In 2014, Naval Admiral William H. McRaven, a former United States Navy Admiral, returned to his university and spoke to graduates about life lessons he learnt from the strenuous basic SEAL training.
The United States Navy SEAL (SEAL stands for SEA, Air and Land teams), are an advanced section of the US military and arguably one of the finest and well trained military forces in the world.
They are notably known for a clandestine raid it conducted on May 1, 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan that killed popular terrorist Osama Bin Laden.
It was an in-depth speech by the respected Admiral which relates to every department of our lives
Naijaloaded highlights the most important takeaways from his speech that Nigerians can use every day.
1. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed
Mundane as it may sound, making our bed is the most important duty every morning that many Nigerians take for granted.
“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”
“Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”
“If you can’t do the little things right, you can never do the big things right”- William H
Maybe if we can sort out the simple, boring task of making our bed every morning, we can sort out our complex life issues too.
2. You have to be your best in your darkest moment
It takes a brave man to be a SEAL. Some of the SEAL training requires them to perform aggressive and extremely hard and dangerous underwater operations.
In his speech, William H talks about how in a “ship attack” training exercise, a pair of SEAL divers are dropped outside an enemy harbor and must swim for over two miles to their target ship without aid tools like depth gauge and a compass.
Approaching the enemy ship, the surrounding environment underwater is dark, and to complete the mission, a SEAL must swim under the ship and locate the keel, the center line, darkest and deepest part of the ship, amid deafening noise from the ship machinery, being calm, composed and using all your tactical skills taught in training is the only way to finish this grueling task.
So in tough times, you must be at your best in your darkest moments.
3. Do not ever ring the bell
In SEAL trainings, a brass bell is placed at the centre of the training complex for every trainee to see for students who are fed up of the exercise and want to quit. It is easy: Ring the bell, drop your helmet on the ground and you’re done. No more demanding tasks and difficult missions.
However, is giving up the solution? A saying goes around in Nigeria that “There’s no food for a lazy man.”
If you want to change the World, don’t ever ring the bell.
“Start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often. Take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up.”
“It matters not your gender, your ethnic or religious background, your orientation, or your social status. Our struggles in this world are similar and the lessons to overcome those struggles and to move forward—changing ourselves and the world around us—will apply equally to all.”
“Changing the world can happen anywhere and anyone can do it.”- William McRaven)
The big question however is, what is our ‘bell’ in life? “Our last breath”
Never ring it!