Jocko Willink, ex-Navy Seal Commander, is a fucking badass.
You can listen to him on his podcast, watch his Ted talk, or read his book “Extreme Ownership”.
This book was the start of my foundation of Stoic Philosophy. Following this revelation in thinking, I’ve read over 20 books and spent 100’s of hours researching and refining my view on this ancient way of thinking.
Extreme Ownership sets you free. It is the complete opposite to the ideal of a lack of free will where life’s path is set in stone and you cant change anything.
It teaches you to look at every situation and ask yourself “what did I do wrong or what could have I done better in that situation?” When you ask yourself this question, your whole perception of the world changes. Instead of being a victim, you are proactive and ready to make a change. (This can be linked to the 7 habits of highly effective people where Stephen Covey states as his 2nd rule: “Be proactive rather than reactive”).
When you look at an event that occurred and you blame someone else for something, you are not getting better. As an awakened human being your aim should be to make yourself the best person you can be for the world. This means evaluating your decisions and life choices to find ways you can be better.
If you take the opinion that in almost every situation you could have done something better, well now you have a whole host of problems to solve – and I bet next time you will be aware of your shortcomings and fix it.
It will also relieve you of your anxiety of being trapped. How can you feel trapped when you have small changes that you can make to better yourself – small changes that will reap tremendous benefits.
Another way extreme ownership helps us in life is in negotiating. If you admit to someone that you were wrong, they are far more likely to either let you off or admit that they were wrong too. This way – you both get better and don’t have to rile up your ego’s and have an argument just to protect your fragile sense of self-worth.
Be the better person and take responsibility. It’s hard and it feels uncomfortable but we know from this blog that that is exactly what you should be running towards anyway.
Leaders take responsibility. As a leader, anything that goes wrong is your fault and it is up to you to take the brunt of it. As a leader, you are there to teach your subordinates how to act in the face of adversity. If you can take whatever life throws at you on the chin and say “that was my fault and I will promise to not do it next time” your cohort of students will look up to you.
In summary, extreme ownership is exactly that, change your mindset, look for how you can get better in every situation, understand that in most situations you could have done something better, admit it and then work towards fixing that with all your might.