Admiral McRaven, on how one man can change the world

How one person can change the world

Admiral McRaven.  He’s a brilliant man, dedicated to serving our country.  His remarks in this speech remain profound, about how one person can change the world:

If you want to change the world, make your bed.

Little things in life matter.

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(2) On a team, exert equal effort.  Everyone must paddle, or the boat in rough waters will fail on course.

You can’t change the world alone.

You will need some help.  If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.

(3) In SEAL training, the bigger guys would make fun of the little guys, but the little guys always ran faster and swam faster and paddled faster than the big guys.  Nothing mattered, not social status or ethnicity or religion or education.  If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.

(4) Everyone failed uniform inspection.  Staying in a failed wet uniform with “sugar cookied” sand on them got under the skin of many students.  No matter how well you prepare or perform, you still end up as a sugar cookie.  Get over it, and keep moving forward.

The DRILL, practice and exercise matters

(5) If you failed to meet the standard, your name went on a list.  Those people were invited to a circus … 2 hours of additional calisthenics, designed to wear you down.  At some point, EVERYONE made the circus list. But over time the students that frequently made the list got stronger and stronger.  You will fail often in life; it will be painful and discouraging… but if you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.

Tests to break the spirit, build the inner self

(6) At least twice a week you had to run the obstacle course.  The most challenging was the slide for life.  You had to climb the 3 tiered tower, and pull 200ft to the 1 story tower on the other side.  One student broke the record by going head first, and cut the time in half.  If you want to change the world, sometimes you have to go head first.

(7) If you confront a shark, stand your ground.  Do not run away, swim away…  Punch him in the snout and he will turn away.  There are many sharks in the world.  If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.

(8) One of the challenges is swimming 2 miles underwater using a depth gauge and a compass to a target.  Once you get to a ship, it blocks the ambient light at night.  To be successful, you must swim under the ship, where the keel and the darkest part of the ship is.  It’s disorienting.  You can fail.  Every SEAL knows at that darkest point you must be most calm and composed using inner strength.  If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moments.

(9) Ninth week of training is known as hell week.  6 days of no sleep … constant mental and physical harassment and one day at the mud flats in Tijuana surviving freezing cold and howling wind.  As the sun began to set, his training class was ordered into the mud.  The mud consumed each man until their heads were the only thing above the mud.  Some students were about to give up… 8 hours more of the bone chilling cold.  One voice began to echo through the night.  The song was terribly out of tune but was enthusiastic… then two voices… then all the voices began to sang.  Suddenly the mud was a little warmer and tamer.  The power of hope… one person… can change everything.  Washington, Lincoln, Malala… If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.

(10) All you have to do to quit in SEAL training is ring the brass bell.  Ring the bell and you no longer have to be in the freezing cold swims.  You no longer have to endure the hardships of training.  If you want to change the world, don’t ever ever ring the bell.

“Start each day with a task completed.  Respect everyone.  Know that life is not fair and you will fail often.  Take some risks.  Step up when times are the toughest.  Face down the bullies.  Lift up the downtrodden.  Never, ever give up.  The next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than we have today.  What started here will have changed the world for the better.”