How To Win With People You Don’t Like – Jocko Willink

If I am so smart, why am I know winning.

You should build relationships with people you don’t like for the good of the mission.

If you don’t like someone, most of the time that is your ego.

Transcript

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do you talk about building or you talk about building relationships a lot at
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work even when people whom you might not like even with people who mean you don’t
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like have you always been this way or did you also feel difficult also
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difficulty in wanting to build relationships with those people if the
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latter what are the things that help you to actually want to build relationships
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with him things so when I was a young seal
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I was pretty typical young seal pretty typical young man meaning I thought I
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was invincible I thought I could beat everyone in a fight cuz I didn’t know
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jiu-jitsu so you just think you’re just gonna win but that you’re wrong I
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thought I knew everything of course and I thought I was smarter than everyone
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else kind of typical sometimes I would rub people the wrong way and the people
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that I would rub the wrong way were especially people that I third thought
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were not squared away in the chain of command so if you weren’t square if you
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if you were my boss and I didn’t think you were squared away I was gonna rub
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you the wrong way no cuz I was gonna be slightly offensive yeah as a matter of
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fact I got an evaluation it’s one of the first evaluations that I got when I got
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to a SEAL team and back in the day yeah you’d get you were rated 4.0 was the
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highest you could get and it would go all the way down to whatever like one
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but at this time basically everyone got four oh and everything right you
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basically got four oh and everything and like you’d have to mess up you have to
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mess to get deviate from the four so I got all four O’s and I got a 3.8 which
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was like a major dig and the dig was in I think it was like in relation like I
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don’t know what the word was but when I got debriefed on it what the
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guy that gave me the 3/8 what he what he told me
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which I actually was proud of because that’s how stupid I was
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he’s like you you you’re too hostile with people that aren’t squared away
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that’s literally and I was all like whatever you’re damn
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right I am hostile towards people that aren’t square to go to war right just an
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idiot that’s what that’s what the situation
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was and you know it made me mad if a leader was weak and I would form these
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antagonistic relationships with leaders if I thought that they were weak
and one
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of these bosses eventually that I fought I was better than right I thought I was
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smarter I thought I was smarter than him right I thought that he was an idiot
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sure I should have his job right how often do you think that right I should
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have that guy’s job I’m smart and the more I showed this attitude the worse
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our relationship got in the world and the less he listened to me and the less
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influence
I had over how we did things and therefore the the worse we did and
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the and the the worse our ability to perform God because he was just doing
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things the way he thought without any good input from anyone below him in the
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chain of command mm-hmm all because I had formed this antagonistic
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relationship with him which was bad because then he’s not listening to me
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and then one day one day I said to myself if I’m so smart if I’m such a
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smart guy why am I losing why am I losing if I’m so smart if I am so smart
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why can’t I get this guy to do what I want him to do even though he’s my boss
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doesn’t matter if I’m so smart yes they were smarter than him why can’t I get
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him to do what I wanted me to do hmm why if I’m so smart how come I can’t
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have more influence over the way we operate if I’m so smart and he’s so dumb
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mm-hmm and that’s that’s when I realized that’s when I had an away
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an awakening that instead of blaming him for being stupid I was the one who was
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being stupid I had lost the ability to influence my boss because I was being
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stupid and because of my ego
I literally thought I deserved his job okay I
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thought pretty much anyone could anyone in the platoon should have his job and
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therefore since I thought that I I understand of supporting him they said a
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building a relationship with him i undermined him now once I got humble and
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I started to build a positive relationship with him
instead of an
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antagonistic one that started to change and because because then he started
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listening to me he started to change some things and my influence over the
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whole situation became better because I now had a relationshi
p despite the fact
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I liked the guy despite that fact I built the
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relationship and the situation got better I had more influence and that
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became kind of my standard operating procedure was to build relationships
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with people even if I didn’t like them to build relationships with people so
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that I could have more influence now does what does that sound like right
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that sounds like I’m kind of this manipulative two-faced superficial
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disingenuous guy yeah that’s that’s being devious and conniving not keeping
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it real not keeping it real right but the fact is that is not true that’s not
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that’s not that’s not who I am you don’t know who I am I’m a guy that’s trying to
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accomplish the mission that’s what I am I’m a guy that is trying to accomplish
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the mission who is putting my own ego in check to build a relationship with
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someone that I don’t like that I don’t respect but what I’m trying to do is
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improve our operational capability what’s more important to me trying to
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arrange the situation build the relationship so that we do better not so
