This Book is For:

*Anyone who is terrified of wasting their life pursuing meaningless distractions, and who wants to find out exactly what they're capable of achieving.

*People who want help activating that last 5-20% of their potential that they know exists inside of them, but that they haven't yet been able to bring out.

*Athletes, entrepreneurs, and professionals in all fields who want to take their skills and careers to the next level, and activate that extra gear inside them that will separate themselves from their competition.

*Everyone who understands that in life, you get out what you put in, and who suspects that they actually have much more inside them left to give.


“Do not think you have done enough. It does not matter what you did yesterday. Yesterday is gone. And today: THE COUNT IS ZERO. Wake up with that attitude every day. You have to prove yourself all over again. You have to earn your seat at the table. You have to GET AFTER IT.”
-Jocko Willink, Discipline Equals Freedom

This book packs a huge motivational punch, even though, ironically, motivation and discipline couldn't be more different from each other.

You see, motivation can't be trusted. It can't be relied upon, since it comes and goes with the way you feel. Discipline, on the other hand, is your friend for life.

Motivation can never be allowed to dictate action, says Willink. Instead, you need to do what needs to be done, regardless of whether or not you actually feel like doing it. That’s the essence of self-discipline, of being an adult.

Jocko Willink's methods for success were developed in the SEAL Teams, where he spent most of his adult life, enlisting after high school and rising through the ranks to become the commander of the most highly decorated special operations unit of the war in Iraq. That's where he draws much of his credibility from. And this guy oozes credibility, as he constantly and consistently demonstrates the truth and power of his principles in his own life and work since leaving the Navy.

This is a very short book - one you could read in a little more than an hour, I’d say - but it’s right up there in terms of power with David Goggins’ book, Can’t Hurt Me. That’s another amazing book, by the way, and both of them being former U.S. Navy SEALS they know a thing or two about a thing or two when it comes to work ethic and discipline.

Interestingly, they also both say the same thing about street-fighting: don’t do it. Never go around looking for one, and if you do find yourself attacked and outnumbered, get out of there as fast as possible.

Contrary to what your local tough guy says, it’s alright to run away. When you have two tough-as-nails Navy SEALS telling you to run away from unnecessary danger, you should probably listen to them.

Although there's a little bit in Discipline Equals Freedom about self-defense (and neglecting it because you don't plan on ever being in a fight is like not learning how to swim because you never plan on going in the water), it's mostly about winning the mental battles we engage in every day and declaring martial law on our own minds.

The book includes strategies and tactics for conquering weakness, procrastination, and fear, and in this breakdown, we'll cover important ideas like binary decision-making, as well as examine the positive use of aggression and the insidious natures of hesitation and weakness.

However, as the title implies, the whole project is mainly about freedom. Freedom from enslavement to your own mind, to addictions, to compulsions of all kinds. Freedom from the seductive call of laziness, indolence, and sloth.

Jocko also makes these valuable lessons easy to remember and apply. In the book, there are bolded passages and ALL CAPS in some places for emphasis, and his incredibly motivating and powerful ideas are captured in short, pithy phrases that you could carry around with you for life. And you probably should.

Key Ideas:

#1: Discipline Will Make You Free

“Impose what you want on your brain: Discipline. Power. Positivity. Will. And use that Mind Control to move your life where you want it to be: stronger, faster, smarter, quicker, friendlier, more helpful, more driven. Don’t let your mind control you. Control your mind. And then you can: SET IT FREE.”

A mind that's weighed down by all these compulsions, wants, and desires can never be free. That's why you need to, in Willink's words, declare martial law on your own mind.

While we clearly don't have total control over our own minds (if we did, we'd never need books like this one), we do have significant control over what we think about, what we choose to let into our minds, and what we do with that input.

But there's a fascinating paradox at work here, in that, the more we discipline our own minds, the more we allow mental freedom to become our default state of being. It's the mind that's susceptible to being yanked around by all these addictions and negative influences that is NOT free, whereas when we exert control over our own minds, when we instill unwavering discipline between our ears, we BECOME free.

