90 Powerful Jocko Willink Quotes To Motivate Leaders

Looking for famous motivational quotes by Jocko Willink? We have rounded up the best collection of Jocko Willink quotes, sayings,  phrases, (including images, and pictures) to gain insights into his perspectives on leadership, discipline, success, teamwork, fitness, and more.

John Gretton “Jocko” Willink is a retired American US Navy seal, an author and podcaster who is a master of discipline and leadership.

Also See: Powerful NAVY SEAL Quotes

Throughout his military career Jocko has received many awards, including the Silver Star Medal and the Bronze Star. He is well known for co-authoring books Extreme Ownership and The Dichotomy of leadership.

Jocko Willink Quotes

  1. “Get After It.”

  2. “Read and Study.”

  3. “All your excuses are lies.”                                                                                                                                                 
    Jocko Quotes
    Jocko Quotes

  4. “Discipline equals freedom.”

  5. “People do not follow robots.”

  6. “I don’t pick up toys. I crush them.”

  7. “Sometimes, survival is the victory.”                                                                                                                         
    Jocko Willink Quote
    Jocko Willink Quote

  8. “Leadership is simple, but not easy.”

  9. “Ego clouds and disrupts everything.”

  10. “Weakness is strong. I must be stronger.”

  11. “Be humble or you’re gonna get humbled.”

  12. “There are no bad teams, only bad leaders.”

  13. “Extreme Ownership is a mind-set, an attitude.”                                                                                   
    Jocko Willink Extreme Ownership Quotes
    Jocko Willink Extreme Ownership Quotes

  14. “A leader must lead but also be ready to follow.”

  15. “It’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate.”

  16. “There can be no leadership when there is no team.”

  17. “It’s discipline to face your fears so you can conquer.”

  18. “Losers focus on winners. Winners focus on winning.”                                                                                             
    Jocko Willink Motivational Quotes
    Jocko Willink Motivational Quotes

  19. “Trust is not blindly given. It must be built over time.”

  20. “A leader has nothing to prove, but everything to prove.”

  21. “Set your alarm clock and get out of bed when it goes off.”

  22. “Combat is reflective of life, only amplified and intensified.”

  23. “Unless you do the work, the world will never see your vision.”

  24. “A leader must be humble but not passive; quiet but not silent.”

  25. “The idea isn’t going to execute itself… You have to do and do it now.”

  26. “You already know what the right thing to do is… You just gotta do it.”

  27. “Self discipline is the root quality that will improve every aspect of your life.”                                                                                                                                                         
    Jocko Willink Quotes Wallpaper
    Jocko Willink Quotes Wallpaper

  28. “There is no shortcut. There is no hack. There is only one way. So get after it.”

  29. “Get up. Dust off. Reload. Re-calibrate. Re-engage – And go out on the attack.”

  30. “Good leaders don’t make excuses. Instead, they figure out a way to get it done.”

  31. “The more you practice, the better you get, the more freedom you have to create.”

  32. “If you want to be tougher mentally, it is simple: Be tougher, don’t meditate on it.”

  33. “There is no such thing as weekend. This is an everyday gig: Every day is a Monday.”

  34. “Get creative. Get aggressive. Get it done. When you are on the road, stay on the path.”

  35. “Fight weak emotions with logic; fight the weakness of logic with the power of emotions.”

  36. “I know that somewhere out there, another man is also preparing. That man is the enemy.”

  37. “Leadership requires belief in the mission and unyielding perseverance to achieve victory.”

  38. “The code. The evaluation. The protocols. Striving to become an eminently qualified human.”

  39. “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life beautiful.”                                                                                                                                     
    Jocko Willink Quotes
    Jocko Willink Quotes

  40. “If you don’t think you are disciplined: It is because you haven’t decided to be disciplined. Yet.”

  41. “Things won’t get better dwelling on the past. Accept what has happened. Then move forward.”

  42. “Keep it simple. Train hard. Train heavy. Lift heavy. Lift fast. Run hard. Eat steak. Pain is good.”

  43. “Extreme ownership. Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.”

  44. “I’m always reading the next book. Taking notes. Highlighting, researching, studying. It doesn’t stop.”

