February 5, 2015 by Brian
Admiral William McRaven gave the commencement address to the graduating class at University of Texas. Titled “Life Lessons From A Navy Seal,” he takes the six months of basic seal training and uses it as a guide for successful living.
The University slogan is “what starts here changes the world.” So, he says, if you want to change the world:
- Make your bed
- Find someone to help you paddle
- Judge people by the size of their hearts, not the size of their flippers
- Get over being a sugar cookie
- Don’t be afraid of the circuses
- Face obstacles headfirst
- Be your best in the darkest times
- Don’t back down from the sharks
- Start singing when you are up to your neck in mud
- Never ring the bell
It’s one of the best videos on the internet, and is perfect for watching with your family and especially your teenage and college age kids. Check it out here.
There are a number of guys in our group who are ex-military and this video really resonated with them. A couple other guys said that the challenge of basic training is not the only way to learn these lessons and that many of these things can/will be experienced any time you set out to accomplish something that seems impossible at first.
In the example of “Find Someone to Help You Paddle,” we extracted the additional truth of making sure you have a strong guide. It’s no good to paddle with people who don’t really give it their all, or are going a different direction than you. Get linked up with people who have the same life mission.
I think we all thought the sugar cookie example is a perfect way to explain to our kids that life isn’t fair. It is particularly important with this new generation – who are growing up in a society that is completely lying to them about the fairness of life – that they understand how to respond when you are the sugar cookie.
And, like Admiral McRaven, we all agreed that there is nothing more powerful in life than having hope. And that is something each of us can do for each other.
In the end, many guys committed to making their bed the next day. A lot did, and posted the pictures on facebook. The wives were totally confused, but were appreciative!