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that I get promoted not so that I’m getting some accolades but so that we as
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a team do a better job I put the little feelings aside because I want the team
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to win so if you’re having having some trouble getting over your feelings and
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getting over your ego to build relationships for the good of the team
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ask yourself the same question I asked myself a long time ago
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which is this if I am so smart why am I not winning and if you answer that
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question honestly then you’ll put your ego in check
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you’ll go build the relationships that will make you and your team accomplish
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the mission and win hmm there you go
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can’t help but agree with that one you know what’s funny is if you think
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about like why you wouldn’t like someone mm-hmm what what causes you and not like
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someone most of the time that’s your ego anyways most of the time that’s your ego
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anyways yeah and so you know you had that story of the you know you were
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consulting somebody it was like a big CEO of yeah like a lacrosse guy that
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story is probably the most common story I mean the way you handle it different
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yeah but that scenario that you started with with us are so common man
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where ya they rub you the wrong way because right off the bat you see him as
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some kind of competitive figure to you like they’re you know some you know
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compare you know you’re competing with them in your own mind in whatever and
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the feelings probably meet you a lot of the time you know see kids don’t like
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each other you know one anything he says you’re you know you’re already defensive
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but it’s weird man how you can how that happened like that’s happened to me
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before not is it wasn’t as overt but just like yeah I don’t really feel that
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guy you know I don’t like I would because I not only is he like when you
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look at them whatever they’re kind of competitive with you but maybe they do
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something just this much different than you you know like it’s just different in
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philosophy or something like that I was like oh let me again second and then
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they open their mouth and say one word to you and it’s real nice you’re like oh
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I love that guy you know just one little thing just one little like hey I’m cool
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you know I like you kind of thing and it’s like oh man yeah when they say
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something humble to you yeah it disarms your ego and you’re all of a sudden
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you’re bros yeah it’s so weird but if they don’t if they escalate the ego
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situation
which then it’s very problematic happens all the time I mean
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really that’s the natural course of things because you do have to put on the
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brakes on your feelings and be like okay let’s make a different kind of decision
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than the automatic one I got to switch to manual real quick and then bling but
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the bottom line is you’re gonna interact with all kinds of different people if
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you’re in any kind of team want so ever which is most most human beings interact
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with other human beings through their job through their life through I mean
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you could apply this to your family too right
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there’s someone in your family that you don’t get along with well what good does
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it do does it make your family unit better when you let those emotions play
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out and let your ego play out no it doesn’t you’re better off you’ll get
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further and you’ll have a better you’ll have a better life in your family if you
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put your ego in check and then say you know what I’m just gonna build a
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relationship with this person it’s gonna make everything better and smoother but
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it’s like man if you it I feel like you can take the place of any marriage
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counselor by just saying that for real like all you have to do is in and they
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got to do it but all you got to do is ask like is this gonna help the
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relationship with my wife or my family whoever it is in your is this gonna help
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the relationship if I do this or don’t do this or is it gonna hurt it and
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that’s it that’s it that’s super general question or whatever but it’s it’s so
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cut and dry most of the time yeah of course it’s exceptions but generally
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speaking it’s pretty cut and dry okay and a lot of time just like I said it
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has to do with like your ego or your you know this this sense of vengeance little
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micro sense of vengeanc
e because I can’t believe she doesn’t respect the fact
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that I took out the trash you know she asked me to take the trash all the time
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finally when I do it nothing you know like chilli its I was talking to a
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friend of mine and we were talking about you know I’ve talked about the mutiny
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that I had yeah yeah Co platoon but we had a mutiny we fight
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we had a mutiny against uh our platoon commander we fired he got fired and then
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the other guy that came in to take his place was like the best guy mm-hmm and I
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was talking to a guy that worked with him much later when he was a senior
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senior guy and I was telling him I was like oh when I talk on the podcast about
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the platoon commander that was like the best that’s who I’m talking he’s like no
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way and and this guy working with he’s a senior guy and he says you know when he
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when I worked with him he would take out that he would take out the trash from
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the office every day
and he and I started laughing said that’s right and
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I’d be look and he was saying like oh I look at him and be like sir you know you
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don’t need to do that it’s like no no it’s not good you know someone’s got to
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take out the trash I got it mm-hmm this is a seat a guy that shouldn’t have
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been taking out trash for 25 years taking out the trash
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well is he picking up breath picking up brass taking out trash you know that’s
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that’s being humble yeah being humble goes a long way

