23 Invaluable Quotes from Extreme Ownership

Jocko Willink and Leif Babin authored ‘Extreme Ownership: How US Navy SEALs Lead and Win’ whereas they discuss the important lessons they learned during their time in service. This translates into a compelling narrative where they communicate its direct application into everyday life. Here is a look at some of the best quotes from ‘Extreme Ownership’ to remember.

“A good leader does not get bogged down in the minutia of a tactical problem at the expense of strategic success.”

“A good leader has nothing to prove, but everything to prove.”

“After all, there can be no leadership where there is no team.”

“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.”

“As SEALs, we operate as a team of high-caliber, multitalented individuals who have been through perhaps the toughest military training and most rigorous screening process anywhere. But in the SEAL program, it is all about the Team. The sum is far greater than the parts.”


“But we can’t ever think we are too good to fail or that our enemies are not capable, deadly, and eager to exploit our weaknesses. We must never get complacent. This is where controlling the ego is most important.”

“But, in fact, discipline is the pathway to freedom.”

“Extreme Ownership. Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.”

“For leaders, the humility to admit and own mistakes and develop a plan to overcome them is essential to success. The best leaders are not driven by ego or personal agendas. They are simply focused on the mission and how best to accomplish it.”

“For this reason, they must believe in the cause for which they are fighting. They must believe in the plan they are asked to execute, and most important, they must believe in and trust the leader they are asked to follow.”

“Implementing Extreme Ownership requires checking your ego and operating with a high degree of humility. Admitting mistakes, taking ownership, and developing a plan to overcome challenges are integral to any successful team.”

“It’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate.”

“Leadership is simple, but not easy.”

“More than a decade of continuous war and tough combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan gave birth to a new generation of leaders in the ranks of America’s fighting forces.”

“On any team, in any organization, all responsibility for success and failure rests with the leader. The leader must own everything in his or her world. There is no one else to blame. The leader must acknowledge mistakes and admit failures, take ownership of them, and develop a plan to win.”

“Our freedom to operate and maneuver had increased substantially through disciplined procedures. Discipline equals freedom.”

“The most fundamental and important truths at the heart of Extreme Ownership: there are no bad teams, only bad leaders.”

“The U.S. Navy SEAL Teams were at the forefront of this leadership transformation, emerging from the triumphs and tragedies of war with a crystallized understanding of what it takes to succeed in the most challenging environments that combat presents.”

“There are no bad units, only bad officers. This captures the essence of what Extreme Ownership is all about.”

“We learned that leadership requires belief in the mission and unyielding perseverance to achieve victory, particularly when doubters question whether victory is even possible.”

“We wrote this so that the leadership lessons can continue to impact teams beyond the battlefield in all leadership situations—any company, team, or organization in which a group of people strives to achieve a goal and accomplish a mission.”

“When setting expectations, no matter what has been said or written, if substandard performance is accepted and no one is held accountable—if there are no consequences—that poor performance becomes the new standard.”

“You can’t make people listen to you. You can’t make them execute. That might be a temporary solution for a simple task. But to implement real change, to drive people to accomplish something truly complex or difficult or dangerous—you can’t make people do those things. You have to lead them.”

The authors of ‘Extreme Ownership’ appear in this great interview as they discuss the important lessons they learned during the time they served as United States Navy Seals. The leadership principals covered in their book can easily be applied to everyday life or business.

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