This book was published in 2017, and was written by Jocko Willink, who is a former Navy Seal and now a successful writer and podcaster. He’s one intense human being as you can glean from the cover of his book. He’s pretty much black and white on all things. Discipline Equals Freedom reminds me in many ways of Brian Tracy’s book, “Eat That Frog,” with it’s simplicity, plain language, and clarity of focus.
Discipline Equals Freedom is written in a free flowing style that often looks more like poetry on the page than prose. He writes as I imagine he speaks, with pauses and emphasis broken up in the text with unusual spacing, capitalization and line breaks.
It’s a short and easy read. There are no revelations, no long-winded, rambling sentences giving lofty, philosophic advice. Willink is concise, to the point and doesn’t waste the reader’s time. He breaks it down into easily digestible chunks of military grade focus and advice.
The core message is to simply get off your butt and get busy. No excuses. If you want to do something big in your life, just get started. No one will do it for you, and don’t wait for someone to come along and motivate you. Get started, and push yourself. Take a step each day in becoming the person you want to be.
The “chapters” are arranged in short one, two, or three page sections related to concepts upon which to focus, like overcoming procrastination, your own mind control, stress, question everything, fight for everything (go down swinging!), and more.
He believes that even though discipline is a “muscle,” which has been written extensively about elsewhere, it doesn’t get tired in the afternoon from being used all morning as many authors have suggested. Willink says that just as exercise gives the body more energy, exercising our discipline muscle makes our discipline muscle stronger and more resilient. To not exercise the discipline muscle is to let it atrophy, just as our physical muscles do when they go unused.
The appendix includes exercise strategies for beginners, but also includes routines for more seasoned fitness-minded people. His dietary advice is similarly direct. About food or willpower he says things like;
“I know those donuts are tempting.
All those colorful sprinkles.
The cream filling.
The Glorious Glaze!
And on top of that: They are free – someone brought them in and just left them there. Right There. Right in front of me. Surely, this must be a sign, some kind of miracle – right?
I mean: Food is food and if it is free – I pretty much NEED to eat it.
It would be ungrateful for me to say no. Right? Right?
WRONG. DEAD WRONG.
Those donuts aren’t food.
THEY ARE POISON.”
Willink doesn’t worry about offending your sensibilities. He’s trying to help you see things for what they really are using, again, military grade focus. He’s an intense person who has been forged in the fires of rigorous daily training, being involved in life-and-death situations in combat, and a battlefield leader who made decisions that directly affected the lives of his troops.
The book won’t help solve problems if straight talk like the language above isn’t your thing. Don’t let it offend or upset you. Just work through it and use the motivation to start moving toward your goals, to be the person you want to be.
Discipline Equals Freedom is not a book for everyone. The target audience is the people trying to make changes in their lives by getting fit, eating well, completing that book or other project that seems to never move forward, or all of the above and more.
Evolution, not revolution. Just get started.