I usually listen to podcasts when I run.
One of my favorite podcasts is the Jocko Podcast.
Jocko Willink is a decorated retired Navy SEAL officer and author of the book Extreme Ownership: How Navy SEALs Lead and Win.
I love him.
He is the co-founder of Echelon Front, where he teaches businesses how to lead more effectively and succeed using principles he learned on the battlefield.
But whether it’s parenting or relationships or personal development, everything he talks about is applicable to your life. It’s not just about business development.
The other day I was listening to episode #224 — In An Uncertain World, Stack The Deck In Your Favor.
In this episode Jocko interviews Darryl Cooper who is a naval officer and also has a podcast.
Cooper had a rough childhood and early adulthood, but he is also a success story.
Toward the end of the podcast, he and Jocko were talking about luck.
(Darryl) There are a couple times in my early adulthood where if I had zigged instead of zagging, where I got purely lucky… early twenties I get into a big fight out in town and the cops decide they’re gonna just let me roll out… if I had maybe a darker color skin instead they’d be pulling my ass in and throwing me in jail. And then I’m not going in the navy…
I just got very, very, very lucky. I know people who are way better, way smarter, way stronger than I am who ended up going completely off the rails, and deserving it had nothing to do with it.
Did they deserve it? Well, they made decisions, yeah. Sure. I made decisions. But a lot of it just came down to pure luck.
And it’s humbling… I try to open up my heart to people who find themselves in difficult circumstances because I know that it is an act of God. But by the grace of God, that’s where I could have been…
You have to make choices. But it very easily could have gone a different way with the exact same choices that I made.
(Jocko) Yeah, there’s always going to be some level of luck involved, for sure. And there’s also like little, tiny, miniscule decisions that you make for whatever reason that you make them.
And sometimes those have a trajectory that lasts the rest of your life. And they could be good, sure. Like when I decided to join the Navy…
There’s a split second in time where you go, you know what. I’m gonna do this.
There’s a split second where it’s a coin toss. And you go, You know what? I’m gonna do this.
I had friends that were right alongside with me. I’m gonna go in!
And they didn’t go in. And things did not work out well for them. At all.
And so when you look at all these little decisions… How many peoples’ lives have been ruined by, you know, the one DUI they got?… How many peoples’ lives have been ruined by whatever momentary decision they made that just, just… it went wrong.
You saw that in combat all the time. There’s times where I made bad decisions and got home and said to myself, Well, got away with that. I never should have got away with that. I can’t believe I got away with that. I got so lucky.
And there’s other times where you make the right decisions and things still go wrong.
And so there’s absolutely some level of luck in there. And what you have to do as a human being is recognize that and then every chance you get, lean that thing in the right direction… the sooner you recognize that in your life, the better off you’re gonna be. Cause the sooner you recognize alright, this could be the bad decision that I make. This could be it...
Occasionally if I had a SEAL, who was working for me that was like… I could see where he was heading.
I’d give him this brief right here. Hey, this is what I want you to do. I don’t want you to do dumb shit. I don’t want you to do anything that’s stupid. Do you understand what I am saying?
And that kind of thing… when you are 21 years old, if you say lookit, I’m just gonna try not to do anything that’s stupid.
That’s actually some really solid advice to go off of. I wish I would have had somebody… There’s a lot of decisions that I made, that I look back on now where they could have gone bad, and when I look back at em, if somebody would have just said, Don’t do dumb shit. If somebody would have told me that it would have helped me out a lot.
I got lucky along the way. At the end of the day, sometimes it’s a coin toss. And do yourself a favor, and don’t flip that coin if you don’t have to.
And then, to what you’re saying… whenever I see somebody that I can see they’ve ended up in a bad situation.. I know that there were some coin tosses in there that came up bad. I know it. That’s what happens. And the difference between you know, me and that person that’s strung out on meth, sitting in the corner, covered in their own piss…
There’s some coin tosses in there.
And so, minimize those freakin’ coin tosses. And then yeah… Look.
There’s some luck involved. Make your freakin’ luck, too.
You gotta make your freakin’ luck. Cause you can’t rely on that coin comin up the way you want it to.
So get up… Take control, take ownership of what’s going on. Everything that you can control, control.
Don’t let it go. Don’t leave it up to chance. You cannot afford to do that. The coin tosses don’t always go your way.
We want to take control over what we can take control of.
Make our own luck. Manufacture luck…
There are many ways… physical… mind and body fitness. Good way to kinda get that coin to fall the way you want it to.
You can manufacture some luck.
I was talking about this today with the ladies in my membership.
This is why I am such a huge believer in daily self-care and in particular, exercise.
Exercise for me is not a short-term solution for weight loss.
It’s a lifelong commitment.
Because that’s one way of increasing my odds in a coin toss.
The coin was tossed for all of us about 6 weeks ago.
I feel pretty good about my odds because I know that by taking care of myself, by exercising daily, I’ve manufactured a little bit of luck.
I’m in pretty good shape. My resting heart rate is in the 40’s. My heart and lungs are strong.
Is this a guarantee or does it make me impervious? No.
But the odds are in my favor more than they would be if I did not take care of my body.
And by exercising, I am taking care of my brain, too. Stress is not good for you. It wears you down physically.
Opting to not manage stress in healthy ways is not minimizing coin tosses
It’s not, as Jocko would say, making freakin’ luck.
At times like this, if you are not taking care of yourself, you are flipping coins constantly.
You never know what curve balls life is going to throw at you.
Stop flipping coins that don’t need to be flipped.
If you aren’t exercising daily, start today.
You don’t have control over how long you are going to be home.
But you do have control over what you do when you are there.
Take control of the shit you can control.
And start making some freakin’ luck.