For this week's Monday Motivation, I'm posting a transcript of an excerpt from my #1 favorite podcast/thing on the web: the always-inspiring Tim Ferriss Show. Every week, Tim interviews a world-class performer from a different field and recently he posted a second episode with Jocko Wilink. If you're not familiar with Jocko Willink, Tim's description should do the job:
Jocko is a lean 230 pounds. He is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert who used to tap out 20 Navy SEALs per workout. He is a legend in the Special Operations world. His eyes look through you more than at you.
Jocko spent 20 years in the US Navy and commanded SEAL Team 3’s task unit Bruiser, the most highly decorated special operations unit in the Iraq War.
Willink is known also, among many other things, for waking up at 4:30am every single day to work out, and basically exemplifying his mantra: Discipline equals freedom. In response to a question from a podcast listener about how applicable such a lifestyle is for artists and creatives --- people in seemingly unrelated fields to his --- he had this to say, which contains, frankly, the tough love most of us creatives badly need. In his words (emphasis mine):
"I would argue that in these creative pursuits you actually require even more discipline. And I would venture to guess that the biggest reason that creative types... don’t produce isn’t because they don’t have vision, and it’s not because they don’t have talent. I can just about guarantee that in most cases, it’s a lack of discipline.
I’m always saying, about working out, I’m always saying that the weights in the gym aren’t gonna lift themselves. You gotta go lift them. Well, it’s the same thing with a book. That book isn’t gonna write itself. You gotta write it. And the painting isn’t gonna paint itself, you gotta paint it. And if you don’t feel like writing or drawing or painting or composing… That doesn’t matter. You do it anyways.
... That’s what you have to do, you have to make it happen, you have to force yourself to do it. And it’s not always gonna be good. And you might go back, you might write a thousand words and you might delete 950 of them. But you got fifty words, fifty words that you didn’t have before, fifty words that you’ve created that are solid, fifty words closer to reaching your goal.
As far as the time of day goes, to me it doesn’t matter…. It’s about the principle, not about the specific time. And I gotta throw a big BUT on that. Because although you can maybe work at different times, or maybe you stay up late or do better work at 2:00 in the morning or 3:00 in the morning, and there’s no way you’re getting up at 4:30, that’s okay. BUT that doesn’t mean oversleep, and it doesn’t mean procrastinating, and it doesn’t mean hit the snooze button, and it doesn’t mean staying up late diving into the depths of useless YouTube videos and claim that that is you being creative. Do not lie to yourself. There’s a decent chance that being “creative” is actually being lazy in your mind. Do not fall into that trap.
… In order to gain skills, in order to master your craft, any craft, you have to practice… and that requires discipline… The more you practice your craft, the better you get at it, the more freedom you have to create. So build the structure and follow it, put the discipline into your life. And the discipline, it will increase your skills, and it will increase your productivity, and the discipline will set you free."
The entire episode with Jocko is worth a listen. If you enjoyed this little morsel, don't miss his first appearance on the Tim Ferriss Show and his episode on the Joe Rogan Experience, which are the most intense and compelling things I've ever listened to in any medium. He also actually has his own excellent podcast that he started after those two episodes became a big hit.
That's it for this Monday! Now heed the man's words and GET AFTER IT!