I am very weary of the ‘self-help’ industry. People whose hubris extends to suggesting ways in which you can ‘fix’ your life with diet and morning routines, and whose books and associated products will assist you in this endeavor. There is a darkness here as well as in consumer psychology that doesn’t sit well with me. Moreover I find people that espouse jingoism quite draining and regressive. I like my paragons to imagine themselves as philosophers, farmers or healers first. And warriors second. Having said all that… Mr. Willink does have some good stuff (pun only loosely intended) that plays well with stoicism. I don’t think anyone should ever adopted someone else’s ideology wholesale… I am not them and they are not me. But that’s not to say we can’t cherry pick what we like. I think as homo sapiens its our prerogative to be extremely judicious in what we absorb and adopt.
“How do I deal with setbacks, failures, delays, defeats, or other disasters? I actually have a fairly simple way of dealing with these situations, summed up in one word:
This is something that one of my direct subordinates, one of the guys who worked for me, a guy who became one of my best friends pointed out.
He would pull me aside with some major problem or issue that was going on, and he’d say, “Boss, we’ve got this thing, this situation, and it’s going terribly wrong.”
I would look at him and say, “Good.”
And finally, one day, he was telling me about something that was going off the rails, and as soon as he finished explaining it to me, he said, “I already know what you’re going to say.”
And I asked, “What am I going to say?”
And he said, “You’re going to say: ‘Good.’ ”
He continued, “That’s what you always say. When Something is wrong or going bad, you just look at me and say, ‘Good.’ ”
And I said, “Well. I mean it. Because that is how I operate.”
So I explained to him that when things are going bad, there’s going to be some good that will come from it.
Oh, the mission got canceled? Good… We can focus on another one.
Didn’t get the new high-speed gear we wanted? Good… We can keep it simple.
Didn’t get promoted? Good… More time to get better.
Didn’t get funded? Good… We own more of the company.
Didn’t get the job you wanted? Good… Go out, gain more experience, and build a better resume.
Got injured? Good… Needed a bread from training.
Got tapped out? Good… It’s better to tap out in training than tap out on the street.
Got beat? Good… We learned.
Unexpected problems? Good… We have to figure out a solutions
That’s it. When things are going bad: Don’t get all bummed out, don’t get started, don’t get frustrated. No. Just look at the issue and say: “Good.”
Now, I don’t mean to say something trite; I’m not trying to sound like Mr. Smiley Positive Guy.
That guy ignores the hard truth.
That guy thinks a positive attitude will solve problems.
It won’t. But neither will dwelling on the problem. No. Accept reality, but focus on the solution. Take that issue, take that setback, take that problem, and turn it into something good. Go forward. And, if you are part of a team, that attitude will spread throughout.
Finally: if you can say the word “good,” then guess what?
It means you’re still alive.
It means you’re still breathing.
And if you’re still breathing, that means you’ve still got some fight left in you.
So get up, dust off, reload, recalibrate, re-engage – and go out on the attack.”
-Willink, Jocko. Discipline equals Freedom, St Martins Press, 2017