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Robert O'Neill: From SEAL Team Six to Your Grateful Nation

I am super excited because we had Robert O'Neill. If you're just getting to know him, he's a former Navy SEAL and a special operator. He led the team with the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, otherwise known as SEAL Team Six. A lot of that stuff he can't talk about, but we got him to talk about his missions, including rescuing Captain Phillips from Somali pirates and the big one, the shots fired that took down Osama bin Laden.

He's got a book out called The Operator: Firing the Shots that Killed Osama bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior. We talk about his time overseas and his transition that he had to go through as many of our service men and women have to go through after leaving the military.

Also, how do you apply these millions of dollars in training that the government put into Robert O'Neill? How do you take his advice, his knowledge, his training and apply it every day? We talk about that in this show...

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Dustin
It's May
Rob
I saw a lot that happened before that. It was a mission where I got to watch cool guys do cool stuff because of my place in the train. I was in the back because we got dropped off outside because the other helicopter crashed. I was initially going to go on the rooftop with about seven other guys and the pilot saw the other pilot crash land. He knew he couldn't hover, so he put us out. Besides that, we had to get in. I saw a lot of stuff go down. I heard a lot of gunfights. Going up that last set of steps, we were down to two guys, one guy in front of me and me. His job was to look forward because he's the point man. I'm the two man, which means when I squeeze him, I'm telling him through effective communication, "We have enough guys. It's time to go." I didn't think we had enough guys, but he needed to go because he thought there were suicide bombers behind the curtain and at the top of the stairs. He thought we could beat them too. He didn't know it was him and me. He knew it was him and one of his guys. It's not like we had this planned.
Dustin
Do you enter that room if there's only one guy? Is it that type of mission?
Rob
No, I wanted to go up the stairs with six. I would have taken four, but I was down to two. I squeezed him and I remember taking a deep breath. I can close my eyes and see it. I had taken a deep breath and here we go. If we're going to blow up in that room, I'm going to find out what it's like to face a suicide bomber up close. I've seen them before.
Dustin
Did you rehearse this mentally before? Is this part of the training?
Rob
No, but we accepted the house would blow up on top of us. We knew it was a one-way mission. As soon as I squeezed him, he went up. Then he opened the curtain and pushed down, jumped on what he thought were suicide bombers in it because he went straight. I went right and there was bin Laden. It was a darkroom. He was standing there taller and skinnier than I thought. His beard was shorter than I thought and it was grayish. He had his wife in front of him and he was not surrendering. I didn't know what he was doing, but he had about a second to convince me not to kill him. He didn't convince me because he would not surrender. He's a threat. You've got to assume he's a suicide bomber, that's why I shot him in the face. I shot him twice and he fell down. I shot him again. 
His wife was in front of him, but she was short. He was about 6'4". I was able to take the shot over her and then push her towards the bed that was behind him. He died at the foot of his bed. I pushed her onto the bed. His two-year-old son was in there. That was an odd feeling as a father. This poor kid has nothing to do with this at all. What a shame that he had to see this. I put him on top of his mom. Other SEALs were coming in the room at this point and that's when it hit me. It was like, "Wow." I was standing there watching a lot of my guys work. There were stuff going on here and there. We need to get the pictures, which we do have. I hope they eventually release because I'm tired of hearing about it and the fake ones on the internet are terrible. A guy came up to me and he said, "Are you good?" I said, "Yes. What do we do now?" Then he laughed at me. He said, "Now, we find the computers. We do this every night. We've done these hundreds of times." I was like, "Wow."
Dustin
It hits you in a different way.
Rob
It did. I was like, "I'm back." He goes, "You just killed Osama bin Laden. Your life just changed." That's how it went down and then you get back into work mode. It was like, "I know what we're doing now. We've got to get the pictures. We've got to try to figure out 100% is this him?” We had a guy that we brought in the mission from a different squadron because he spoke Arabic. People were giving him grief about that like, "Why are you still learning Arabic? We're almost done in Iraq. We’re never going to be done in Iraq." He kept learning it and then now we needed an Arabic speaker and a SEAL. He was there and he was talking to the kids. He got one of his daughters to finally say, "You got him. That's him. That’s Sheikh Osama." That's when we did the call to the boss. He did the, “For God and country, Geronimo.” Geronimo was our pro-word for finding bin Laden. It was never a nickname for bin Laden. That would be insulting to the actual Geronimo, the warrior. We used Native American warriors as a lot of our influence and a lot of our pride. A pro-word is simply something you say for when you are somewhere instead of saying, "I’m at bin Laden's front door," I would say something else like, Toronto or something. If we find bin Laden, it's Geronimo so we know what we're talking about it without saying it over the radio. We thought it was honoring the warrior, Geronimo. When we say, "Geronimo EKIA," means enemy killed in action. We got him.
