published on in an advent of extreme ownership

An Advent of Extreme Ownership - Turbo Mode

It’s been shocking to find out how much I’ve been doing wrong. I’ve been spending the past 3 days of the weekend working with abandon, and trying to avoid distraction as much as possible, but I’ve still been far less successful than I hoped I’d be.

I made a big list last Friday (the 13th!) and followed that through Friday and the weekend. My approach was the Jocko Willink turbo mode method - make a big list, on paper, and cross the items off the list as you finish them. I thought I would be able to just power through the list and get things done, but for some reason I wasn’t able to. I only got about 30% of a relatively simple list done.

Why did I fail? I believe the main reason was a lack of mental toughness. The want to succumb to whatever treat I believed lay around the corner was so strong that I found it very difficult to resist. However, after listening with intent to a short clip of David Goggins that serendipitously appeared, I think I found the key to solving this problem.

Goggins, in this clip, was talking about how he lost more than 100 pounds within 3 months to qualify for entry into Navy SEAL training. He said that his plan was to just do what his mind didn’t want to. If it was raining outside, and below freezing, and the lightning woke him up at 3AM, his mind would comment - “shit, glad I’m not out there.” And the minute he heard something like that, he went against the will of his mind.

What I’ve been doing, is if my mind tells me something, I tend to agree with it. This is a very dangerous model. What I seem to have found out is that to agree with the weak comments your mind makes is to let your unconscious mind dominate you. It doesn’t take many steps down this path until your hidden lust for vengeance against the cruel nature of reality will emerge.

This is why the “weak men” that Jordan Peterson refers to are so dangerous - those who obey and agree with the weak parts of themselves are susceptible to evil. But to callous your mind is to be immunized against the dangers of the unconscious evils that lurk, for a calloused mind knows how to differentiate between honest and weak statements. Nothing honest is weak.

To be weak is to deviate from the truth. This is why weakness is problematic, and gives insight into what the relations between the constituent elements of what I’ll call the “trifecta of nobility” (something I just made up - honesty, strength, and compassion) are like.

So, what’s the point? I’m weak. Weaker than I thought. That realization inspired me to write the following short snippet:

“Through blackness of night
Heart pumping with fear
The truth of my plight
At once crystal clear

I know now where I am
The journey starts here
And I don’t fear a damn
Towards salvation I’ll steer”

I really don’t have much more to say, because I’m still quite shocked at how incompetent I truly am. This is a terrifying realization, but also an incredibly freeing one. This knowledge gives me an idea of where I’ve been going wrong, and the power to change the inadequate parts of myself. I’m sure that, in the long run, this will have been an incredibly good thing to do.

— Hugo