Recently, two cadets from INA had a lifetime opportunity of meeting the man behind planning the attack which killed Osama Bin Laden. US Admiral William McRaven is an alumnus of the University of Texas and is a graduate in journalism. In 2014, he was called upon to deliver a speech to the batch of 2014 in which he gave 10 life lessons from his experience. He has such a vast experience that US Navy operations officers read his book as a part of their course today.
So, when an experienced man gives you life tips, you better take em seriously. Here they are:
- If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed
“If you make your bed every morning, you will have achieved the first task of the day”, and at the end “you would come tired knowing that at least your bed is made”.
- 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 goodwill of strangers, and a strong coxswain to guide you”.
- If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not by the size of their flippers
“Nothing mattered but your will to succeed. Not your colour, not your ethnic background, not your education, 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. It’s just the way life is sometimes.”
- If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses
“Life is full of 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
During training, all of the students were required to complete a 25-piece obstacle course. The most challenging obstacle was the “slide for life”. Combined with a 3-tiered 30-foot tower and a 200-foot long rope, the record for the best time had been untouched for years. Until one of Admiral McRaven’s class members went down head first. It seemed dangerous, foolish, and put the student at risk for injury. Nonetheless, he braved the challenge and cut the record time by half.
- 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, be your very best in the darkest moment
This is a time when you need to be calm. When you must be calm. And composed. “When all your tactical skills, your physical power and all your inner strength must be brought to bear.”
- If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud
“If I have learned anything in my time travelling the world, it is the power of hope. The power of one person. A Washington, a 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
“In SEAL training there is a bell. A brass bell that hangs in the centre 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. Just ring the bell. If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.”
“Changing the world can happen anywhere and anyone can do it.” Watch his full graduation speech here: