Don’t Ring The Bell

One final thought from Admiral McRaven’s commencement speech.    There is a tradition in Navy Seal training that there is a big brass bell in the center of the compound.   If you want to quit, you  have to go ring the bell.   You have to go and effectively stand in front of all of your fellow Seal trainees and say, with a very loud ring of the bell, “I quit, I can’t do it.”

If you want to change the world, don’t ever ever ring the bell.   Don’t give up.   You’ll be the sugar cookie, you’ll fail, you’ll be tired, you’ll mess up, you won’t work as well with the team as you should.

But don’t ever ever ever give up.    Because there are countless people who need you and need me to keep on going.

That reminds me of a commencement speech that Sir Winston Churchill gave shortly after WWII.   He came over to the United States and spoke at the commencement of one of the big Ivy League colleges.

When it was time for him to speak, he stood up and said,

“Don’t ever, ever, ever give up.”

And then he sat down.   Finished.    The audience was stunned.

Until they realized what had just happened.  The man who had almost single handedly kept Britain from falling into the hands of the Germans, the man who kept London from falling into enemy hands during the darkest days of the war, his advice was advice that he had listened to as well.

“Don’t ever, ever, ever give up.”

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