Dustin
Did you take him? Was that part of the mission? You had to bring him back?
Rob
Everyone was doing their stuff. I did go to the second floor after that and we found three offices. We found a bunch of opium. There were desktop computers with the towers. We had to break those, take the hard drives out, find as much electronic stuff and CDs that we can get. We do it every night. The other guys were upstairs doing the interrogation and making sure. Some guys were putting him in the body bag that we brought. Once we sacked all that stuff up, I went back upstairs to help carry bin Laden downstairs. We brought him outside. We put him with one of our snipers who was outside in front who was the lead sniper to rescue Richard Phillips, which is cool. It was a small group of guys who did a lot of stuff. I run back inside the house to try to get people out. I was like, "We have to go."
Dustin
Are you concerned at that moment? You killed and like, "It's great. We won," but you can't let your guard down because you had to get out.
Rob
We were in Pakistan and they didn't know we were coming. We didn't want to get in a fight with them because it's their country. We always told them, "If we find them, we're going to come and get them." There was a military academy maybe a mile away up north and people would always say, "Weren't you worried about the military academy? That's their West Point?" I was like, "We're not worried about that because think if someone did an operation like this at our West Point, it's not going to be the cadets who show up. It's the local police who are coming." We don't want to go into packs and shoot up the Pakistani police. That's bad for everything. We want to get out of there before they find us. We wanted to be there for 34 minutes. That was our original timeline.
We were on the ground for 47 minutes and it was hard because time goes by quickly. There was so much stuff in there that we were trying to gather and get out. I had to run and I was like, "We're going, guys. Get out. Leave the women and children there. We're leaving now. Let's go home." It was quite a time. We went outside. There was a lot in between that happened before that. Watching guys shoot it out with the enemy. There was a lot of bravery everywhere. It was so cool that it didn't affect them that this house should blow up. They did their job exactly the way we always do and that's why they picked us. We were the most experienced guys who were available. There were other units like maybe two that could have done it, but they picked us. Just because of our rotation, the number of missions every guy had done, so we were picked for that team.
Dustin
I've always found there are always a set of circumstances. If you interview somebody that's a world-renowned athlete, we were talking with an Olympic gold medalist. There are always these series of things that lead up to it. Was there anything preventing you from doing this mission? Was there almost a time like you weren't going to go? Tell me about it.
Rob
Yes, if they bombed it. They were not all convinced he was there. There were maybe two people. One of them was a famous woman from Zero Dark Thirty. She was 100% sure. She was like, "He is on the third floor of this building and I do not understand why we're not going right now." Even President Obama said, "I didn't send you guys because I thought he was there. I just knew you could go and find out and come back.” If they bombed it, the Air Force came up with a plan for something like 22,000, 2,000-pound bombs. You're never going to find. There were conspiracy theories now that we never got him and if we bombed it, he wasn't there. He was there. We went in and got him. I was convinced he was there because the woman was convinced he was there. I saw her before we left on the mission. She was in Jalalabad with us. She was pacing and I remember saying, "Why are you pacing? Why are you nervous?" She goes, "Are you kidding me? Why aren't you nervous?" I was like, "We do this every night. We fly somewhere, we mess with people and we fly back. This is just a longer flight. You have to be right, so I see why you're nervous."
Dustin
You've got the big bag like the big trophy essentially. You stuck around. Did you immediately leave or are you doing duty still there over the course of a couple of weeks or a couple of days?
Rob
We left with the body. We put him on our original helicopter with the team that crashed. We put ourselves on a helicopter that came to get us full of other SEALs. They came and got us and then we flew back.
Dustin
Where did you fly back to?
Rob
We flew back to Jalalabad Airfield.
Dustin
How long were you there after this takes place?
