Jocko Willink, Relationships and Benjamin Franklin

I want to write a quick note about something I heard in the podcast The Tim Ferriss Show today. I’ve been taking some time the past couple days for some rejuvenation, and I’ve been listening to podcasts and reading blogs like a madman. I’ve been going through Tim’s old podcasts and came across one with Jocko Willink, author of Extreme Ownership and ex navy seal. One of the leadership principles/tactics that Jocko mentioned was the ability to take a step back from a situation and see it as if you are an observer, then once you have that big picture view, you have a better idea of how to navigate that situation. He learned this in the context of leading men in combat. As I thought about this I realized that I have used a similar tactic in many of my personal relationships, usually romantic relationships. Combat, romantic relationships, basically the same thing. But in all seriousness, if I find myself in an argument with a significant other and begin to get emotional and focused on the direct conflict at hand, things tend to go south. However, occasionally I’ll take a moment and think to myself, what is the end goal that I want to achieve here. Generally that end goal is something like I want us to happy together and in a healthy relationship. Then, when I’m able to remove myself from the direct thing that I’m focused on and focus on the bigger picture, the whole manner in which I navigate situations changes, and the outcome is usually a better outcome. In many cases this is an extremely hard thing for me to do, I’m unable to do it, or it doesn’t occur to me. However, if I try to focus on seeing the bigger picture more instead of the direct emotions at hand, I will more frequently achieve the end goal that I really want. Which is usually something benevolent that we probably both want. I also finally got around to reading Walter Isaacson's biography on Benjamin Franklin. It is incredible and I highly recommend it. I think Benjamin Franklin navigated arguments in a similar way. He was very tactful in his argumentation, here’s him describing his technique: “When another asserted something that I thought an error, I denied myself the pleasure of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing him immediately some absurdity in his proposition. In answering I began by observing that in certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present case there appeared or seemed to me some difference, etc. I soon found the advantage of this change in my manner; the conversations I engaged in went on more pleasantly. The modest way in which I proposed my opinions procured them a readier reception and less contradiction. I had less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong, and I more easily prevailed with others to give up their mistakes and join with me when I happened to be in the right.” - Benjamin Franklin Franklin doesn’t get caught up in emotional argumentation, he maintains a top down perspective and uses that to navigate confrontation in a way that is actually probably beneficial for both parties. This to me seems like an application of Jacko’s leadership tactic of maintaining the big picture view of a situation while you navigate it. Like I said, this can be extremely hard for me to do because I’m frequently too easily caught up in my emotions, but I think that I’ll try to focus on it more in the future. Hopefully my arguments and therefore relationships will improve. Thanks for reading, Zach