I had watched Admiral McRaven’s viral commencement speech on YouTube years ago, but after hearing his book referenced in a couple podcasts and another book I was reading recently, it motivated me to grab a copy and read it.
What is it all about?
The book is a deeper dive into Admiral William H. McRaven’s commencement speech he gave for the 2014 graduating class of University of Texas. He shares 10 life lessons he learned from his Navy Seal Training and his 37-year career as a commanding officer:
Start your day with a task completed
You can’t go at it alone
Only the size of your heart matters
Life’s not fair—drive on!
Failure can make you stronger
You must dare greatly
Stand up to the bullies
Rise to the occasion
Give people hope
Never, ever quit!
The 10 simple lessons encourage you to pursue your goals and improve the world through a combination of individual determination and help from others.
What caused me to pause?
The 10 lessons were surprisingly relatable to everyday life. Few people have experienced the rigors of Seal Training, and even fewer have completed it, yet it was very easy to apply these lessons to normal life’s difficulties. You must accept that life is hard and often unfair, but how you deal with the obstacles makes a huge difference. You need to only focus on what you can control and do it well. As McRaven points out, “If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.”
How will this book change my habits/influence me? This book has given me good perspective on how to handle adversity and shortcomings. You must be able to reflect on what you learned when you did not succeed. In the lesson on using failure to your advantage, McRaven writes, “When you fail, you can cower with defeat and give up, or you can use failure to push yourself harder and grow stronger.”
Add this to your reading list if …
You are looking for a quick read with a powerful message. The book will motivate you to seize the day and tackle the challenges of life head on.