Quoth McRaven: If you want to change the world…

Admiral William McRaven, who should need no introduction to this audience, spoke at the commencement ceremony for the University of Texas this year; he himself was a Longhorn and was commissioned from the NROTC program there in 1977, so, like us, he had the grim experience of the Carter era tempered by the positive experience of Vietnam-vet mentorship. He spoke to over 8,000 graduates (we knew they did things big in the Lone Star State, but we had no idea, given our history with a bunch of little colleges nobody famous ever came from).

Personally, we’ve seen him speak extemporaneously, and he’s more powerful and effective than he is with this prepared speech. It’s about 20 minutes long; we have his ten lessons from SEAL training for those who want to change the world after the video, but they’ll be kind of cryptic without the context in the speech.

  1. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
  2. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.
  3. If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.
  4. If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.
  5. If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.
  6. If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.
  7. If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.
  8. If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment.
  9. If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.
  10. If you want to change the world don’t ever ring the bell.

The freshly-graduated Longhorns seem bemused by some of these points.

(We’ve put this in the “SF History and Lore” category, because even though McRaven is a frogman, and their selection and training is just as specialized as their maritime missions and unique history, the essential take-away is the same simple, but hard commitment that will get you through SFAS/SFQC just like BUD/S: don’t quit).

2 thoughts on “Quoth McRaven: If you want to change the world…

  1. "Greg"

    I haven’t watched the youtube yet (although unlike many other video links, I hope to watch this one soon) thanks for the link! and then a questiong crossed my mind that I was going to ask (if you happened to know if Adm. McRaven might be either a candidate or recipient of the “bullfrog” title) but thanks to google, I am happy to type that Adm. McRaven currently CO-holds the title as the 15th bullfrog, along with Cmdr. Brian Sebenaler as of Aug 22, 2011 (in case you didn’t know, although maybe you did?)

  2. Stefan van der Borght

    Another interesting factoid learned (I had to look up Bullfrog to see what it meant). I love this blog and the opportunity to look over your shoulders into a circle I’m not privileged to be a part of.

    “The “Bull Frog” title recognizes the active duty Underwater Demolition Team (UDT)/SEAL operator with the greatest amount of cumulative service following completion of UDT Replacement Accession or Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training, regardless of rank.”

    (Plagiarised from http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=62407)

    I wonder what song they sang in that freezing mud?

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