Rob
We were in Jalalabad for twenty minutes and then we got on a plane and flew to Bagram. We stayed there for a couple of hours. We have a routine where we put everything that we found down and give it to the smart people from the three letter agencies, "Here's what we found and here's what was going on," give them an after-action report. They were doing the official DNA tests on bin Laden himself right there in front of us, which was an out of body experience to see. Then they had a TV set up. We're watching the news start to get leaked because of what happened. If Twitter was as popular as it is now, they would have known before we even landed what happened. We had it on Fox and Geraldo Rivera was speculating. He was in Bret Baier's chair and wouldn't get out or something like that.
He was getting sources and we confirmed it before President Obama came out. We watched this. Our boss was on the phone with either the President or the Chief of Staff to the President. They were trying to find out how many people were dead, how many were wounded and how many were alive in the house. You've got to talk to everyone in the house and what they saw. Then we came up with it and told the President. Then he came out and addressed the world. To hear the President say, "Tonight, I can report to the American people and into the world, the United States conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda." To watch that on TV and look down and see Osama bin Laden, it was like, "How did I get here from Butte, Montana?"
Dustin
Did other people in the military know that you were the guy or part of the team?
Rob
They knew that as soon as we got back. When we got back, I had to walk from the helicopter to the back of the hanger, which is 25 yards to throw something away out of my pocket into the trash. The mechanics were pointing at me and I heard them saying, "He got him."
Dustin
How did you function?
Rob
That's a lot to take. You get back and then they had all kinds of ceremonies for us. Everyone wanted to meet the team, the high-level people. They would personally come up to me and do weird stuff in front of the team. It was like, "This is awkward for me because our team did this. I don't need to be singled out like this." It had a major effect on a lot of people.
Dustin
Is that what led to ultimately you getting out and retiring?
Rob
It was one of the reasons. We went through the greatest night in the history of Naval Special Warfare, one of the greatest nights in the history of the military. Then a few months later on August 6th, 2011, we lost a helicopter. Extortion 17 was shut down. We lost a lot of our guys on that. We went from planning missions to planning funerals. A lot of these guys were close friends of mine that we talked about, "What's going to happen when one of these helicopters gets hit?" and it did. Just the reality of how precious life is and how it can all be over in the blink of an eye. I want to see my kids get married. With the bin Laden thing, I decided I needed to go to war one more time though. I don't want to, "I did this, now I'm going to get out." The way I said it is, "I came here through the front door, I want to leave through the front door." It's a weird environment. It wasn't the best of terms and morale was still down because it's hard to replace that much combat experience. It was a tough one. It took me a year to decide to get up, then I ultimately got up.
Dustin
Did you have a plan? Did you know how you were going to transition out?
Rob
I had no idea. The odd thing is a lot of people want to go back to war just because that's all they know. It makes sense to them. Filling out a résumé, dressing up for an interview and taking the Copenhagen out of your lip doesn't make sense. That's why we started the foundation, Your Grateful Nation. I did have groups of people where I was fortunate to get mentorship in like the greater DC area and then out of Manhattan. That geared me up. I had a few months off terminal leave. It was vacation time that I had accrued where I could stay, and I could be looking for a job so I can get paid by the Navy. I knew I wasn't getting a pension. You have to do twenty years. I did it almost seventeen years.
Dustin
What were you thinking? What are your interests? What are you going to go do? What's that next chapter?
Rob
I linked up with a speaking agency through some friends that introduced me. The only reason I got in the door was they knew I was on the bin Laden mission. I went in and said, "I'm not comfortable talking about this but we can do other stuff," and we put our heads together. I did get my first job the day I got out of the Navy, which was nice. I knew I could keep the lights on, but I had to figure out something else. I did some stuff. I went up and trained some Navy SEALS after I was out up in Montana. Just odds and ends like that. I figured what I would do is get on retainer with companies and make monthly paychecks like that whenever they need my services, like advising and maybe for perimeter type of security. That's what guys do when they get out. They get into security. The speaking thing just started to take off because I'm able to put a sentence together and I can convey what we did, figure out why we were so good and how it can apply to you. 
It's like you wouldn't think what you learn in combat can help you in the boardroom and it can. The speaking industry is unique because you don't market yourself, it's more word of mouth. Someone heard you and now, “I want you to speak at my thing.” That was my primary job. I worked at some TV stuff as an analyst back when ISIS was making big headlines. They wanted to talk about that. It came about that way. I came out with the bin Laden story after a donation to the museum. I met with a bunch of 9/11 families and they helped with the healing process. Having a face with a name, I told the story. It happened, we did it for them. Then I was going through a lot of the stuff that I'd written, diary-type stuff. I was like, "This is a good story. I'm going to come up with a book and I'm going to submit it to the Pentagon, which is you need to do." I recommend that. They came back with it and they redacted a few things. They asked me to make a few changes and I got the green light. It’s a good story.
