Jun 022014

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.”

May 312014

“Several times a week, the instructors would line up the class and do a uniform inspection. It was exceptionally thorough.

Your hat had to be perfectly starched, your uniform immaculately pressed and your belt buckle shiny and void of any smudges.

But it seemed that no matter how much effort you put into starching your hat, or pressing your uniform or polishing your belt buckle—- it just wasn’t good enough.

The instructors would find “something” wrong.

For failing the uniform inspection, the student had to run, fully clothed into the surfzone and then, wet from head to toe, roll around on the beach until every part of your body was covered with sand.

The effect was known as a “sugar cookie.” You stayed in that uniform the rest of the day—cold, wet and sandy.”

You are never going to succeed at everything you do.   There will be times where, no matter how well you prepare, no matter how hard you work, you’ll still end up as a sugar cookie.  

And being cold, wet and sandy for the day isn’t any fun.

But that is how life is sometimes.

And if we want to change the world, we need to accept that everything we do is NOT going to change the world.    Things will work and things won’t work.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t stop trying.


May 302014

In  a continuation of the  thoughts of Admiral McRaven in the commencement speech, the second of the top 10 things he learned was that if you want to change the world, you need to find someone to help you paddle.

Think 7 Navy Seals in a small rubber boat off the coast if California in the middle of the night in 8 to 10 ft. waves.   Do you think they are going to have a lot of success if they are all paddling in different directions and at different times?

Nope, they are not.    They need to move and work as a team.

The same thing goes for any effort to change the world.   You need to have someone to help you paddle.    You need to be able to work as a team to effectively change anything.

One person can’t solve a big problem – but if you have other people helping you paddle,  then you can make a difference.

So, find someone who can help you paddle and can help you change the world.   You’ll be glad you did.


May 302014

In a continuation of discussions from the Lessons of a Navy Seal commencement speech, Admiral McRaven lays out a  convincing case that if you want to change the world, you need to make your bed.

What?   Why?

Because it’s important to do the little things well.

Because if you start off your day with something, even a small thing accomplished, you will feel better about your day and will get more accomplished.

Because if you can’t do the little things right, if you won’t do the little things right, can and will you do the big things right?

The act of making the bed is not that terribly important (don’t tell my 13 year old I said that), but the act of making the bed is important in what it says about your day and what it says about how you accomplish things and what you intend to do to change the world.

So, make your bed and then go change the world.

Excuse me while I go make my bed…….

There, now  it’s time to change the world.

Are you in?


May 292014

Navy Admiral William H. McRaven gave the commencement speech at the University of Texas last week.    You can read the entire article here, but I’m going to write about a number of the things he said, because I don’t believe he realized he was addressing the orphan crisis, but he was.  


“That great paragon of analytical rigor, Ask.Com says that the average American will meet 10,000 people in their lifetime.

That’s a lot of folks.

But, if every one of you changed the lives of just ten people—and each one of those folks changed the lives of another ten people—just ten—then in five generations—125 years—the class of 2014 will have changed the lives of 800 million people.

800 million people—think of it—over twice the population of the United States. Go one more generation and you can change the entire population of the world—8 billion people.”

So, think about it, if each of us influences the lives of 10 people and they all make a difference for 10 people and repeat  the process over and over, that is some seriously life changing numbers.

So, don’t ask whether your drop in the bucket will make a difference.

Instead, ask, what 10 people can I make an impact on?

And more importantly, which 10 vulnerable children can I have an impact on?

Want to change the world?   Want to impact the millions of children who need help?    Go get 10 more people involved in helping.

More to come…….