In my breakdown of Discipline is Destiny, by Ryan Holiday, I wrote the following:

"Constraints and limits make everything else possible. For example, the letters in the alphabet need to be arranged in such a way that they have meaning. You can't just type random strings of letters and create art. Grammar, style, and syntax are structures, and constraints that make great works of literature possible in the first place.
In exactly the same way, strict workout regimens create something much more beautiful later on.
Restricting your TV viewing now can give you the freedom to sell your business idea for millions later.
Not getting drunk every weekend can make it possible for you to have a deeper connection with the people you love and care about the most. You have to give up to get.
Thus, self-discipline is ultimately a positive force; it's certainly not the enemy that it's often made out to be. "Need" itself, addiction - entanglement as such - these are your real enemies."

So it's the very presence of limits that ensures our own mental freedom. Unlimited freedom, by contrast, would be terribly disorienting, and you would never be able to zero in on what does add meaning and structure to your life.

Discipline and freedom work together to help you create the kind of life you want for yourself, and it's only when one tries to completely suppress the other that your life gets out of balance. Too much discipline and structure would be stifling, and with too much freedom you'd never be able to focus on anything important.

The answer is to embrace self-discipline as your friend and see it as just as important as your personal freedom, as necessary to your freedom:

“Become the discipline – embrace its cold and relentless power. And it will make you better and stronger and smarter and faster and healthier than anything else. And most important: It will make you free.”

#2: Motivation Can't Be Trusted

“Don’t count on motivation. Count on discipline.”

Motivation just comes and goes with how you feel. Feelings are important, but they can't be trusted, and can't be relied upon when it comes to summoning the discipline and work ethic needed to accomplish your biggest goals.

You can always rely on discipline, however, because it's non-negotiable. It doesn't depend on what the weather is doing today, how the stock is performing, or what other people are doing or saying. It's there, supporting you, urging you onward, waiting for you to step up and do what needs to be done, regardless of whether or not you feel like doing it.

That's the essence of self-discipline. It's about doing what needs to be done - whatever it takes - and regardless of circumstances. It's the definition of reliability and substance.

Speaking for myself, I'd rather attach my future prospects in life to something real, tangible, and solid - like discipline - rather than to something soft, ephemeral, and unstable, such as feelings and motivation. The latter you always have to chase, whereas the former is your friend for life.

Living a disciplined life also gets easier over time, as you have to spend less and less time on building habits, and more and more on just being the person whom discipline helped you to become. It will be a way of life for you, living and acting from a place of strength and purpose, and not something that you're never sure is ever going to return.

It's easier to keep going than it is to get started, and in Jocko's terms:

“When you are on the path you naturally want to stay on the path.”

#3: Weakness Doesn't Get a Vote

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

The Resistance will always be yammering in your ear, but you don't have to listen. You can resist the resistance, and that starts by denying it a vote in the first place.

Remember, you are declaring martial law on your own mind, and you are working toward exercising complete control over the quality and nature of your thoughts. You're terraforming your mental terrain, and starving the weakness out. You get to choose. You get to do this work yourself, and you get to decide that that weak part of yourself doesn't get to decide your future.

As we covered in the previous Key Idea, emotions and feelings are by their very nature weak and unsteady. They don't last. They come and go, taking your motivation and drive with them. The logic of self-discipline, however, the cold hard reason of thought, is the antidote.

That being said, what Jocko also recognizes is that the rational brain can get overwhelmed too. Sometimes, the voice of logic and reason isn't strong enough to be heard, and in those cases, you need to fight back with the power of emotion. You need to get fired up and reconnect with the reasons why you're doing this in the first place.

Because as much as logic and emotion don't always get along, they can also work beautifully together. When you combine your rational thoughts about the importance of self-discipline with your intense, vividly-realized convictions about why you're doing what you're doing, then magic can happen in your life.

That demystifies the whole process of accomplishing your goals. It answers the only questions that mean anything right now:

“Where do you start? You start right HERE. When do you start? You start right NOW. You initiate action. You GO.”

#4: Binary Decision-Making

“Yes or no. This is not complicated. And sometimes you have to put yourself into this mode: Binary Decision-Making.
Are you going to be weak or strong? Are you going to be healthy or unhealthy? Are you going to improve your life? Are you going to make it worse? Are you going to sacrifice long-term success for short-term gratification?
You know the right answers. You know the right decision. Don’t overcomplicate. Binary Decision-Making. Make the right decisions.”

One of the best productivity tips I've ever read about is the idea of doing this one thing - or nothing.

It's a very simple idea (as the most profound ones usually are), and how you put it into action is that you sit down at your desk - or wherever it is that you get your work done - and commit to working on one specific task or staring at the blank wall. You're only allowed to do one of those two things.

