The Daily Man-Up

August 29, 2017 | No Comments » | Topics: Man-Up

Discipline starts every day when the first alarm clock goes off in the morning. I say “first alarm clock” because I have three, as I was taught by one of the most feared and respected instructors in Seal training: one electric, one battery powered, one windup. That way, there is no excuse for not getting out of bed, especially with all that rests on that decisive moment. The moment the alarm goes off is the first test; it sets the tone for the rest of the day.

The test is not a complex one: when the alarm goes off, do you get up out of bed, or do you lie there in comfort and fall back to sleep? If you have the discipline to get out of bed, you win – you pass the test. If you are mentally weak for that moment and you let that weakness keep you in bed, you fail. Though it seems small, that weakness translates to more significant decisions. But if you exercise discipline, that too translates to more substanstial elements of your life.

I learned in Seal training that if I wanted any extra time to study the academic material we were given, prepare our room and my uniforms for an inspection, or just stretch out aching muscles. I had to make that time because it did not exist on the written schedule. When I checked into my first SEAL Team, that practice continued. If I wanted extra time to work on my gear, clean my weapons, study tactics or new technology, I needed to make that time. The only way you could make time, was to get up early. That took discipline.

Waking up early was the first example I noticed in the SEAL Teams in which discipline was really the difference between being good and being exceptional. I saw it with some of the older, experienced SEALs. Those who were at work before everyone else were the ones who were considered the best “operators.” That meant they had the best field craft, the most squared away gear, they were the best shots, and they were the most respected. It all tied into discipline.

By discipline, I mean an intrinsic self-discipline – a matter of personal will. The best SEALs I worked with were invariably the most disciplined. They woke up early, they worked out everyday. They studied tactics and technology. They practiced their craft. Some of them even went out on the town, drank, and stayed out until the early hours of the morning. But they still woke up early and maintained discipline at every level.

Later on the passage Although discipline demands control and asceticism, it actually results in freedom. When you have the discipline to get up early, you are rewarded with more free time. When you have the discipline to keep your helmet and body armor on in the field, you become accustomed to it and can move freely in it. The more discipline you have to work out, train your body physically and become stronger, the lighter your gear feels and the easier you can move around in it.

Jocko Willink – Extreme Ownership: How U.S Navy SEALs Lead and Win

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