The Difference Between Happiness and Joy

Staying vulnerable in an age of cruelty.

Happiness usually involves a victory for the self. Joy tends to involve the transcendence of self. Happiness comes from accomplishments. Joy comes when your heart is in another. Joy comes after years of changing diapers, driving to practice, worrying at night, dancing in the kitchen, playing in the yard and just sitting quietly together watching TV. Joy is the present that life gives you as you give away your gifts.

The core point is that happiness is good, but joy is better. It’s smart to enjoy happiness, but it’s smarter still to put yourself in situations where you might experience joy.

People receive joy after they have over-invested in their friendships. The thing the wisest people say about friendship is this: Lovers stand face to face staring into each other’s eyes. But friends stand side by side, staring at the things they both care about. Friendship is about doing things together. So people build their friendships by organizing activities that are repeated weekly, monthly or annually: picnics, fantasy leagues, book clubs, etc.

They say that love is blind, but the affection friends have for each other is the opposite of blind. It is ferociously attentive. You are vulnerable, and your friend holds your vulnerability. He pauses, and you wait for him. You err, and she forgives.

“You will be loved,” the Italian novelist Cesare Pavese wrote, “the day when you will be able to show your weakness without the other person using it to assert his strength.”

Transparency is the fuel of friendship. We live in an age of social media. It’s very easy to create false personas and live life as a performance.

We live in a cruel time, when people attack you when they see a hint of vulnerability. So, it’s extra important to stick with emotional honesty even after people take advantage of your vulnerability to inflict pain. Vulnerability is the only means we have to build relationships, and relationships are the only means we have to experience joy.

My friend Catherine Bly Cox observed that when her first daughter was born she realized she loved her more than evolution required. I love that phrase because it speaks to what is distinctly human, our complex and infinite caring for one another.

There are some things we do because biology demands it. There are some things we do to pay the rent. But material drives don’t explain the magic of our friendships and the way our soul sings when we watch loved ones glow.

Sometimes when you’re out with your friends, you taste a kind of effervescent joy. Several years ago, the writer Zadie Smith was dancing at a club with her friends when a song from A Tribe Called Quest came on. At that point, she wrote, “A rail-thin man with enormous eyes reached across a sea of bodies for my hand. He kept asking me the same thing over and over: You feeling it? I was. My ridiculous heels were killing me, I was terrified I might die, yet I felt simultaneously overwhelmed with delight that ‘Can I Kick It?’ should happen to be playing at this precise moment in the history of the world, and was now morphing into ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’ I took the man’s hand. The top of my head flew away. We danced and danced. We gave ourselves up to joy.”

When you have moments like that you realize there is magic in the world. You can’t create the magic intentionally, but when you are living at that deep affectionate level, it sometimes just combusts within you. A blaze of joy.