My book, The OperatorI'm not calling myself that. I'm talking about the operator, the life of the operator. That's the Ranger, that's the Green Beret, that's the Navy SEAL. If I can get tricked into joining the Navy by a clever recruiter as a decent shape, white guy from Montana who didn't know how to swim, but learned and then through hard work and not quitting and not buying into the negativity. A non-swimming white guy turns into a Navy SEAL and ends up at the Elite SEAL team and then in bin Laden's bedroom. We were part of these other missions. We were part of the coalition of the big team that rescued the lone survivor. That's an incredible story about my friend, Marcus Luttrell. We were part of the team that got called to rescue Richard Phillips.
Dustin
How were those missions different? How did you prep differently?
Rob
The bin Laden one was we were more focused because of the threat of we're not coming back. That was more serious, but this needs to be done. This is why we all joined and we are going. This is it and you accept that. The Captain Phillips one, it was serious but we didn't feel like we were in danger on that one. Maybe a little bit because we weren't sure how we were going to rescue him. Our SEAL team, the one I was at, was designed to rescue hostages at sea. That's what we do. We thought of everything but we didn't think of that because they were towing a lifeboat behind a cruiser. There was one small porthole and three armed guys inside. It was like, "How are we going to get them?" That's what we do and the most dangerous thing is going to be the jump. We'd love to jump in the Indian Ocean, which is beautiful. We were going to take a sixteen-hour flight, jump into the Indian Ocean and then we'll figure it out.
The Lone Survivor one was almost surreal because we'd never had a loss of life like that. Afghanistan was hot in the initial invasion. Things like Operation Anaconda in 2002, right after 9/11 and emotions were still high. We beat them up quickly and then we secured it. We were losing Afghanistan because we decided to lose Afghanistan. If we would go back to Afghanistan, we wouldn't be sitting here wondering why we're still in Afghanistan but then it calmed down. Right around 2005, it was pretty calm and we never heard of a suicide bomber over there. There was very little interaction with the enemy, but then we lost four snipers in the valley. Then they shot a helicopter down, the Turbine 33 on June 28, 2005. We lost a lot of guys and now we have two snipers missing, which was Matt Axelson and Marcus. We've got to go get them and they're not going to fly us. We're going into combat. This is a gunfight in a horrible place.
Dustin
How much time did you have to prep in that scenario?
Rob
For that one, it was ten minutes and we've got to go. They had what you call a quick reaction force, the QRF, which is on the helicopters, Turbine 33 and I believe Turbine 34. Then when they get shot down, now what? They're not going to fly us. We've got to run up that mountain and we didn't know if people were there. What are they going to do if they catch them alive? We've got to get them. It turned pretty serious then. Then we'd go to Iraq and that one was odd too. All I saw about Iraq was on TV. Everyone's getting blown up and everyone's dying. That's the way the media made it seem. I remember my first mission in Iraq, I was like, "This is going to suck," and it turned out to be awesome. We handed it to the enemy over there. We'd get in fights every night and we would crush them. I took the point where I was wondering, "Is this the wrong war?" because we were beating the crap out of these people. 
We were in Al Anbar, we were in Fallujah. The Fallujah battle that I was not a part of but what the Marines did to them, that was some serious fighting. The stuff that we were doing was more high-value guys that we'd go after. When we run into resistance, we get them quickly. I want to reiterate that our job is not the most dangerous. It is the Marines. The daytime fighting, urban environment, booby traps and minefields and our soldiers, Army, airmen, Navy, Corpsman and SEALs. The stuff that we did, we were scared for Iraq that turned into, "We're good at this," to benign in Afghanistan to, "We're in crap now." Then the high-profile missions, by the time we got to those, we'd been doing it. I'd been at that command. I had been in SEAL for fifteen years and it was like, "We're good at this. We got it."
Dustin
I want to talk about Your Grateful Nation. Why is it so difficult to make that transition?
Rob
Because there's no reason for the military to transition the guys. There's no reason to spend money on training them to get out because they're losing them. There's nothing in place and so people need to figure it out. That's why a lot of guys can come to us now because we have it in place. Your Grateful Nation is individualized. What it is is you find out where you want to live and what industry do you want to be in? Then here's a mentor. We put them through a program where they get mentored by the company. They're hired to have good jobs too. They're usually put in charge of major projects.
