Don’t Ever, Ever Ring the Bell

In his remarks at the Commencement Ceremony at the University of Texas at Austin Naval Admiral William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, spoke about the graduates’ responsibility in changing the world “Changing the world can happen anywhere and anyone can do it.”

He shares the ten lessons he learned from basic SEAL training that he hopes would be of value as they proceed on their life’s journey and  concludes with a powerful message about what is needed to change the world: If you want to change the world, never ever give up.  Drawing from the SEAL training experience, he powerfully captures this thought with the following:

In SEAL training there is a bell.  A brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see.

All you have to do to quit—is ring the bell.  Ring the bell and you no longer have to wake up at 5 o’clock.  Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the freezing cold swims. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the PT—and you no longer have to endure the hardships of training.

Just ring the bell.

If you want to change the world, never ever give up. Don’t ever, ever ring the bell.

Great leaders never give up… never ever.  Regardless of the challenge, the pain, the demands, regardless of anything, they know their purpose and mission As Marie Curie wrote:  “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” Great leaders persevere…they will be more than they ever dreamed they could be… and more… so much more.

Admiral McRaven’s ten lessons:

  • If you want to change the world, start each day with a task completed – This gives you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.
  • If you want to change the world, find someone to help you through life.
  • If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart – Nothing matters but your will to succeed.  Not your color, not your ethnic background, not your education and not your social status).
  • If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward – Realize that sometimes no matter how hard you try, you will not succeed.
  • If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses – The challenges of life that will test you, cause you to weaken but teach you to be stronger.
  • If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first – Be daring, go out of your comfort zone, be creative and innovative.
  • If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks – Step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden.
  • If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment.
  • If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud – One person can change the world by giving people hope.
  • If you want to change the world, never ever give up. 
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