Interestingly enough, this is an excellent strategy to use when cultivating self-discipline as well. Don't give yourself any other options. Burn the ships. Cut off all the escape routes. Throw out Plan B and get back to Plan A.

Because it's true: people who have a Plan B always lose. All that Plan B does is distract you from Plan A.

In the context of Jocko Willink's quote here, we know what we have to do. We know that in order to lose weight, we need to eat less and move more. We know that in order to have more energy we need to drink more water and get more sleep. And we know that in order to build a successful business, we need to turn off Instagram notifications and sit down at our desks for some Deep Work.

Since we know what to do, the next step is easy.

We do it. We don't give ourselves any other option but to do it, and we continue to impose martial law on our own minds. We move forward with what we said we were going to do, because we know that it needs to be done, and because we know that doing it will lead us to the kinds of lives we've always imagined for ourselves.

The decision is easy. It's binary. It's "Yes" or "No."

#5: Get Aggressive

“And 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. And if that kind of internal, relentless aggression is your DEFAULT MODE – YOU WILL WIN.”

Too many people turn their aggression inwards toward themselves. That's not what Jocko is advocating here at all. Aggression isn't about self-hate; it's about marshaling all of your inner forces for the express purpose of smashing through any and every obstacle that stands between you and the accomplishment of your goals.

If you really want something - if you really, really want something - you can do it. It can be done, you can make a path, and you can power through. If you really want something, you'll find a way; if not, you'll find an excuse.

To do this, sometimes you have to get a little fired up, maybe even a little bit angry, and then channel this aggression productively to help you win.

You have to do whatever you can to overcome this negative inertia and get moving. As Jocko says, once you're on the path, you naturally want to stay on the path, but you really do have to be on it in the first place! You have to start, and then it will be easier to keep going. It's the activation energy that's important to muster in the beginning, and that activation energy can come from (controlled) aggression if you so choose.

And when this kind of internal, relentless aggression is your default mode - how you do business on a daily basis - that's when phenomenal results start stacking up. You burst forward, rack up small, quick wins, feel the rush of winning and moving and taking meaningful, aggressive action, and then you just naturally keep going. You stay on the path and you light it up.

#6: Hesitation is Unrealized Potential

“People think hesitation is a tiny little thing. They think it is just a fraction of a moment. They think it is so minuscule that it has no value. But if you add up all the hesitation from your life. If you compile all the missed opportunities. All the things you wish you would have done or know you should have done, but didn’t. If you combine all those things together and put them into a big pile, imagine how big that pile would be. Imagine what an accumulation of unrealized potential you would see in front of you. Don’t allow that. Don’t hesitate. GO.”

Regret for what happened or didn't happen in the past is only useful if it helps you to change your future. If it changes what you do next.

An extremely helpful exercise to perform is to visualize - to vividly call to mind - what the insidious force of hesitation is actually costing you in your life. What is hesitation taking from you that you'll never get back?

That can be a painful exercise, but since when did we ever turn away from something because it hurt?

The main idea here is to make yourself painfully aware of what hesitation and holding back is costing you in your life, so that you feel, in your heart and soul, how much of your life has been taken from you already. How much of your potential has evaporated into nothing, never to return. Then, importantly, you resolve never again to hold back. From this day forward, you GO.

It's the same thing here as with anything else: What gets measured gets managed. You can use this information to force behavior change, which is really hard to do when you only have some vague, limited idea of how much time you've wasted already.

As they say, the best way to manage your time is to track how you're spending it now, and it's well-known in fitness circles that if you track your calories, you're going to tend toward weight loss (or gain, whatever your goal may be). It's when you don't know that's the problem.

So vividly call to mind how many times you've hesitated, held back, and stopped yourself from taking action due to fear. Think about what that's cost you so far, in wasted potential, wasted opportunity, wasted life.

Is it painful to think about? Good! Pain can be great motivation. Pain and pleasure are really the only two motivational forces that exist. We're either moving toward what we desire or away from what we fear. You should fear wasting your life. You should fear unrealized potential. You should take your intimate, visceral knowledge of that waste and use it to drive you forward.

#7: Fight Back

“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. But you have to make that attitude a part of your everyday life.
Do the extra repetition. Run the extra mile. Go the extra round. Make the right choices. Give the full measure. Make yourself stronger, mentally and physically. Stand and fight. Fight against weakness, against fear. Against time and against decay. FIGHT BACK. Go down swinging.
Give every day everything you’ve got. And when you face a challenge – even something you don’t believe you can win, or a situation where you know you cannot win – remember this: You have nothing to lose.”

