Head of the Joint U.S. Special Operations Command, he is a 36-year SEAL who has been at the tip of the spear in the war on terror since 2001. He has commanded a squadron in the fabled Naval Special Warfare Development Group, better known as SEAL Team Six, and he oversaw planning and execution of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
He is also the most mysterious and guarded Navy four-star. While Admirals Greenert, Gortney, Locklear, and company frequently appear in the media and before Congress, McRaven shies away from the spotlight. In fact, outside the special operations community, he rose all the way to four-star without attracting much notice until Operation Neptune Spear.
But students at the University of Texas at Austin got a rare treat last weekend when McRaven delivered their commencement speech. McRaven, a 1977 UT grad, riffed on the school’s motto (“What starts here changes the world.”) to deliver the 10 lessons he learned during his SEAL training. Among them: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.”
He closes the speech with the classic SEAL metaphor for failure: ringing the bell. “Don’t ever, ever ring the bell,” he says.
Take some time to watch his address or read the text by clicking here.