The influence of Jocko Willink

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Wretched Man

Puritan Board Freshman
Jocko Willink is a former Navy SEAL who has become a self-made celebrity through his philosophical and motivational speaking via podcasts, Twitter, books, speeches, and other means. One of his shticks is waking up at 4:30 AM every morning to workout and "prepare for the day" while others are asleep. And he will post pictures of his watch at that time on Twitter to inspire others to do the same and be "productive". A hallmark expression of his is "Good", in which he encourages people to face every difficulty in life with an optimistic and proactive lens. "Didn't get promoted? Good, more time to get better. Unexpected problems? Good, we have the opportunity to find a solution."

While he evidently is not Christian, I have to admit he was inspiring to me a couple years ago, particularly as I approached theology and studying the Bible seriously for the first time in my life. I actually benefited from following his suit in waking up at 4:30 to read the Bible (without the distractions of my family who are asleep at that time - cf. 1 Corinthians 7:32-33) which I still do to this day.

At work a while ago, I shared the aforementioned "Good" clip with a (unbelieving) coworker who was struggling to appease his overbearing boss. Then I wrestled with whether that was really appropriate and if maybe I missed an opportunity to encourage him in a better manner with possible roads to the Gospel.

He certainly has a "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" mentality, which generally contradicts the monergistic message of the true Gospel and his motivation for dealing with affliction is certainly self-serving (Jonathoco just posted a quote from Spurgeon on affliction with a completely contrasting view for why we should embrace it).

I'm curious if any of you have any thoughts on him? Is he dangerous to listen to or refer others to?
 

JTB.SDG

Puritan Board Sophomore
Haven't heard of or listened to him, but it sounds like you're wrestling with good things. Take the good and "spit out the bones." We have more reasons to say Good. Our father knows better than we do and what's happening to us is for our best.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
Is he the one who posts black and white pics of his gym floor spattered with his sweat and blood after workouts? Too messy for me.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
I’ve read his “Extreme Ownership.” I’m not a military man but he connects those examples to civilian life. It is a self help in orientation and I like the pushback on our blame others for your problems culture. I certainly don’t think it is “toxic masculinity”.
 
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Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
I have benefited much from his podcast and books. I appreciate his reviews of military history and leadership lessons. He is not a Christian, but has a lot of practical wisdom for self-discipline, leadership, and workplace dynamics. He is especially good at showing how self-denial (what he calls putting aside your ego) benefits a "team" and eventually yourself as well. Most of that wisdom I have found to be compatible with Scripture, especially the book of Proverbs. Perhaps it's because of my own Navy background, but he speaks my language. So, learn what you can from him, as wisdom from general revelation or common grace. Even Paul would use military metaphors to explain spiritual concepts. But understand the limits too. Jocko does not look beyond this life. He still lives "under the sun" as Solomon would say. I think he has even called himself more of a modern Stoic. For him, the goal is a legacy of a life well-lived through adversity. He can help you learn how to take personal responsibility, take care of your people, and get things accomplished, but he won't help you find eternal life in Christ or prepare for the world to come. No amount of self-improvement will satisfy for your sins or gain a right standing with God. As Christians, we have a mission that extends beyond this life, and spiritual means of grace to accomplish that mission beyond the power of common wisdom. My two cents...
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
I’ve read his “Extreme Ownership.” I’m not a military man but he connects those examples to civilian life. It is a self help in orientation and I like the pushback on our blame others for your problems culture. I certainly don’t think it is “toxic masculinity”.
I can only speak for myself, but my time in the military is directly responsible for my current (God most importantly) success at my job.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Most American men need a kick in the butt to work a little harder or to try harder things and to gain more ambition. I like him.
 

Wretched Man

Puritan Board Freshman
I have benefited much from his podcast and books. I appreciate his reviews of military history and leadership lessons. He is not a Christian, but has a lot of practical wisdom for self-discipline, leadership, and workplace dynamics. He is especially good at showing how self-denial (what he calls putting aside your ego) benefits a "team" and eventually yourself as well. Most of that wisdom I have found to be compatible with Scripture, especially the book of Proverbs. Perhaps it's because of my own Navy background, but he speaks my language. So, learn what you can from him, as wisdom from general revelation or common grace. Even Paul would use military metaphors to explain spiritual concepts. But understand the limits too. Jocko does not look beyond this life. He still lives "under the sun" as Solomon would say. I think he has even called himself more of a modern Stoic. For him, the goal is a legacy of a life well-lived through adversity. He can help you learn how to take personal responsibility, take care of your people, and get things accomplished, but he won't help you find eternal life in Christ or prepare for the world to come. No amount of self-improvement will satisfy for your sins or gain a right standing with God. As Christians, we have a mission that extends beyond this life, and spiritual means of grace to accomplish that mission beyond the power of common wisdom. My two cents...
That was my take as well, expressed much more articulately by you. I haven’t listened that much to him, but a lot (not all) of his advice does run coherently with Scriptural doctrine. He doesn’t say it explicitly, but he appears to advocate a societal return to masculinity for men and for them to be leaders in their family.

I do love some of the advice he has for dealing with confrontations and tension in the work environment - or anywhere.
 
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