It's the people who don't fully commit who tend to lose. The lesson here is simple: no half-measures! Go all-in. Give it everything you've got.

This is simple advice that most people tend to ignore like they already knew what it meant. But if they did, if they really understood, they would live differently. differently. Realize that this day means everything because your life means everything.

This day deserves nothing less than your full effort, your total being, your all and everything.

The 19th-century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said that our lives are a brief, infinitesimal moment suspended between two eternities - the eternity before our birth and the eternity after our death. This is your moment. This is where it all happens, or where nothing happens.

What are you saving yourself for? When are you planning on doing your best?

The reality is that there's no situation that's not made better by giving it your best effort. It's also usually only when we hold back from doing our best that we stand a chance of losing. If we really went for it, we'd stack the cosmic odds in our favor.

#8: Questions Are the Answer

“And most important: Question yourself. Question yourself every day. Ask yourself: Who am I? What have I learned? What have I created? What forward progress have I made? Who have I helped? What am I doing to improve myself – today? To get better, faster, stronger, healthier, smarter? Is this what I want to be? This? Is this all I’ve got – is this everything I can give? Is this going to be my life? Do I accept that?”

It's best to ask these questions and do these evaluations nightly, so you'll be able to remember during the day that you'll have to answer for what you've done in the evening. If you know you'll have to answer these tough questions at the end of the day, you'll live differently in the morning and in the afternoon.

Accountability groups can also be extremely helpful for keeping you on track as well. Having other people ask you these questions - and knowing that there are people out there who care about you and who are going to ask - can lift you higher too.

Twenty-four hours is not a long time, but it's enough time in which to do better today than you did yesterday. The best you can do is the best you can do, and there's no sense in beating yourself up for failing to be perfect, but asking questions like these will help bring out the best in you.

Ask them often, and ask them earnestly, as though you actually want to know the answers. Live the questions, and one day, you'll live your way into the answers, as Rilke advises.

Contrary to what many believe, life is long, and what we do each day matters. The answers you come up with - both to these questions and the larger questions of life as well - will determine how your life takes shape, and over time these answers come to define you.

Book Notes:

“You are declaring martial law on your mind.”

“Ask every question that comes to mind. That is how you learn.”

“So ask the hard questions of yourself – and find the path to progress and discipline and to freedom inside the answers.”

“Fear of failure will keep you working, thinking, striving, and relentlessly trying to be more prepared for battle. So I want you to be afraid of failing. I fear failure. But more important – I want you to be horrified – terrified – of sitting on the sidelines and doing nothing.”

“Unless you have gone an extended period of time without food, you don’t need to eat. And you definitely don’t need to eat that poison. YOU DON’T NEED TO EAT. You don’t even know what hungry is. Humans can go thirty days without food. You can make it.”

“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 – it was the desire to take the path of least resistance – the downhill path – the downward path. And by going through the motions, you overcame that weakness. And you stayed on the righteous path – the disciplined path.”

“The most important thing to understand about regret is that in and of itself, regret is worthless. It does nothing for you. In fact: The only thing valuable in regret is the lesson you learned. The knowledge you gained. But walking around filled with regret gets you nothing.
So. Learn and move on. Don’t let regret beat you down. Don’t be a slave to regret. NO. Let it teach you. Let it make you better. Let the fear of regret fuel you – to take action – today – now. Take action now to become a person not filled with regret, but a person filled with knowledge and strength and power and life.”

“Let us live - for those who live no more.”

“I will look at others who do achieve greatness in a category, and I will say: Look at what is possible. How close can I get to that greatness?”

“As long as you keep fighting - you win.”

“Only quitting is the end.”

“Weakness is strong. I must be stronger.

“If you really wanted it, you would go get it.”

“If I were to speak truthfully when people asked me how I was doing, I would tell them: ‘It doesn’t matter how I’m doing.’ Because that’s the truth. It doesn’t matter if I feel good or bad or excited or bored or happy or sad. IT DOESN’T MATTER. I am going to do what I am supposed to do.”

“Do not allow a leadership vacuum in your head.”

“Do not negotiate with weakness. Shut those voices down. And make them pay for speaking up.”

“Time is ruthless. So what should you do? Get ruthless right back.”

