If you want to change the world start with this blueprint…

Admiral McKraven

Years ago, I watched Admiral William H. McKraven’s 2014 commencement speech at his alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin.  The speech is frequently known as the ‘Make Your Bed’ speech.  You may have seen an ad for it on one of your search engines, something like “Admiral William H. McKraven Leaves Audience SPEECHLESS.”  As of an hour ago when I last checked YouTube, 12,642,565 people have watched that speech.  I hope you are one of them.

Yesterday, I applied for a local library card.  As I searched the library’s website, I noted that in 2017, Admiral McKraven had published a book, Make Your Bed based on his 2014 commencement address.  It was available as an audiobook narrated by the Admiral.  I spent 90 well-invested minutes listening to it.  Well before it was finished, I paused to send a text message to my four children encouraging them to listen to it with their spouses and children.  When the audiobook concluded, I immediately ordered a hard copy for myself; I prefer to hold books in my hands.

In his speech – amplified in the book – Admiral McKraven presents 10 principles that have helped him overcome challenges and that can help anyone change himself – and the world – for the better.

As a Navy SEAL four-star admiral who served as the ninth commander of the United States Special Operations Command from August 8, 2011 to August 28, 2014, Admiral McKraven gives us a taste of those ‘challenges’ he faced in his book.

Each chapter opens with these words, “If you want to change the world…”  As we’ve stated from the first day we opened this website, our objective is to make the world a better place to be.  With that objective in mind, we would be remiss in not encouraging our readers to read or listen to Admiral McKraven’s book.  It is that important.

Admiral McKraven’s 10 principles include

  1. Make your bed…
  2. You can’t go it alone…
  3. Only the size of your heart matters…
  4. Life’s not fair…
  5. Failure can make you stronger…
  6. You must dare greatly…
  7. Stand up to the bullies…
  8. Rise to the occasion…
  9. Give people hope…
  10. Never ever quit…

In each chapter, Admiral McKraven offers a story from his SEAL training and complements it with a story from one of the many combat theaters he served in.

The fact that 12,642,565 people have watched his commencement speech on YouTube sounds like a big number.  The fact is, that is less than 4% of the population of the United States and less than 2 tenths of a percent of the world population.  I point that out because I am convinced that his message is life-changing and I want to increase those numbers.

I’ve included the YouTube video at the end of the post to give you an opportunity to watch it if you have not.  As well, here is a link to his book Make Your Bed.  If you haven’t read it – or listened to it – you should.  It can help us all make the world a better place to be.

Mitakuye Oyasin

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  1. Geno, I concur. When I first read it in 2017, I bought a copy for each of our kids and a copy for each of our employees at the home office. It should be on the reading list for high schools and colleges. Hope all is well! R/Joe May