  45. “You’re not going to find happiness. You have to make it. So get out there and make some happiness.”

  46. “When you’re too embarrassed to ask for help, that’s a little knock at your door saying, ‘You’re Insecure’.”

  47. “We all have a tendency to avoid our weaknesses. When we do that, we never progress or get any better.”                                                                                                               
    Jocko Willink Poster Quotes
    Jocko Willink Poster Quotes

  48. “Getting out of bed is like the foundation of the discipline, and I think it carries over into everything else.”

  49. “Jiu-Jitsu is probably the No. 1 activity that I could recommend to someone to improve their lives overall.”

  50. “If you stop looking for a short cut. And find your discipline and your will. Then you will find your freedom.”

  51. “If you allow the status quo to persist, you can’t expect to improve performance, and you can’t expect to win.”

  52. “Get up and go. Take the risk, take the gamble, take the first step. Take action. And don’t let another day slip by.”

  53. “Stop researching every aspect of it and reading all about it and debating the pros and cons of it … Start doing it.”

  54. “Hesitation is the enemy. It allows the moment to pass, the opportunity to be lost, the enemy to get the upper hand.”

  55. “While discipline and freedom seem like they sit on opposite sides of the spectrum, they are actually very connected.”

  56. “Everyone wants some magic pill—some life hack—that eliminates the need to do the work. But that does not exist.”

  57. “Fear is normal. Every person feels fear at some point. Step aggressively towards your fear – that is the step into bravery.”

  58. “If you want to talk, I’m going to let you talk. Because, now, I know everything. I know, and I know everything you know.”

  59. “Go down swinging. And I’ll tell you: If you fight with all you have, more often than not, you won’t go down at all. You will win.”

  60. “All animals, including humans, need to see the connection between action and consequence in order to learn or react appropriately.”

  61. “Staying ahead of the curve prevents a leader from being overwhelmed when pressure is applied and enables greater decisiveness.”

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

  63. “If people don’t respond to your leadership, and your reaction is to get more and more aggressive with them, they aren’t likely to come around.”

  64. “Don’t expect to be motivated every day to get out there and make things happen. You won’t be. Don’t count on motivation. Count on Discipline.”

  65. “Good. 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’.”

  66. “The only person you can control is you. So focus on making yourself who you want to be: Faster. Smarter. Stronger. More humble. Less ego.”

  67. “Weakness doesn’t get a vote. Laziness doesn’t get a vote. Sadness doesn’t get a vote. Frustration doesn’t get a vote. Negativity doesn’t get a vote.”

  68. “Leadership requires finding the equilibrium in the dichotomy of many seemingly contradictory qualities, between one extreme and another.”

  69. “When personal agendas become more important than the team and the overarching mission’s success, performance suffers and failure ensues.”

  70. “Waking up early was the first example I noticed in the SEAL Teams in which discipline was really the difference between being good and being exceptional.”

  71. “Motivation is fickle. It comes and goes. It is unreliable and when you are counting on motivation to get your goals accomplished – you will likely fall short.”

  72. “If frontline troops are unclear about the plan and yet are too intimidated to ask questions, the team’s ability to effectively execute the plan radically decreases.”

  73. “Once people stop making excuses, stop blaming others, and take ownership of everything in their lives, they are compelled to take action to solve their problems.”

  74. “Most of us aren’t defeated in one decisive battle. We are defeated one tiny, seemingly insignificant surrender at a time that chips away at who we should really be.”

  75. “It’s basically for show…that’s what hair is. It has no purpose other that ‘I look good’. So let’s just godhead and remove that. I don’t care what I look like. I’m here to win.”

  76. “To implement real change, to drive people to accomplish something truly complex or difficult or dangerous — you can’t make people do these things. You have to lead them.”

  77. “In chaotic, dynamic, and rapidly changing environments, leaders at all levels must be empowered to make decisions. Decentralized Command is a key component to victory.”

  78. “Curse the warmth of the bed instead of 48 reasons why you need to motivate yourself to get up in the morning. Glory in solitude instead of 10 ways you can stay on task and focus.”

  79. “The Darkness cannot extinguish your light. Your will, your determination. No matter what is happening—no matter how hard the fight is. As long as you keep fighting—you win.”

