I’M JUST CURIOUS: If you want to change the world, make your bed

by Debbie Walker

My son-in-law comes up with some remarkably interesting topics on the internet and fortunately for me, he shares with me. Recently he was listening to a commencement address given by Admiral William McRaven to the 2014 University of Texas-Austin’s graduates. You can find this speech on YouTube on your computer. Look for “Make Your Bed.” It is worth your time to find and listen to it. He is an impressive speaker and has a real command over paraphrases to pass on his easy to understand instructions for a positive, promising future.

After 36 years as a Navy SEAL, he stresses he learned the following principles while in training for six months. He said it was “six months of torturous runs in the soft sand, midnight swims in cold water, obstacle courses, unending calisthenics, days without sleep and always being cold, wet and miserable.” The trainers were seeking and eliminating the weak of mind and body from becoming a Navy SEAL.

Admiral McRaven started with his important points to use for the rest of their lives:

  1. If you want to change the world, start off each day by making your bed. It is a simple task, but important in your daily life to realize if you can’t do the little things right; you will never do the big things right.
  2. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle. You cannot change the world alone; you will need some help. It is going to take friends, colleagues and the good will of strangers.
  3. If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart. SEAL training was a great equalizer. It is your will to survive, not your color, ethnic background, education or social status.
  4. If you want to change the world get over being a “sugar cookie” and keep moving forward. For failing the uniform inspection, students had to run fully clothed into the surf zone and then, wet from head to toe, roll around on the beach until every part of their body is covered with sand. Being “sugar cookied” would last the rest of day.
  5. If you want to change the world, do not be afraid of the circuses. If you failed any of the challenging physical training at the end of the day you were invited to a “circus.” It was two additional hours of calisthenics.
  6. If you want to change the world sometimes you must slide down the obstacle headfirst. In my words this would break down to succeed, sometimes you must change the way of doing something.
  7. If you want to change the world, do not back down from the sharks. The students are given instructions about their long swim in shark infested waters. The premise being to survive the swim you must not show fear of an approaching shark, meet it fearlessly and punch it in it’s snout.

There are three more points to be made but I am running out of space. Please know I cannot leave the same impression the Admiral makes with his speech. It is worth the ‘listen’ if you can.

I am just curious if I have sparked enough interest for you to look and listen. Contact me at DebbieWalker@townline.org. And thank you Edgar for your assistance. Have a great week!


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