“Grab time by the throat and get what you want out of it.”

“When you are on the path you naturally want to stay on the path.”

“Perhaps the most critical form of self-defense is the mind. By being smart and aware, you can avoid situations that are likely to expose you to danger.”

“There is no choice but to be prepared.”

“Not training in jiu-jitsu because you don’t want to go to the ground is like not learning to swim because you don’t want to go in the water.”

“Once a good base is established in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, boxing, wrestling, and Muay Thai, there are plenty of other martial arts to explore.”

“Put all your training to use as quickly and violently as possible. As soon as you can break free, do it and run.”

“This isn’t the last food you will ever see. In fact: You will see more food in about ten minutes. You don’t need it. You won’t die without it. In fact: Just the opposite is true. In this age, much of the food around is actually trying to kill you.”

“Any one of these workouts can become vicious when volume and intensity are turned up. I have destroyed myself many times in hotel rooms all over the world. It just takes some creativity and, of course, WILL. So. When you are on the road. Don’t get lazy. Don’t get complacent. Don’t use the road as an excuse. Get creative. Get aggressive. Get it done. When you are on the road, STAY ON THE PATH.”

Discipline is Destiny, by Ryan Holiday:

“Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.”

Self-discipline has traditionally been a hard sell. Self-indulgence, quick dopamine hits, and having a good time have been winning the marketing battle lately, similar to the "battle" between chocolate and asparagus. Or between reality television and educational documentaries.

But what if the problem is simply that we've been thinking about self-discipline in entirely the wrong way?

Up until now, self-discipline may have been the equivalent of a Henry James novel in a TikTok world. But Ryan Holiday's book, Discipline is Destiny, will have you reimagining the whole concept in a much more liberating, fulfilling way.

His aim is to teach you how to harness the powers of self-discipline to fulfill your personal destiny. While everyone's destiny is fundamentally different, everyone's destiny is the product of self-discipline. Your habits shape your character, and your character shapes your destiny, and so Ryan's book goes right to the root and gives you the physical, mental, and emotional skillsets for success.

In the final analysis, self-discipline is prescriptive. It will show you your future. Your environment, actions, habits, and mindsets are constantly shaping your destiny, and this book will show you how to guide this process more intelligently.

This involves thinking of self-discipline in the "proper" way: not as a punishment, as self-deprivation, but as it really is: a pathway to even greater freedom.

Some days will be hard. Actually, that's not true...many days will be hard. The hard days will outnumber the easy ones, but the meaningful days will also outnumber the meaningless ones. Living this way won't always be easy, but it will always be worth it.

Sample Quotes from the Book:

“Think about it: Most people don’t even show up. Of the people who do, most don’t really push themselves. So to show up and be disciplined about daily improvement? You are the rarest of the rare.”

“The good news is that because it’s hard, most people don’t do it. They don’t show up. They can’t even do one tiny thing a day. So yes, you’re alone, out there on the track in the rain. You’re the only one responding on Christmas. But having the lead is, by definition, a little lonely. This is also why it’s quiet in the morning. You have the opportunities all to yourself.”

“The cost is not just personal but shared by us all, in symphonies never written, feats never accomplished, in good never done, the potential of an ordinary day never fulfilled.”

Read the Full Breakdown: Discipline is Destiny, by Ryan Holiday

Winning, by Tim Grover:

This book has some of the most “truth per page” of any book I’ve ever read. It's also absolutely not for everybody, in the same way that not everyone is built to compete and win at the highest levels of sports and business.

The reality is that most people just do not have what it takes to succeed at the highest level, and the people who do make it are the ones who have internalized Tim Grover's message in this book. He reminds us - through his words and example - exactly why he is one of the world’s most sought-after mindset experts.

Grover is an elite performance coach with over three decades of experience training the likes of Michael Jordan (who was actually his first client ever), Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, and hundreds of other world champion and Olympic athletes. That's 30+ years of being surrounded by winners - never missing a practice or a game - and refining his approach to the point where it can be delivered at your feet in the form of this truth-studded book.

"Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing," said Kobe Bryant, one of the all-time greats, and here in Winning, Tim Grover distills everything he knows about winning and lays out 13 key principles for achieving unbeatable performance.

Sample Quotes from the Book:

“Every moment, you have the opportunity to win.”

“It’s only one game…until you miss the playoffs by only one game.”

