notes

DEF (Field Manual)

“People look for shortcuts. The hack. And if you came here looking for that: You won’t find it. The shortcut is a lie. The hack doesn’t get you there."

"And if you want to take the easy road, it won’t take you to where you want to be: Stronger. Smarter. Faster. Healthier. Better. FREE."

"To reach goals and overcome obstacles and become the best version of you possible will not happen by itself. It will not happen cutting corners, taking shortcuts, or looking for the easy way."


"There is only hard work, late nights, early mornings, practice, rehearsal, repetition, study, sweat, blood, toil, frustration, and discipline. DISCIPLINE."


"Discipline: The root of all good qualities. The driver of daily execution. The core principle that overcomes laziness and lethargy and excuses. Discipline defeats the infinite excuses that say: Not today, not now, I need a rest, I will do it tomorrow."

"What’s the hack? How do you become stronger, smarter, faster, healthier? How do you become better? How do you achieve true freedom?"

"There is only one way."


Jocko is a powerful force of accountability and permission..


Why do we love superstar athletes? 

They show us what is possible with human potential..  Even if we might not be gifted enough to play on there level we know how hard they had to work to get there!

Jocko is not only that successful..  But he's also very good at getting the message across that you can (and should) have that level of work ethic and discipline too!


People in our lives tend to tell us not to beat ourselves up or tell us to relax a little..  

They are right some of the time..  But who is there to tell us the other side of the coin?  Who is there to tell us to push through? Who is there to tell us we could have tried harder?

Jocko is the other side of that coin..  And I know for me it's a welcome message!  Giving me permission to work harder, be more disciplined and ask more of myself!


“Something I saw in combat that I later tried to train out of people was the tendency to relax once the primary objective of a mission was complete. I tried to train that out of them because you can’t relax until the entire mission is complete."

"In training, we always attacked the platoons hard on their primary objective, but we always attacked them even harder after they left the main target, once the platoons were patrolling back to base, when their minds had already gone home and ‘turned off.’"

"That’s when we would bring it to them. Hit them with mayhem. So they would develop the attitude and the muscle memory to keep going until the end. And even when they got back to base, we would re-task them so they had to begin planning again. It wouldn’t stop. That’s the mentality I wanted to instill in them:"

  • "It is never finished.
  • You always have more to do.
  • Another mission. Another task. Another goal.
  • And the enemy is always watching. Waiting.
  • Looking for that moment of weakness.
  • Looking for you to exhale, set your weapon down, and close your eyes, even just for a moment. And that’s when they attack.
  • So don’t be finished.
  • Be starting. Be alert. Be ready. Be attacking. BE RELENTLESS.
  • Let the enemy stop. Let the enemy rest. Let the enemy finish.
  • You? Don’t finish. Don’t stop. Don’t rest.
  • Not until the enemy is completely destroyed.
  • And even then... Turn your focus inward, on yourself, and take the opportunity not to rest... But to make yourself better, faster, smarter, stronger.
  • Because with those goals, nothing is ever finished.”

Even though we might not be fighting battles on the same level as Jocko..  We're all fighting at least one thing!

That thing is what Stephen Pressfield would call resistance!

  • When you have work to do it's procrastination, distraction and anything getting in your way..
  • When you want to exercise it's laziness, excuses and junk food..

Resistance is a battle that never stops..  

  • Resistance is incredibly hard to overcome in the 'first battle'..  
  • Think of the first few times you go to the gym!  Those few times are always the hardest!
  • But Jocko points something out here that myself and many of my client have missed for many years..

The real battle is TIME and that battle never ends.. 

When you get over the initial resistance you've accomplished your main objective!  

But that's when resistance gets sneaky..  When you relax that's when it throws you something you weren't expecting!

Now that you know about this little trick you have one job..  Be vigilant! Don't stop being alert after the first objective is finished. 

Quite often my job as a coach is to work people through resistance..  

  • They might be struggling to start or they might have succumb to resistance in the middle of their fight..
  • If that sounds like a place you might be in right now I invite you to click the link below for a 'Sample' Coaching Session with me..  
  • Together we'll work through that resistance and have you ready for anything and everything that might be coming your way. 


“What is more important: Nature or nurture? In my opinion: Neither. ... To me, it is not about nature or nurture: It is about choice."