  80. “I had to take complete ownership of what went wrong. That is what a leader does — even if it means getting fired. If anyone was to be blamed and fired for what happened, let it be me.”

  81. “Some of the boldest, most successful plans in history have not come from the senior ranks but from frontline leaders. Senior leaders simply had the courage to accept and run with them.”

  82. “What makes you a SEAL, what makes you a SEAL is being a good tactician on the battlefield, understanding how to shoot, move, and communicate, knowing small unit maneuver warfare.”

  83. “The temptation to take the easy road is always there. It is as easy as staying in bed in the morning and sleeping in. But discipline is paramount to ultimate success and victory for any leader and any team.”

  84. “They didn’t have to jump for joy at the thought of fighting alongside Iraqi soldiers on a dangerous battlefield. But they did have to understand why they were doing it so that they could believe in the mission.”

  85. “When your feelings are screaming that you have had enough when you think you are going to break emotionally, override that emotion with concrete logic and willpower that says one thing: I don’t stop.”

  86. “Remember that even now the clock is bringing us closer, closer to that moment. So train hard, and work hard, and do everything you can to be prepared. So when that time does come, you can step up and get after it.”

  87. “When I was running training, we would fire a couple of leaders from every SEAL team because they couldn’t lead. And 99.9% of the time, it wasn’t a question of their ability – it was a question of their ability to listen.”

  88. “Don’t fight stress. Embrace it. Turn it on itself. Use it to make yourself sharper and more alert. Use it to make you think and learn and get better and smarter and more effective. Use the stress to make you a better you.”

  89. “That is what aggression is to me: The unstoppable fighting spirit. The drive. The burning desire to achieve mission success using every possible tool, asset, and strategy and tactic to bring about victory. It is the will to win.”

  90. “Don’t think in the morning. That’s a big mistake that people make. They wake up in the morning and they start thinking. Don’t think. Just execute the plan. The plan is the alarm clock goes off, you get up, you go work out. Get some.”

  91. “The goal of all leaders should be to work themselves out of a job. When mentored and coached properly, the junior leader can eventually replace the senior leader, allowing the senior leader to move on to the next level of leadership.”

  92. “SEALs are human beings. We may all have the same haircuts, but we aren’t robots. Some SEALs are great people. Some are not great people. Some have done unspeakably terrible things. You’re dealing with different people, different dreams, different desires.”

  93. “Just do some kind of workout. Doesn’t matter if it’s going for a walk around the block, going for a jog, doing some calisthenics, lifting weights, going to a pool and swimming – you name it. But do something that gets your blood flowing and gets your mind in the game.”

  94. “When setting expectations, no matter what has been said or written, if substandard performance is accepted and no one is held accountable — if there are no consequences — that poor performance becomes the new standard. Therefore, leaders must enforce standards.”

  95. “Because emotion and logic will both reach their limitations. And then one fails, you need to rely on the other. When it just doesn’t make any logical sense to go on, that’s when you use your emotion. Your anger, your frustration, your fear, to push further, to push you to say one thing: I Don’t Stop.”

  96. “That nice, soft pillow and the warm blanket, and it’s all comfortable, and no one wants to leave that comfort – but if you can wake up early in the morning, get a head start on everyone else that’s still sleeping, get productive time doing things that you need to do – that’s a huge piece to moving your life forward.”

  97. “The only meaningful measure for a leader is whether the team succeeds or fails. For all the definitions, descriptions, and characterizations of leaders, there are only two that matter: Effective and ineffective. Effective leaders lead successful teams that accomplish their mission and win. Ineffective leaders do not.”

  98. “So what does it take to win? Yes, you have to be determined. Yes, you have to be driven. Yes, you must have the unconquerable will to win. But to really win, to truly win at all cost, requires more flexibility, more creativity, more adaptability, more compromise, and more humility than most people ever realize. That is what it takes to win.”

  99. “Getting better isn’t a hack or a trick or a one change that you need to make. Getting better is a campaign. It’s a daily, weekly, an hourly fight. Against weakness, temptation, and laziness. It’s a campaign of discipline. A campaign of hard work and dedication. Waking up early, going to bed late, and grinding out every second in between. Every. Single. Day.”

