Great Speech – Admiral McRaven to Univ. Texas


Read the text or watch the video.  Either way, his message is clear.  I will summarize his points below:

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.  
 By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.  If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.  And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.
You can’t change the world alone—you will need some help— and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the good will of strangers and a strong coxswain to guide them.

If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.
SEAL training was a great equalizer. Nothing mattered but your will to succeed. Not your color, not your ethnic background, not your education and not your social status.

If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.

Sometimes no matter how well you prepare or how well you perform you still end up as a sugar cookie.  You will get chewed up and swallowed.    It’s just the way life is sometimes.  Get up, move on.

But if you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.
A circus to a SEAL trainee means that for a single period of time you didn’t measure up. A circus meant more fatigue—and more fatigue meant that the following day would be more difficult—and more circuses were likely.  This ties into Marcus Luttrell’s (“Lone Survivor”) mental attitude of “just get to lunch”.  Do not dwell on the last challenge, and do not think forward to the sum of all the challenges.  Just do what you have to do to get to lunch that day.  And then do what you have to do to get to dinner that day…

But an interesting thing happened to those who were constantly on the circus list. Overtime those students—who did two hours of extra calisthenics—got stronger and stronger.  The pain of the circuses built inner strength-built physical resiliency.  Life is filled with circuses.  You will fail. You will likely fail often. It will be painful. It will be discouraging. At times it will test you to your very core.

If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.

Instead of swinging his body underneath the rope and inching his way down as all the others had done, the trainee  bravely mounted the TOP of the rope and thrust himself forward.  It was a dangerous move—seemingly foolish, and fraught with risk. Failure could mean injury and being dropped from the training.  Without hesitation—the student slid down the rope—perilously fast, instead of several minutes, it only took him half that time and by the end of the course he had broken the record.

If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.
There are a lot of sharks in the world. If you hope to complete the swim you will have to deal with them.

If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment.
Every SEAL knows that under the keel, at the darkest moment of the mission—is the time when you must be calm, composed—when all your tactical skills, your physical power and all your inner strength must be brought to bear.  In business it is the presentation for which your projector fails, or the negotiation when you are in a position of weakness.  The best of the best recognize the situation for what it is, accept that, and continue on.

If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.
The chattering teeth and shivering moans of the trainees were so loud it was hard to hear anything and then, one voice began to echo through the night—one voice raised in song.  We knew that if one man could rise above the misery then others could as well.
If I have learned anything in my time traveling the world, it is the power of hope. The power of one person—Washington, Lincoln, King, Mandela and even a young girl from Pakistan—Malala—one person can change the world by giving people hope.

If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.

Finally, in SEAL training there is a bell. A brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see.  All you have to do to quit—is ring the bell. Ring the bell and you no longer have to wake up at 5 o’clock. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the freezing cold swims.  Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the PT—and you no longer have to endure the hardships of training.


In summary……

Start each day with a task completed.

Find someone to help you through life.

Respect everyone.

Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often, but if take you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up—if you do these things, then next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today and—what started here will indeed have changed the world—for the better.



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