Admiral William McRaven (Ret) gave the commencement address to the graduating class of University of Texas, Austin in 2014. He shared 10 simple lessons he learned during his time as a Navy SEAL. The lessons he shared are simple, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy. It takes discipline and applied daily, they can change your life…and maybe the world.
He received so many positive comments from his speech that he decided to write the lessons down in a small compact book: Make Your Bed. Obviously, making it through SEAL training means a lot. It’s physically challenging, but like any elite training in the military, the goal is to test your mental resilience. They want you to quit. They want the ones that are left to truly be elite soldiers. So, take these lessons to heart. They’re valuable and will heighten your mental game.
- Start your day with a task completed: If you want to change the world, start of by making your bed. Completing a small task demonstrates your attentiveness, your follow through, your discipline. Little things matter. If you don’t have the discipline to make your bed, neatly…what bigger challenges are you also ignoring?
- You can’t go it alone: If you want to change the world, find someone to help you. Your ego thinks you’re great, that what you achieved is all due to the work you’ve done. Not true. You can’t do anything without the aid of others. Anything you do now is due to what others have taught you in the past. Therefore, find others to help you Build a support network. They’ll support you; you’ll support them.
- Only the size of your heart matters: If you want to change the world, measure people by the size of their heart, not the size of their achievements. Don’t ask “What do I want from life?” Ask, “What does life ask of me?” The latter question will engage your heart.
- Life’s not fair–Drive on: If you want to change the world, get over life being fair and keep moving forward. Your situation has unique problems, perfectly positioning you to serve the Identify those problems, drive on, and serve.
- Failure can make you stronger: If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of failure. Outcomes are simply information for learning. Identify what you did well and what you still need to learn, and you’ll become stronger.
- You must dare greatly: If you want to change the world, you have to take risks. Identify the risks you want to take, those that interest you, and act.
- Stand up to the bullies: If you want to change the world, don’t back down from people in powerful positions. Stand up to them; deal with them. You’re more powerful than you think.
- Rise to the occasion: If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in your darkest moments. It’s darkest just before the dawn, but it’s also the most difficult. Don’t get distracted by the comfort you experience when it dawns. Stay focused while still in the darkness so you can rise to the occasion.
- Give people hope: If you want to change the world, support others. Inspire others to stay committed, to do the work, and to weather the difficulties.
- Never, ever quit: If you want to change the world, don’t ever, ever quit. Be persistent. If you value the journey, then want to be in it, not at the destination. You’ll get to the destination at some point in the future. Be here now.