Robert Thwaites-Extreme ownership

Author of Book: Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Date Read:

Book Report

The entire year of 2020 I was angry. Sure there were happy moments, but the underlying mood of 2020 was anger. I had recently had my world fall apart, and I had people to blame for this. I had a group of people to blame and held onto that belief. It wasn’t my fault. It was their fault.

Holding onto this anger made interactions with friends and family hostile on my part. I was short, snippy, and always in a bad mood- even during wonderful events. Thankfully, my family and friends were very understanding and kept me close.

This internal anger had physical ramifications as well. I felt as though there was a clamp around my chest. I had never experienced anxiety before, but I sure know now what that feels like. I spent a year like this. Thinking everyone was out to get me, and anyone I knew was ready to turn on me.

I remember being at Fellowship Church in Frisco, TX one Sunday morning. During the sermon from Scott Wilson, I suddenly felt the forgiveness of God wash over me like a wave. I felt forgiveness and internal love for the first time in a long, long time. Everyone has heard “confess your sins and be saved.” I hadn’t accepted responsibility at that time, so I didn’t feel as if I had anything to confess. It wasn’t until I felt this love and forgiveness from God that I embodied and owned my mistakes. It was in that moment where I let go of my anger. For those of you who have not yet experienced the embrace of God, it will change your life, and I pray you experience this.

Once I finally accepted that it was all my doing and nobody forced me to do anything. I had plenty of opportunities to leave and not continue. After I owned up to my actions, and really internalized the fact that it was my fault, it was as if a cloud was lifted. The anger that I had almost instantly was vanquished. I was able to feel the warm embrace of the love of my wife, the love from my family, and the love from my God.

Before this had started, I had already read Jocko’s book “Extreme Ownership” which basically teaches that you need to take ownership for everything that happens to you. Anything that happens to you (other than acts of god) is related to your handling of a previous situation. Had I really embodied this philosophy before, I wouldn’t have convinced myself that it wasn’t my responsibility to check legality or wasn’t my job to know all the details. Had I taken an “extreme ownership” position, I would have realized that if anything were to go wrong, or if anything wasn’t strictly by the book, that it would fall on me. I realize now this blame shifting I was doing by not taking ownership of what was happening around me allowed me to justify my actions to myself. I have learned my lesson.

Summary: Take ownership of your actions no matter what the result

Rob Thwaites