I’m thinking about the enemy … we’re gonna meet … when I wake up in the morning, I’m thinking to myself, “what can I do to be ready for that moment, which is coming, which is coming?”

-Jocko Willink, on waking up early (from “The Tim Ferriss Show, #253: Morning Routines and Strategies”)

Jocko has been a constant source of motivation for me to get up early and get aggressive about improving myself – physically, mentally, as a student, as a developer, anything. As a former Navy SEAL commander, “the enemy” is something he mentions regularly. I don’t have a military background, so it’s never really resonated with me. Until this morning.

I usually get up between 4:00-4:30 AM – partly because I like a few hours to myself in the morning, but partly as a matter of discipline. This morning, I was going to a service project instead of work, so I slept in. No point depriving myself of sleep when I had extra time, right?

Wrong.

I was vaguely agitated cooking breakfast. On a normal day, I would have already been at work for an hour. Instead, I was standing over my stove in track pants and a t-shirt. I’d done nothing to speak of yet. But there would’ve been no point going to the office for such a short time to then leave and drive across town again. Sleeping in was a reasonable decision. Why was I frustrated?

That’s when the quote hit me. Justifying your enemy won’t stop it, so justifying my decision wouldn’t work. I was frustrated that I lost 3 hours this morning. That’s my enemy: the frustration – the guilt – of not maximizing my time.

Maybe you have a different enemy. Whatever it is, find it. You’re gonna meet it. Be ready for that moment, which is coming… and attack it.