🤯Unknown Unknowns #42 - Zen Jocko
2 min read

🤯Unknown Unknowns #42 - Zen Jocko

Write of Passage started this week.  It's my third time taking this course, and it's what started my journey in the creator economy.  While ostensibly a writing course, the biggest lesson for me is abundance mindset thinking.  Don't hide your ideas, publicize them.  That's the only way you can find collaborators and feedback.


Jocko Willink is an ex-Navy SEAL who commanded a Task Unit in Iraq.  He doesn't come to mind when I think of Zen Buddhism.  But his philosophy of extreme ownership seems very Zen to me.  His response to anything is "Good."  Miss a bus?  Good, you can get some exercise in.  Burn dinner?  Good, you can fast today.  You get the idea.  He sees every obstacle as an opportunity to learn or prove yourself.

This is the ultimate lesson of knowing that while every action has a reaction, you can control that reaction.

Another lesson I take from extreme ownership is "Consider the Consequences".   Too often, we make assumptions without considering the consequences of those thoughts.  Since thoughts aren't challenged, it's easy to go through life without considering the consequences.  By taking extreme ownership, you force yourself to confront the consequences.


Nassim Taleb has three concepts: IYIs, skin in the game, and the bed of Procrustes.

Someone with “skin in the game” is someone who has risk.  The opposite is an IYI, “Intellectual Yet Idiot”, someone who:

pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited. He thinks people should act according to their best interests and he knows their interests.

His third concept, the Bed of Procrustes, shows the relationship between the two.  Procrustes was a figure in Greek Mythology who would either stretch or cut down a person so they fit in his bed.  Taleb makes the analogy that IYIs:

squeeze a phenomenon into the Procrustean bed of a crisp and known category (amputating the unknown), rather than suspend categorization, and make it tangible.  

IYIs bring everything into their own conceptual framework while those with skin in the game confirm their theories in reality because if they’re wrong, they lose something that’s important.

=> Author Page Here


Ed Latimore distinguishes between Book Smart and Street Smart.

This is something that book smart people are uncomfortable with. They would like to be able to prove and predict everything before they move into a situation. Unfortunately for them, 100% certainty and guarantees are not representative of real life.

Someone who’s Book Smart has a surety that comes from a deep belief in their thinking process.  Someone who’s Street Smart has confidence they will learn as they do - they are comfortable with uncertainty because they are constantly challenging the real world around them.

=> Article Here


Steve Jobs talks about why the most successful companies have engineers, instead of marketers, at the head.  When companies don’t have any competition, the marketers take charge because they no longer have to make a better product, they just have to get better at selling existing products.  Then,

The companies forget what it means to make great products.  The product sensibility, the product genius, that brought them to that monopolistic position gets rotted out by people running these companies who have no conception of a good product vs a bad product.  They have no conception of the craftsmanship that’s required to take a good idea and turn it into a good product.  And they have no feeling in their hearts about wanting to help the customer.

=> Video Here

Questions, suggestions, complaints?  Email me me at [email protected].  Feedback welcome.

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please share it with a friend or two.  And feel free to send anything you find interesting to me!

Leaving you in peace,