"The people who are successful decide they are going to be successful. They make that choice. And they make other choices. They decide to study hard. They decide to work hard. They decide to be the first person to get to work and the last to go home. They decide they are going to take on the hard jobs. Take on the challenges. They decide they are going to lead when no one else will."

"They choose who they are going to hang around and they choose who they will emulate. They choose to become who they want to become—they aren’t inhibited by nature or nurture. They overcome both."

"And I will tell you something else: It is never too late to make that choice. You are never too old to decide where you are going to focus your efforts and push to make the most out of every situation."

"So. Think not about what you’ve been through and where you were. Think about where you are going, and choose. Choose to make yourself smarter and stronger and healthier. Choose to work out and study and eat good food and keep your mind clean."

"Don’t let nature or nurture make you. Choose to MAKE. YOUR. SELF.”

The starting point and the destination might look different for us all..  But the road is paved with choices!

Everyone is dealt a different hand.. 

Everyone has a different destination.. 

But the one thing that we can control is our choices..

  • The choice to overcome the hand that we're dealt..  The obstacles, the insecurities and the vulnerabilities we might encounter along the way!
  • The choice to choose our own destination instead of the one that was set out in front of us..  
  • The choice to become a person of virtue and the choice to act in our own best interest!

Try this..  Next time you find yourself thinking 'I can't do this' or 'I'm just not good at that'

Ask yourself one question..  'WHY?'

Likely your mind will say something like:

  • I was never good at school
  • I am not confident enough
  • I just can't run for long distance

Take some time to challenge those beliefs..  Are they true or have you simply chosen to accept them as true?  What might happen if you chose a different belief?


“When things are going bad: Don’t get all bummed out, don’t get startled, don’t get frustrated. No. Just look at the issue and say: ‘Good.’"

"Now, I don’t mean to say something trite; I’m not trying to sound like Mr. Smiley Positive Guy. That guy ignores the hard truth. That guy thinks a positive attitude will solve problems. It won’t. But neither will dwelling on the problem. No. Accept reality, but focus on the solution. Take that issue, take that setback, take that problem, and turn it into something good. Go forward. And, if you are part of a team, that attitude will spread throughout."

"Finally: If you can say the word ‘good,’ then guess what? It means you’re still alive. It means you’re still breathing, that means you’ve still got some fight left in you. So get up, dust off, reload, recalibrate, re-engage—and go out on the attack.”

Positive attitude won't solve problems but neither will dwelling on them..

Now I think it might be easy for us to think Jocko is telling us not to feel disappointment, frustration or fear..

But reading between the lines I don't think that's it at all.. 

  • He's simply saying that what we should do is acknowledge those feelings but not let them freeze us..
  • Instead we should learn, make a plan and take action!

Positive thinking is good.. But not when it stops us from acknowledging what we're truly feeling or learning from situations!

  • Think about the last time you had a tough situation..
  • How much time did you spend dwelling on it 'freezing'?
  • How much time did you spend acknowledging it vs trying to ignore it?
  • Real strength is going to come from acknowledging the tough thing..  Learning from it.. Making a plan and executing!


“Don’t just read this book. Don’t just listen to the podcast. Don’t just watch videos online.

"Don’t just take notes. Don’t just study them. Don’t just share them with your friends. Don’t just plan.  Don’t just mark your calendar. Don’t just ‘get motivated.’ Don’t just talk. Don’t just think. Don’t just dream."

"No. None of that matters. The only thing that matters is that you actually do. SO: DO."

This is something I see a lot of viewers struggling with.. 

They reach out for coaching and immediately we talk about all of the amazing books they've read, what their plan is and how they just need the motivation to do it..

But quite often they don't have any in the field experience..  They haven't tried and failed..  In fact their too afraid to actually try!

  • Now why might this be? Well maybe:
  • They were told they were stupid in school
  • They failed in a business venture and are now trigger shy
  • They've never followed their own path and are afraid where it might lead

So instead of doing..  They fill their time with 'fake action' reading, planning and watching motivational videos!

  • Having a coach allows people who might be in this situation to stare the fear in the face and DO anyways..
  • Having someone in your corner who will pick you up when and if you do fall down has been a secret for me forever!  
  • That person could be a friend or a family member..  But we have to be careful because sometimes those people are trigger shy themselves!
  • Better to get yourself someone who has been in the arena..  Who has the scars to show for it and who has done the work required!
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