“Control your thoughts, and you control your emotions. Control your emotions, and you control your actions. Control your actions, and you control the outcome.”

Read the Full Breakdown: Winning, by Tim Grover

Doing the Impossible, by Patrick Bet-David:

“A visionary is someone who is not living in the here and now. He or she has already seen at least five moves ahead and is living in that reality.”
-Patrick Bet-David

I like to think of Patrick Bet-David as kind of like an Iranian-American Jordan Peterson.

For one thing, he's one of the most impressive individuals I've ever discovered on social media, and his YouTube channel, Valuetainment, reaches more than 3 million subscribers, so I'm definitely not alone in that opinion.

Bet-David is strong-willed, confident, inspiring, and opinionated, and possesses the hard-earned self-belief of an absolute winner. But what's also impressive is how open he is to having his mind changed. He consistently invites guests onto his podcast with whom he shares ideological differences and gives them all fair hearing. He wants to learn. He wants to be right, sure, but mostly he wants to find out the truth, regardless of where the truth comes from.

Doing the Impossible is one of his earliest books, and I think of it like the Tao Te Ching of self-improvement books: a short read that you can finish in an hour, but could think about for the rest of your life.

If you're ready to step up and into who you know you could be, this book is the one you should read next.

You see, too often, we forget how capable we really are. We need to believe in ourselves the same way that Patrick Bet-David believes in us, and arm ourselves with the tools, tactics, and mindset we need in order to extract the absolute most from our virtually limitless potential. That's what Doing the Impossible is about.

I've written previously (over and over again) that you don't need to achieve anything massive in order to be a valuable, infinitely worthy human being. You don't need to achieve the impossible, or do anything other than just exist in order to be worthy of unconditional love and unconditional positive regard.


If you do wish to attempt the impossible - if you wish to turn the impossible into the imaginable and then the actual - then this is the book you need by your side.

Sample Quotes from the Book:

“If the impossible throughout history has become the imaginable, and then the actual, why do we think that our dreams are impossible for us to accomplish in our own lives?”

“It may take years for us to actually transform into the person we see ourselves as; but once we truly believe that is the person we are meant to be, eventually we find a way to embody that identity.”

“Our lives are really a highlight reel of all of our most moving experiences. That is what we will remember at the end. These are the moments that make us who we are. So why not have as many of those kinds of experiences as possible? Why not explore the world? Why not experience what it feels like to do the impossible? The journey of doing the impossible will be at times frustrating and fulfilling, at times exasperating and enjoyable; but it will always be worthwhile.”

Read the Full Breakdown: Doing the Impossible, by Patrick Bet-David

Be Your Future Self Now, by Dr. Benjamin Hardy:

“Assume the consciousness of being the one you want to be, and you will be saved from your present state."
-Neville Goddard

Dr. Benjamin Hardy is the world's leading expert on the science of prospection and the Future Self concept.

Be Your Future Self Now is one of the absolute best introductions to the field, and inside this book, you're going to learn exactly why having a vision for your own future development is so critically important.

But you're also going to receive practical instruction on how to apply the science here and now to make your actual life better. Immediately. Today.

This is a rather long and detailed breakdown, but basically, who and what you're becoming - and your thoughts about it - directly affect the quality of your experience in the here and now.

Not only that, but when your imagined Future Self directs your behavior rather than your behavior being directed by your past, that can be the shift that changes your entire life's trajectory.

Instead of running away from something you don't want (pain in your past), you'll be moving toward an exciting future that gives meaning to all of your subsequent days. To this day.

Sample Quotes from the Book:

“The first and most fundamental threat to your Future Self is not having hope in your future. Without hope, the present loses meaning. Without hope, you don't have clear goals or a sense of purpose for your life. Without hope, there is no way. Without hope, you decay."

“If you’re around people who have low expectations for you, you'll fall to those standards. If you're around people with high expectations, you'll rise to those standards."

“Anything that isn’t taking you toward your Future Self is a lesser goal."

Read the Full Breakdown: Be Your Future Self Now, by Dr. Benjamin Hardy

The View from the Opposition:

No one's ideas are beyond questioning. In this section, I argue the case for the opposition and raise some points you might wish to evaluate for yourself while reading this book.

#1: It's a Field Manual, Not a Treatise

This is not a long book. In fact, with a 30-minute read time, this breakdown is really only "saving" you perhaps 1.5-2 hours that it would have taken you to read the book all the way through yourself. For some people, that's a selling point, but for others, it's why they hated it or thought it was a waste of time.

