Winning the War Against Complacency

UPDATED: March 14, 2017
PUBLISHED: March 14, 2017

When I sat down with our cover guy, Jocko Willink, to interview him for the SUCCESS Talks podcast, I started with an icebreaker. He had just finished a photo shoot managed by our art director, Amy McMurry, and I asked how it went. I told him that I hoped he enjoyed it and that, most importantly, I hoped he was able to stay on Amy’s good side, because she’s a brawler.

Related: Video: Jocko Willink’s SUCCESS Cover Shoot

Now Amy is decidedly not a brawler. She’s about 5-foot-2 and tiny, a mother of two kids and the sweetest person you’ll ever meet. The irony was obvious. Jocko—a physical beast who would be the world’s greatest bouncer were it not for a higher calling—got the irony. But he didn’t have time for courtesy laughter. He didn’t even respond. It was obvious he didn’t care for games and formalities. Not being a brawler myself, I quickly got started with the interview.


Lessons on willpower, grit, self-motivation and leadership run throughout this, The Toughness Issue of SUCCESS.


This guy is different, I thought. He’s not just some author or speaker, although he’s both of those things. He’s so much more, though. He actually lives the lessons he teaches. Serving in the Navy SEALs for more than 20 years, Willink justifiably could be called one of the greatest warriors to ever live, and he brings the same unbreakable determination needed on the battlefield to his everyday life. He fights to be his best self. He’s not battling the mujahedeen or Iraqi insurgents anymore. Today his opponents are things like shortcuts, temptation and complacency.

Related: The Jocko Willink Way 

And he’s pretty clearly winning the war. It’s such a massacre, in fact, that we wanted to share his personal methods and mindset to help in your own war against the obstacles to the life you want. Lessons on willpower, grit, self-motivation and leadership run throughout this, The Toughness Issue of SUCCESS.

Alongside Jocko we profile one of the world’s most rugged athletes, the boldest cowboy in professional bull riding. We sent Associate Editor Jamie Friedlander to the streets of Chicago to meet people living amid the worst violence in our country and making it their daily purpose to stop the shootings. There are guides for maximizing your mental toughness so you can crush any challenge that comes along, and for getting the most out of your team, even when it means you have to be a firm leader. And be sure to read the story of Managing Editor Jesus Jimenez tackling the most ambitious goal of his life, only to realize it’s not the goal that propelled him but the propulsion itself.

We always encourage you to be thankful for what you have and to enjoy each moment. Spring is a time of renewal—of stopping and smelling the flowers. But this month we’re challenging you to take a hard look at the whole garden. To put in the sweaty, aching work of pulling the weeds. And to plant more flowers.

A lot of hard work went into this month’s magazine. But that has only made us better and more energized for the next one. When you finish this issue and turn your attention to the battles to come, we think you’ll feel the same way.

Related: 19 Things to Read This Month to Get Tough


This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

Josh Ellis is the former editor in chief for SUCCESS magazine. Before joining SUCCESS in 2012, he was an accomplished digital and print sportswriter, working for the Dallas Cowboys Star magazine, the team’s gameday program, and Originally from Longview, Texas, he began writing for his hometown newspaper at 16.