Dustin
What's been the surprising thing since starting the foundation? What surprises you the most about it?
Rob
It’s surprising how expensive it is to run it. I just assumed like, "We'll have this guy here. We'll put him in the boardroom with the CEO and the COO and then off you go." It's keeping the funding going because we do have permanent employees we need to pay to run the show. I don't run the show. I'm a mouthpiece for it. I can show up and try to raise money. We have a great former Green Beret Colonel, Rob Kirila, who's running it. There are a couple of other people. They need to get paid and it costs about $10,000 per candidate to get through the program. We want to put as many as we can. It's a lot more complex than I thought it would be, but it's the most rewarding thing that I do. Every time we hear from a soldier or a spouse saying that we wouldn't have had the second career without Your Grateful Nation, we’re so relieved. They're surprised at how well they will do because they're good at it because of their attitude, their loyalty and because they can handle stress. They've managed real stress before and they like to work as a team. Let's get the job done. I don't care who gets the credit type of stuff.
Dustin
You say stress in this and that popped into my head. Being what you've been through, I can't imagine the stress level. Have you experienced anything remotely close?
Rob
It's different. I'm better at handling stress because of all the combat but I give myself my own advice every day. I fly a ton. When a flight gets canceled and you're going to miss an event, it's like I could stress about it or I could accept it. Then other things too is you need to take a deep breath and slow down a little bit. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. If you want to get something done quickly, slow down and chill out. 
Dustin
In the military, is there a number out there that they say when they make an investment in a SEAL, it's X amount of dollars? Is that publicly out there?
Rob
Someone looked it up and I could be way off. I heard it was something like $500,000 to make a SEAL and something like $1 million to keep them deployed. I don't know what that means, but it would be the other way around.
Dustin
At least $500,000. You've got $500,000 in training.
Rob
It's more than that. That's like to start out. The stuff we went through for the selection course, the book, The Operator, they crossed out which SEAL team that was. That training, there's a nine-month course that you go through, very advanced tactics and advanced everything. That course itself has got to be $1 million a person.
Dustin
You say there are a lot of crossovers. From what you experienced, your training, your deployment and now into the business world, what would you say are the top things that people can benefit from what you know?
Rob
You're never too important to be nice. You don't need to be a jerk. If you're employing people, it's okay for them to get along with you. It's okay to find out why they're there. Even though the buck stops here, there's no reason for us not to enjoy what we do.
Dustin
I've got to imagine you've got drill sergeants yelling in your face.
Rob
We did. I've seen it and not even in training. In training, they're going to yell at you. That's what it is. You have to understand that's a game. That helps you get through it. They did the same thing. That's their job and they have to be rude to you. Some of them are legitimately mean but that's okay. Then getting into platoons or in a squadron, I've had bosses that were horrible. Morale was so low that people dreaded coming into work. It was little things that you didn't need to do, like no flip-flops in the team room. Guys like to wear flip-flops, let them wear the goddamn flip-flops. What is this doing for you? Collared shirts now, now we're in uniform. These were stupid stuff just to prove power. People don't need to abuse their power. There's nothing wrong with people getting along.
Dustin
What would you say to someone defending and saying, "This is discipline and the small things matter," and all that? 
Rob
I'd say you're sending your guys to war pretty much 300 days a year and now they're home. Let them relax a little bit. We'll be professional when you need us to be. That's what I think. I don't mind wearing a suit. I don't mind doing that kind of stuff too. If all guys are doing this, coming in, checking emails and they're going to the shooting range, why do they have to come in and dress shoes? Let them wear flip-flops and jeans. It's not that hard. It's actually easier.
Dustin
What else do you have?
Rob
The emotionless decision, which is a tough one. That's what I talk about, taking a deep breath. Calm down and think about what you're doing because your initial reaction could be the wrong reaction, take a second.
Dustin
Going back to your other side, how do you do that in war? Do you have the time?
Rob
I take a breath. I tell guys over the radio, "Take a breath. Everyone calm down. No one's communicating, but everyone's talking." My favorite saying is we have these things called push to talk and you can push it and talk. I would tell people, “This is push to talk. It's not push to think, so think, push, talk and calm yourself down by breathing and counting.”
