This was a week of graduation ceremonies and endless addresses that told all bright-eyed and smiling students that they all have the ability to change the world – All you need to do is reach for the stars and believe…
Without seeming too cynical, I must say that I believe there is a little more required to obtain personal goals than dreaming and wishing. So does William McRaven. In a riveting commencement address, this man truly told it like it is. Here is his background and what he shared with a class of recent graduates.
William H. McRaven is now Admiral, United States Navy, and Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base. He previously served as Commander, Joint Special Operations Command, is the former Commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group 1 and Commander of SEAL Team 3. Notably, Adm. McRaven organized and executed Operation Neptune Spear, the spec-ops raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011. Suffice it to say that Adm. McRaven knows a bit about the challenges of life and how to succeed.
What follows is a summary of his advice to graduates about how to change the world.
Adm. McRaven noted, “The University’s slogan is, ‘What starts here changes the world,'” and added, “Here are the ten lessons I learned from basic SEAL training that hopefully will be of value to you as you move forward in life.”
- If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
- If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.
- If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.
- If you want to change the world, get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.
- If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.
- If you want to change the world, sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle headfirst.
- If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.
- If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment.
- If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.
- If you want to change the world, don’t ever, ever ring the bell.
Of that last entry, McRaven explained, “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 be in 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. All you have to do is ring the bell to get out.
Again, “If you want to change the world, don’t ever, ever ring the bell.”
Regarding the applicability of these 10 lessons, he said, “While these lessons were learned during my time in the military, I can assure you that it matters not whether you ever served a day in uniform. It matters not your gender, your ethnic or religious background, your orientation, or your social status. Our struggles in this world are similar and the lessons to overcome those struggles and to move forward — changing ourselves and the world around us — will apply equally to all.”
Adm. McRaven closed with these words: “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 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, the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today.”
First read here:
Full text here: