Ten Lessons I learned from Admiral William H. McRaven

Ten Lessons I learned from Admiral William H. McRaven

Looking at the little white book bearing the title “MAKE YOUR BED” by Admiral William H. McRaven with capital letters, I felt I could almost hear his voice telling me to actually do my bed, which that morning when I left home…was not made! I bought the book and devoured it in two days gaining valuable lessons that I want to share with you today! It is my personal belief that this little book should accompany every teenager and adult at all times! In moments of wonder, confusion or self-doubt, Admiral William H. McRaven reminds us in a very simple but rather honest and sincere way that “it is the little things that can change your life…and maybe the world.”


Sharing his life experiences during the weeks of SEAL training and the lessons he gained from his SEAL instructors and his team, Admiral William H. McRaven teaches us ten valuable lessons that can change our lives. The reason for this book to be written was his inspiring speech that he gave on May 17th 2014 for the graduating class of the University of Texas in Austin. Follow the link below and you will be able to watch part of his inspiring speech. No matter who you are, reading this book will have an immediate impact on how you deal with the challenges of life.

So, if you want to change the world…

  1. Start off by making your bed… Setting this task to yourself every morning and completing it will have an immediate impact as you will have your first task completed. You will then be able to move to your next task with determination to complete that one as well. And even if one of your days goes bad or not as planned you will always return to a bed to lie down and rest that was made! So the view of that made bed –no matter how your day was will fulfill you with pride about that small but so important accomplishment!
  2. Find someone to help you paddle… None of us are immune from life’s good or bad moments. But like the SEALS collaborate and stand for each other on those rubber boats in the ocean facing high and rough waves, we do as normal humans as well. The SEALS though know that they belong in a team. So make sure you find a good team of people to paddle along. Find someone to share your life with. Make as many friends as possible and never forget that your success depends on others.
  3. Measure the person by the size of their heart… and not by the size of their flip-flops. In the teams of the SEALS there was a team with considerably small in size SEALS. They called them the “munchkin team”. Those “munchkins” though were the ones that outnumbered all the other SEAL teams having the best records in swimming and paddling their rubber boat. When people tell you, you are too small in size to do this, or too immature to do the other just ignore them and try your best to prove them wrong.
  4. Get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward… stop blaming others for your situation by believing that fate and the whole world is against you! Sometimes no matter how hard you try, no matter how good you are, you still end up a sugar cookie. Don’t complain, don’t blame others just stand tall, look what lies ahead and find ways to achieve it! Then drive on and let the past go!
  5. Don’t be afraid of the Circus… What Admiral McRaven taught me is that through every Circus (extra hard training when SEALS fail to reach a standard in specific workouts) you become stronger and one day you stop failing standard day training and your times become much better and you find yourself breaking personal records and achieving more. Why? Because all of those Circuses=Failures have made you stronger every time you stood up and looked them straight in the eye!
  6. Slide down the obstacle headfirst… if you keep going through the safe side of life at everything that you do, you will probably manage well. But if you dare to take risks in life and try your best then that is what will make a huge difference in your life. If you never push to your limits then you will never know what is truly possible in your life!
  7. Don’t back down from the sharks… having to swim in the cold waters of San Clemente knowing that those waters were full of great white sharks, the Admiral never forgot the instructions given to him in his mind: If you get approached by a shark do not lose your stand, stay calm and still in water, do not try to swim away and if the shark attacks you make sure you punch him hard. Sharks are like bullies. In life, find the courage to stand your ground and you will win. Dig deep inside you and that courage will be found in abundance.
  8. Be your very best at the darkest moments… at some point in life we all go through our darkest hours especially when losing a loved one. On those moments reach deep inside yourself and be at your very best. Bring out the pride and the dignity that you carry and show it to the world. Be an example for others to follow.
  9. Start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud... One voice was then heard singing, then the voices became two and then three and then the whole team was singing out of tune besides the threads of the instructors. The mud became warmer and the hours till dawn shorter. Sometimes in moments of despair all it takes is one person to make the difference. Be that person who will lift all others around and will give hope that tomorrow will be a better day.
  10. Don’t ever, ever ring the bell… On the first day of SEAL training the instructor makes sure you see the shiny bell in the middle of the camp that you can always ring it when you feel you cannot take anymore and you need to quit! Refuse to ring the bell! Refuse to give up on your dreams and stand tall and strong against all odds! Life will be what you make of it! Never, ever, ring that bell!


“Remember… start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Life is not fair and you will often fail. But if you take some risks you will step up and you will face the bullies. Never, ever give up! If you do these things, then you can change your life for the better…and maybe the world!” Admiral William H. McRaven


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