Dustin
Where did you pick that up?
Rob
I came up with it myself. A sniper is only sexy on paper. When you're out there doing it, there's nothing cool about it. It sucks. When we were in Kosovo, we would have to watch villages. It was going there, set up your little hindsight, you camouflage. Then watch through scopes for days and nothing was going on so just count and count. Slow your cadence down, speed it up, slow it down so you can keep your mind right. I realized that is slow but it's teaching patience. Another thing too is I complained, but that's not going to get me out of here so I'm not going to get negative. Keeping your head right with positive thoughts. If your head goes, your body follows. If your head stays in, your body will follow it. Your body's going to follow your mind. No one's ever said, "My mind was out but my body pulled me through." Not at all. It's not going to help people finish marathons because of their legs but because of their minds. 
Dustin
I want to move us into the WealthFit round. Fear and self-doubt often stop people from achieving their goals. What do you do to overcome fear and self-doubt?
Rob
The realization that fear is okay. Fear is natural and fear will make you think more clearly. The fine line is there because if you panic, everyone's going to panic.
Dustin
How do you get yourself to take that action? You recognize fear, you got it. Then you've got to do something. 
Rob
You do it anyway. Move forward. When the active shooter comes in, you don't pray for someone better to come to rescue you. You get a weapon and get them.
Dustin
Do you think that's ingrained in you through training?
Rob
I do because everyone was doing the same thing. We used to have a saying before 9/11. People would say, “Train like you fight.” We would say, “Train like you train because we're never going to fight,” but 9/11 we're going to fight. We trained so much, we were ready for combat. With that record, we didn't realize that we were ready. The training definitely helped. It comes with it, but then there's still fear. Fear is natural. I know guys that didn't ever get afraid and that's probably because they're sociopaths. It's okay, do it. Be smart about being stupid. If you're afraid when you're walking because there are IEDs you're going to step on, just think. Don't go to the spot where the IED probably will be. Don't go to the funnel. If gates are coming into one entry point, let's hop the fence. We're not going through the entry point. If it's your time, it's your time. That sucks. God bless all those soldiers and Marines walking through that stuff.
Dustin
You're very detached from the outcome and your life is on the line every second. Not
Rob
Yes, it can happen. Anything that you do can get you killed, including nothing. I know guys that were killed leaving the outhouse, walking to the building and they got hit by a mortar. Someone fired off a mortar from a mile away and it landed right on top of him. I was with a different squadron, but we were at that SEAL team in Kandahar. We got in a big gunfight in the snow. Then we were all fine and we got back to the base. We were in the chow hall. A lot of people in the military, their job is support. They're on the base to support the warfighters. They don't leave the wire too much and whatever. They put their right hand at the end of the survey, that's fine. When we’re in the chow hall and this mortar started landing outside, every single dude started jumping under the tables except our guys. There were big cement walls outside, but there was nothing above us. If a mortar comes through here, that table's not going to help. Enjoy yourselves and stay calm.
Dustin
It's so counterintuitive.
Rob
Worrying about stuff isn't going to help. You either fix it or don't. If you can't change it, stop thinking about it. Like flying out to bin Laden, we can get shot down any second. I saw guys put in their iPods. I saw guys fall asleep, which is badass. It’s like, “You're asleep in the car on the way to bin Laden's house.” That is awesome. A lot of mindset goes into it and you learn that stuff. SEAL training is the initial one because of the never quit attitude. What you can get through as long as you believe in yourself. Get away from the negativity. I'll make myself when I get out of bed in the mornings to not read Twitter because they're so negative. That's a blast.
Dustin
How do you get better?
Rob
Reading and not being afraid of what other people say. I don't mean afraid by insults. I could care less about that. Reading other people's material, reading other soldier's books, other CEOs’ books on leadership, great quotes, Zig Ziglar, stuff like that. What can I learn from that? What can I take away from that and working out?
Dustin
What's your top three favorite books?
Rob
 The Operator by me, Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink, War by Sebastian Junger and Lone Survivor is always up there. I like the leadership mentality. Sean Parnell wrote Outlaw Platoon, an excellent book. That's a crazy story about being army guys in Afghanistan. When you think in Afghanistan, I'm talking on the floor and the mountains around them and nothing but terrorists coming to get them. I'm going to read Jocko's other books too, The Dichotomy of Leadership. He and Leif Babin wrote those. Jocko and I worked together quite a bit before back when he used to drink beer. He was a lot of fun. He's always been a mentor who always had the right thing to say. He always knew how to motivate, and he was the smartest guy. He was also the toughest guy always. He's a great leader. He lived in my apartment for a while. We were roommates. He was on Twitter and someone said, "Jocko, you can beat up 99% of the people in the world and you can run through walls. Why do you work out so hard?" He said, "The other 1% have thicker walls." His books are great.
