US Navy SEAL Jocko Willink on How Adversity is Often the Best Teacher of Success

And by adversity, in this case, Jocko is referring to a mutiny.

While most of us would consider such actions as the participation in failure and therefore the last thing that could possibly teach success, it’s a terrific illustration to remind us that there is truth in cliches…including that success is impossible without failure.

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As you listen to this Business Insider podcast, “Success: How I Did it!”, think about one of your greatest “mutinies” in your life. Perhaps even one that had a dire outcome—maybe you quit something you now regret.

Maybe you acted badly and caused a longtime friendship to end. Or you were fired for a poor choice of actions. Or maybe you were incarcerated. Or maybe it just feels like it was something like that.

Using Jocko’s points and perspectives, think about how that terrible moment could actually be a seed and even a foundation for enormous success—take notes, and consider how you can change your own perspective.

If the moment you think of is one you have turned around to your advantage, how did you do it?

Also consider these questions:

  • What does success look like to you? Is it like Elon Musk or Buzz Aldrin? Or maybe your neighbors who have a solid relationship and enjoy life?
  • What are some successes in your own life you’ve been overlooking?
  • What are some areas in your life where you’re focused on problems and “failure” and you could shift to focusing on solutions and success?

Tell us your thoughts when you’ve finished listening to the podcast. Did anything Jocko said cause a lightbulb of a-ha! to go off? Did you make a shift?

How could you pass on your successful changes in perspective—become a leader—the way Jocko has?

Post up down below in comments.

Questions from SGPT Athletes:

QUESTION: Coach, I struggle with procrastination. Not with starting things. I’m awesome with that. What I suck at is finishing them. I get all inspired to complete a goal, and then when the end is coming up I lose interest.

The other day I was thinking about it and I realized sometimes finishing a goal scares me. It used to be things like training for a 15K or climbing a nearby mountain, but now it’s affecting little things like laundry and the dish

es. Got any advice for how I can keep going?

ANSWER: It sounds like you might like staying in your comfort zone too much. Check out this article: Finish What You Started. Another thing we see here at SGPT is that people tend to think if they aim for one big goal then there’s nothing to aim for afterwards. Train for one goal—like that 15K—but then have another one on your list. Like the mountain.

QUESTION: I’m getting into hiking and backpacking this summer with some friends. I’m having tons of fun, but I’m noticing a couple of things—my back is killing me, and so are my feet. Can you help?

ANSWER: Yes; check out these two articles: SGPT’s Top 10 Ruck Marching Tips and GORUCK Foot Care Tips.


US Navy SEAL Jocko Willink’s Top 10 Rules for Success

What is Success?

Go Through Failure to Get to Success

Navy SEAL Jeff Nichols on How to Handle Failure

US Navy SEAL David Goggins on How to Generate Success Every Day of Your Life

If You Can’t Walk, the F-ing Crawl


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