  100. “I don’t like procrastination. But if you feel like you need a break-that is one thing you should procrastinate. Taking a break is the one thing I put off until tomorrow. And if-when tomorrow comes – you still feel like you need rest or you need a break – then go ahead. Take it. Chances are you won’t – you won’t need that rest. Chances are you will realize that the desire to rest was just weakness.”

Best of Jocko Quotes About Leadership

  1. “Didn’t get promoted? Good. More time to get better.”

  2. “It is essential to develop a standardized planning process.”

  3. “The leader is truly and ultimately responsible for everything.”

  4. “How do you become better? There is only one way – The way of discipline.”

  5. “You have to do the work. You have to hold the line. You have to make it happen.”

  6. “A good leader does not get bogged down in the minutia of a tactical problem at the expense of strategic success.”

  7. “Leading people is the most challenging and, therefore, the most gratifying undertaking of all human endeavors.”

  8. “When you think you can’t take any more… Guess what? You can – It’s proven by the stories of ordinary people  in war.”

  9. “Overconfidence was risky in such a hostile environment, a mistake most often made by warriors who had never truly been tested.”

  10. “Don’t just think. Don’t just talk. Don’t just dream. None of that matters. The only thing that matters is that you actually do. So: DO.”

  11. “Leaders must always operate with the understanding that they are part of something greater than themselves and their own personal interests.”

  12. “Human beings are generally not capable of managing more than six to ten people, particularly when things go sideways and inevitable contingencies arise.”

  13. “I would venture to guess that the biggest reason creative types don’t produce isn’t because they don’t have vision… or talent… in most cases, it’s a lack of discipline.”

  14. “If you continue to keep low performers on your team, that are actually dragging the team down; you’re failing the whole team, and eventually, the whole team is going to fail.”

  15. “One of the key qualities a leader must possess is the ability to detach from the chaos, mayhem, and emotions in a situation and make good, clear decisions based on what is actually happening.”

  16. “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.”

  17. “People who are successful decide they are going to be successful. They make that choice. 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.”

  18. “If I went back to my 20-year-old self, what I would tell my 20-year-old self is, ‘You don’t know anything.’ Because everyone, when they’re young, they think they know what’s going on in the world, and you don’t.”

  19. “Once the wheels were in motion and the full resources of the team were engaged in that highest priority effort, I could then determine the next priority, focus the team’s efforts there, and then move on to the next priority.”

  20. “There are people in the world who have skills and strength and talent that I will never have. Never. These notions that you can ‘be whatever you want to be as long as you want it bad enough’ are not true. They are fairy tales.”

  21. “Put your leaders in stressful scenarios. Make them figure out solutions under pressure. See if you can make them frustrated, angry, and flustered, and then demand decisive leadership from them. They will be challenged at first, but they will get better over time.”

  22. “A leader must lead, but also be ready to follow. They must be aggressive, but not overbearing. A leader must be calm, but not robotic. They must be confident, but never cocky. A leader must be brave, but not foolhardy. They must have a competitive spirit, but be a gracious loser.”

  23. “But my glory, it doesn’t happen in front of a crowd. It doesn’t happen in a stadium or on a stage. There are no medals handed out. It happens in the darkness of the early morning. In solitude. Where I try. And I try. And I try again. With everything I have, to be the best that I can possibly be.”

  24. “The best leaders understand the motivations of their team members and know their people – their lives and their families. But a leader must never grow so close to subordinates that one member of the team becomes more important than another, or more important than the mission itself.”

  25. “A leader must be attentive to details, but not obsessed with them. They must be strong but have endurance. A leader must be humble, but not passive. They must be close to subordinates, but not too close. A leader must exercise ‘extreme ownership’, but employ ‘decentralized command’. They must have nothing to prove, but everything to prove.”


Willink together with Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioner Echo Charles, hosts a weekly podcast, called the Jocko Podcast where discusses a variety of different topics including leadership, extreme self-control, fitness, and his experiences as a Navy SEAL.

Jocko Willink focuses on teaching the leadership principles that he learned as a the Commander of the SEAL team, Task Unit Bruiser, where he was stationed in Iraq fighting in the Battle of Ramadi.


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