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I was afraid before interviewing Jocko. I think it was instinctual. His body is seven times the size of mine. I pointed at the cover of his new book, “The Way of The Warrior Kid.

“See this kid,” I said. “That’s me right now.”

I like to overlap somewhere with my guest. Like a story we both can share and laugh about.

With Jim Norton, for instance, we grew up together. With Garry Kasparov we were both chess players. And I also worked on Deep Blue for a while, the computer that would ultimately defeat him.

But with Jocko…what? I felt intimidated. He was like this superhero that had conquered the world and everyone respected him and I felt like the nerdy little boy I was in junior high school.

So I started talking. “I can’t do a pull up. And I’ve never been in the battlefield… obviously. Or I would look completely different. You were the commander of your SEAL unit and you had to make life and death decisions. But out of that, you cultivated all of these leadership lessons.”

He listened. That was nice. Then I asked why he joined the military. (And stayed for 20 years.) But he flipped the question back to me. (He has a podcast, too. So he knows how to drive an interview.)

“Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to be in combat,” he said.


“Well… what did you want to do when you were growing up?” he asked.

“I guess I wanted to write and interview people.”

“Well, there you go.”

I don’t think my brain fully realizes that I’m doing what I dreamt of doing as a kid. Jocko made it sound so simple.

“Well, there you go.”

We’re not all lucky with everything we do. Jocko is lucky. I am lucky. But some of his friends didn’t make it back from war.

Doing is the step forward. But sometimes it worthwhile to just pause… long enough to hear the words.

“Well, there you go.”

We began the interview…

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