Life Lessons from a Seal

In 2014, Admiral McRaven gave the University of Austin commencement address. I thought it would be worth summarizing his ten points.

Below, I summarize the speech, but the content is worth the full viewing. The goal is to make someone who can lead in an environment constantly filled with stress, chaos, failure and hardships. My summary is pale compared to his delivery.

  1. Make Your Bed: Have an early, easy success, and encourage you to go on…and that the little things in life matter.
  2. Find Someone to Paddle With: You can’t change the world without help. You need friends, colleagues and a strong coxswain to guide you.
  3. Measure by the size of the heart, not by the size of the flippers: Drive and Commitment is a great equalizer…your will to succeed.
  4. Get Over Being a Sugar Cookie: Accept that you won’t always succeed, no matter how hard you prepare for perform.
  5. Embrace the Circuses: You will fail and often, and be discouraged. But, if you are going to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.
  6. Go Head First: Sometimes you have to take the risk and face failure or death.
  7. Fight the Sharks: There will always be things that fear or bully you. Take them on.
  8. Embrace the Darkness: The heart of your objective is the darkest part of the mission, when you must be calm and composed. If you want to change the world, be your best in the darkest moment.
  9. Power of Hope: Change the world by giving hope. Start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.
  10. Don’t Ring the Bell: Ringing the Bell means just giving up to save yourself.