One reviewer likened the book to "a drill sergeant yelling at you for 30 minutes," which, although funny, doesn't give Jocko enough credit. There is some high-level sh** in here, and it's certainly more than just a collection of truisms and "just do its." In this breakdown, I've tried to elaborate on several of Jocko's concepts and provide even more context, but I don't think "it was too short" is a valid criticism of the book.

I will say, briefly, that one thing you should keep in mind that maybe Jocko could have put in is that the body and the mind don't necessarily have to be adversaries. Your body and mind are designed to work together, to complement each other.

There's no need for you to hate your body, or condemn yourself for past failures of will and effort. You can strive to be better, but giving you more tools with which to beat yourself up is not one of the aims of this book.

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

Questions to Stimulate Your Thinking:

The quality of your questions determines the quality of your life. That's also how you get the absolute most out of any book that you decide to read:

You ask great questions the whole time - as though the book was on trial for its life.

Here in this section are a few questions that can help guide and stimulate your thinking, but try to come up with your own additional questions, especially if you decide to read this book the whole way through...

#1: "What are you willing to sacrifice today, for what you really want tomorrow?"

#2: "Where in your life can you reduce the number of choices available to you, thus making it more likely that you'll make the correct one?"

#3: "What is hesitation and delay costing you? What are you giving up for every single moment you're not advancing toward what you say you actually want?"

#4: "What is one thing you could do today, immediately, to set yourself up for success in the future?"

#5: "Did you do your best today?"

"Judge a man by his questions, rather than by his answers."

Action Steps:

So you've finished reading. What do you do now?

Reading for pleasure is great, and I wholeheartedly support it. However, I am intensely practical when I'm reading for a particular purpose. I want a result. I want to take what I've learned and apply it to my one and only life to make it better!

Because that's really what the Great Books all say. They all say: "You must change your life!" So here, below, are some suggestions for how you can apply the wisdom found in this breakdown to improve your actual life.

Please commit to taking massive action on this immediately! Acting on what you've learned here today will also help you solidify it in your long-term memory. So there's a double benefit! Let's begin...

#1: Identify a Higher Freedom

Self-discipline doesn't have to be associated with self-deprivation. Yes, you're giving something up that you want now, but the idea is that you're gaining something even better that you want more.

You're restricting your freedom in the present, in order to allow yourself an even more satisfying kind of freedom later. This is the essence of willpower and self-discipline.

It helps, however, to have an extremely clear picture of what it is exactly that you actually want. What are you sacrificing for? What exactly is this higher freedom that you're aiming for? Write it down.

Then, when you're deciding what to do, you can look at anything that's not taking you to your desired destination as a lesser goal. A lower freedom. This reframe will give you massive clarity.

#2: Add Up the Lifetime Total Cost of Hesitation

This is an exercise we're revisiting from Key Idea #6 above. The main idea here is to make yourself painfully aware of what hesitation and holding back is costing you in your life, so that you feel, in your heart and soul, how much of your life has been taken from you already. How much of your potential has evaporated into nothing, never to return.

What, specifically, is hesitation taking from you that you'll never get back?

Vividly call this to mind, and really try to feel what it feels like to lose part of your life to hesitation and delay.

Really try to see how many times you've hesitated, held back, and stopped yourself from taking action due to fear. Think about what that's cost you so far, in wasted potential, wasted opportunity, wasted life.

Speed is of the essence here. We want to move, and we want to take action. To carpe the f*** out of this diem and make our lives our own.

Because it's not trivial. As Jocko Willink says:

“People think hesitation is a tiny little thing. They think it is just a fraction of a moment. They think it is so minuscule that it has no value. But if you add up all the hesitation from your life. If you compile all the missed opportunities. All the things you wish you would have done or know you should have done, but didn’t. If you combine all those things together and put them into a big pile, imagine how big that pile would be. Imagine what an accumulation of unrealized potential you would see in front of you. Don’t allow that. Don’t hesitate. GO.”

#3: Eliminate Your Other Options

Here we're practicing binary decision-making from Key Idea #4 above. We're basically not giving ourselves any other options besides doing what we've decided beforehand is the thing that we need to be doing.

We can do this in many ways, but one of my favorite (least favorite) ways is to put yourself in uncomfortable situations where you have no choice but to do what needs to be done.