Dustin
Do you have any special routines or things that you do to get you in state or gets you going?
Rob
What I love is the elliptical machine. I love that because I'm in hotels a lot. I don't get access to heavyweights. I used to weigh about 230, 235 and now I'm down to about 210, which is so weird. People telling me I look skinny and I was like, "210 is pretty big." The elliptical, I watch Workaholics because it's a goofy, hilarious show and get done laughing. The treadmill is good. I liked that too. I've been hurt more on a treadmill than I have in combat. I took a nasty fall right in front of this whole gym full of people.
Dustin
What were you like? Maxing out the speed or what?
Rob
I was caught on an edge. I like shrugs. I need to get the shoulders back. The workouts are key. Sleep when you can get it. I'm a big believer in that. Other people say, "No, you've got to be up before the enemy." I'm like, "Or you can sleep in."
Dustin
Are there, in the thick of battle, anything you’ve got to do for your survival? Are there rules of how many soldiers can go?
Rob
Not really. The only rules, and Marines came up with this, was eat when you can and sleep when you can because you don't know. When we went after Marcus Luttrell, it wasn't just SEALs. We had an excellent range of snipers with us, a platoon of Rangers, the Marines were there and Air Force guys. There was everyone there. We were awake three days in the mountains. When we got back down to one of our safe houses, that's when the guy brought Marcus's note out. It has his name and his social. We had a little argument with one of the three letter agencies about how this isn't a trap. It was like, "We’ve got to go back right now." We’ve got no sleep go back and then we went up there. It was even to the point where we had to go up a mountain and then down because he was right on the other side. One of my guys sat down and said, "I can't go anymore. I'm too tired." I remember looking at him saying, "We will tell Mrs. Luttrell, Marcus's mom, that we couldn't get them because you got tired." He was like, "You're absolutely right." He stood up and started walking. I said, "Do me a favor. Can you say that exact same thing to me because I don't think I could go anymore?” That's when we looked around and said, "This is why training is so hard because if we want them to quit, where are we going to go?" We're here. That's about it. Even if we can't.
Dustin
Looking back, what is your biggest defining moment?
Rob
Unfortunately, it is the bin Laden thing. I say unfortunately because as soon as I shot him, I was asking myself, "Is this the best thing I've ever done or the worst thing I've ever done?" Unchartered territory. What's going to happen? Even with a speaking agency, I remember I don't want to get into the pricing, but he goes, "How are we going to price a speech like this because this has been like hiring the guy that killed Hitler." I said, "No, Hitler killed himself." He said, "Exactly." That's unfortunately it. I want it to be Your Grateful Nation. I want it to be not just helping veterans but helping the economy, making your company better because of the many men and women. We're only doing special operators. I got excited because we got our first female. That's awesome because there are female special operators out there that no one knows about. They're pretty awesome too and pretty impressive. I know women that can kick my ass, not even joking.
Dustin
Thanks, big time for being on the show. I appreciate it. You've been on a lot of interviews and a lot of media. Is there a question that you wish people would ask you that they haven't?
Rob
I've heard everything. I've had someone asked me what my favorite Disney movie was.
Dustin
What angle are they going for there?
Rob
They were going for, "What has no one ever asked you?" It always goes back to the same thing. People want to hear the bin Laden story. A lot of those guys are out. They were on the mission and I hope they tell their end of it. Every single story is unique and it's cool. I hope that woman writes a book that found him. I heard a rumor she is. I'll buy that one.
Dustin
Rob, thanks again for being on the show. Where can folks find out more about what you're up to? 
Rob
At RobertJONeill.com and YourGratefulNation.org. Also, through Robert J. O’Neill, you can get signed copies of The Operator. We're working on getting more hardbacks. We're going to have a bunch more. That leads you to a site called RJOApparel.com. That's where the books are. Robert O' Neill has everything from the speaking to the apparel to the books to the Your Grateful Nation. All the links are right there.
Dustin
Rob, thanks again for being on the show.
Rob
Thank you.
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