What is Jocko Willink’s view on depression?

This article will center on discussing Jocko Willink’s view on depression. It will show how he came forth about it in one of his podcasts, and analyze it based on the clinical understanding of depression. Aside from that, the article will explain who Jocko Willink is.

What is Jocko Willink’s view on depression?

Jocko Willink, a former navy seal, has a view on depression that seems to be helping a lot of people. He often talks about how dealing with depression may be related to the way you work on perceiving things. 

And that some people have found a way out of it through having a more disciplined life, and looking at things from a different perspective.

And when Jocko Willink is talking about this, he doesn’t mean that he thinks people should look away from their problems. Or just pretend depression is not there. But once you are depressed, you should be disciplined in your path of healing. 

Be disciplined with therapy, be disciplined with your treatment, and focus on what you can do to get better.

After he retired from the navy, he began to teach leadership in the corporate world, but he also has a podcast in which he discusses health, and quality of life. And often he answers emails or letters listeners have sent him. 

In one of his podcasts, a person wrote to him talking about the thought of ending their life. To that, Jocko Willink shared his view on what can be done when you are feeling desperate, and it feels like there is nowhere else to go rather than ending your life. He said:

“I hear from people sometimes who feel there’s nowhere else to go—there’s no way out, and they don’t have any more options. And they are considering taking the only way out they can see, and that is they want to take their own life. And to anybody out there that’s in that place. I don’t really know what exactly to tell you, but I can kinda tell you what I think. I think No. I think No: don’t save that last bullet for yourself. Don’t save it for yourself…

You lock and load that last bullet and you shoot it at your enemy [suicidal depression]. And when you’re out of bullets, get out your knife and attack with that. And if you lose your knife, you grab your enemy by the throat and you keep fighting, and you keep fighting, and you keep fighting, and you keep fighting—no matter what. And you never quit. You never, never quit.

And if you feel like your life is in a place where you can’t get any lower, and you don’t think you can find any way out… good. Because that means the ultimate challenge is ahead of you. It means you can only go up. And it also means that things are gonna be tough. Things are gonna be tougher than anything you can imagine.

But that storm that you’re in—from your perspective—it seems like that storm is enveloping the whole world. But I am telling you, it is not. The storm that you’re in, it is hard to see out of that storm. It’s hard to see past it. It seems like the storm is everything. But the storm is not everything. And it won’t last forever. You can get out of the storm, and you will get out of the storm, and when you get out… you’re gonna see the sun, again.

But right now, you’re being tried. You’re being forged. You’re being tested by fire and by pain. That’s the test. Don’t fail the test. Don’t fail the test. Don’t give in. and Don’t quit. Don’t ever quit.

Fight on. Fight through the storm. Fight through the pain, and come out the other side stronger and tougher and better. A fighter. A survivor. A winner. Victorious.”

Through this touching saying that he gave on his podcast, he may be encouraging people that are depressed, and often suicidal, to keep on fighting. Once again, he doesn’t belittle the pain the person is going through. 

There is an acknowledgment that this is a moment, and this moment may feel soul-crushing, but he tries to show people that there is a way out.

When going through Youtube and watching this video of his podcast, it is possible to see this may have had an extremely positive impact on people. There are many comments from people that struggled with depression, and suicidal thoughts, and by hearing Jocko Willink talking, they could relate, and found a way to cope.

Other types of comments were ones of people that had already gone through this situation before, and that deeply relate to what he was saying. Encouraging others that are struggling at the moment to know that there is a way out.

By telling people that they should face their problems, acknowledge them, and fight them, Jocko Willink gives the chance the person with depression to feel less helpless. They can begin to feel as if they have a way to fight this overwhelming sadness that has been crushing them.

The way he talks about the fight against suicidal thought as if it was a real fight, allows the person with depression to personify their condition. Give it a structure, a name, and it that can help it feel less scary, and it can begin to feel like it is an enemy you can beat.

It is important to remind, once again, that depression is not a simple thing. It requires treatment, and time to cope with it. But being motivated, and having the idea that this is an enemy you want to defeat is the first step.

Who is Jocko Willink? 

Jocko Willink, born John Gretton Willink, was born in the United States in 1971. He was a navy seal that took combat in Iraq. He received medals for his service in the navy and reached the post of lieutenant commander.

After he retired from the navy, he wrote two books with a former navy friend Leif Babin. The books are called Extreme Ownership and The Dichotomy of Leadership

Aside from that, after his retirement, he discusses corporate leadership and has a podcast with Echo Charles, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. The podcast is called Jocko Podcast.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What is Jocko Willink’s view on depression? 

What are the most common symptoms of depression?

Depression can cause the person to experience intense sadness, and to lose interest, even in things they used to love. But not only that, but depression will also make you feel less energetic, and make it harder for you to focus. 

When someone is depressed, they will feel empty, and like they have lost their purpose. Aside from that, depression leads the person to become more irritable, and isolated. Your sense of self-worth, and your self-esteem will go down.

The sleeping and eating patterns of a person with depression will also change, and they can experience crying spells. To some people, depression can lead to self-harm, and even thoughts of death, and suicidal thoughts.

It is important to know that depression doesn’t manifest itself in the same way for everyone. People can have different symptoms. But for someone to be considered depressed, they must have gone through its symptoms for more than two weeks.

Can depression kill someone? 

Depression in itself won’t be able to kill someone. But the condition can affect the person in multiple ways that can lead them to let go of themselves, which can lead to such a negative outcome. The first way depression can shorten your life is through suicide.

Unfortunately the rate of depression, and suicide, nad been going up. Depression can make you feel so hopeless that you may decide to end your life. Aside from that, people with depression can often begin to put themselves in risky situations.

The risky behavior, in a person that is depressed, is often related to the ability that such moments have of making you feel better, at least for a little while. Abusing alcohol, or drugs, or even having risky sexual behavior can bring a sense of relief to the person that is depressed, but it can also be something that puts their lives in danger.

Another way that depression can shorten your life is by the lack of self-care it brings. When you are depressed, you may begin to have trouble caring for yourself, even your health. And this can lead you to have troubles with your health, which untreated can shorten your life.

What are suicidal thoughts? 

Suicidal thoughts, also known as suicidal ideation, are thoughts a person may have around ending their life. Those can often happen in two ways: a more passive one, or a more active form.

In the first one, the person may have a fleeting thought about ending their life. But they don’t have a concrete plan to do it. But when they have a more active thought on suicide, they can begin to plan how, where, and when they would it. Which can be more dangerous.

How can I help someone with suicidal thoughts?

If you know someone that you think is having suicidal thoughts, the first thing you should do is talk about it with them. Try to be supportive, and let them know you are there to help them with whatever they need.

During this talk, you mustn’t get in that position that you are trying to fix everything, but also let’s try to figure out if they have been more actively thinking about suicide, and if they need help in looking for treatment. 

If you have realized they have been planning suicide, you may want to get in touch with other people that are a part of their support network. Discuss with them when each of them can be present since your friends shouldn’t be left alone. 

You should also get in touch with the professional that is caring for them, and take away from the reach things they could use to hurt themselves. Hopefully with treatment, and your support, your friend will feel better.

Does depression have a cure?

No, depression doesn’t have a cure. Rather than that, mental health professionals will say that depression is in remission since it is impossible to know if the person will go through depression again in their lifetime.

But when someone is in remission, they will be able to regain control over their emotions, and feel interested in things once again.


This article explained the view Jocko Willink has on depression, and how it relates to the clinical view of depression. Aside from that, the article explained who Jocko Willink is.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.




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