For example, you leave your phone at home and only take a book with you so that you have to read it. Or do nothing. Those are your only two remaining options, now that Facebook and Instagram and emails are out of the question.

You can even just restrict your options inside your own mind - simply refuse to even think about all the other things you could be doing. Shut them out of your mind completely and commit to doing this. Right here. Right now.

Here's Jocko again to remind us of what we're capable of:

“Yes or no. This is not complicated. And sometimes you have to put yourself into this mode: Binary Decision-Making.
Are you going to be weak or strong? Are you going to be healthy or unhealthy? Are you going to improve your life? Are you going to make it worse? Are you going to sacrifice long-term success for short-term gratification?
You know the right answers. You know the right decision. Don’t overcomplicate. Binary Decision-Making. Make the right decisions.”

#4: Make an Anti-Excuse List

This is just a term I made up that means a list of excuses you're not allowed to use. Similar to eliminating your own options above, this one can be challenging to implement if you don't have someone standing over you, but it's extremely effective if you can get this one right.

What you do is simply take an inventory of the excuses you normally use to avoid doing something you need to do, and then you refuse to use any of those excuses ever again.

Tired? Can't use it. Sore? Can't use that one either. Hungry? Nope, you certainly can't fall back on that one. What if you really, really want it? Nah, it's on the Anti-Excuse List now - you'll have to find something else.

Admittedly, the human brain is very good at coming up with excuses, so this is more of an "advanced" exercise than just identifying a higher freedom, as important as that is. With time and practice, however, the excuses you habitually fall back on will lose their hold over you, and you'll be able to move forward from a place of power and strength.

#5: Get Fired Up

“And 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. And if that kind of internal, relentless aggression is your DEFAULT MODE – YOU WILL WIN.”

You have to do whatever you can to overcome negative inertia and get moving. Many times, we just kind of coast through our day, never really tapping into that higher sphere of energy and motivation we need to really get going and make a meaningful change.

Routines can be deadly to the soul, and so every once in a while, you have to work yourself up into a state of massive dissatisfaction, of intense urgency, and use that inner violence and extreme internal force in order to pull yourself up out of your complacency.

Once you start, it'll be easier to keep going, but it's that activation energy we were talking about earlier that's important to summon first.

So do whatever you have to do to get fired up. Listen to motivational YouTube videos. Blast loud music. Jump around and get the blood flowing. Pound back a few liters of water and get out the door.

Then, finally, you attack whatever task or obstacle is in front of you, without letting go and without stopping, until either it falls or you do. Remember: in the words of motivational speaker Les Brown, it's not over until you win!

"The path to success is to take massive, determined action."
-Tony Robbins

About the Author:

Jocko Willink is a retired U.S. Navy SEAL officer, co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win, Dichotomy of Leadership, host of the top-rated Jocko Podcast, and co-founder of Echelon Front, where he serves as Chief Executive Officer, leadership instructor, speaker and strategic advisor. Jocko spent 20 years in the SEAL Teams, starting as an enlisted SEAL and rising through the ranks to become a SEAL officer. As commander of SEAL Team Three’s Task Unit Bruiser during the battle of Ramadi, he orchestrated SEAL operations that helped the “Ready First” Brigade of the U.S. Army’s First Armored Division bring stability to the violent, war-torn city. Task Unit Bruiser became the most highly decorated Special Operations Unit of the Iraq War.

Jocko Willink returned from Iraq to serve as Officer-in-Charge of training for all West Coast SEAL Teams. There, he spearheaded the development of leadership training and personally instructed and mentored the next generation of SEAL leaders who have continued to perform with great success on the battlefield. Jocko Willink is the recipient of the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and numerous other personal and unit awards.

Upon retiring from the Navy, Jocko Willink co-founded Echelon Front, a premier leadership consulting company, where he teaches the leadership principles he learned on the battlefield to help others lead and win. Jocko also authored the Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual, a New York Times Bestseller, and the best selling Way of the Warrior Kid children’s book series.

Additional Resources:

Echelon Front | Jocko's Leadership Development Firm

Jocko Podcast | List of All Episodes

Recommended Leadership Books

This Book on Amazon:

Discipline Equals Freedom, by Jocko Willink

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Extreme Ownership, by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Discipline is Destiny, by Ryan Holiday

Winning, by Tim Grover

Doing the Impossible, by Patrick Bet-David

Be Your Future Self Now, by Dr. Benjamin Hardy