Though I haven't read through or listened to all the commencement speeches from the last couple weeks, I don't imagine there's a better one than that delivered by Admiral William H. McRaven, a Navy Seal and commander of U.S. Special Operations Command. In his recent address at the University of Texas in Austin (of which Adm. McRaven is an alumnus), Adm. McRaven draws upon the experience of Basic SEAL Training to bestow 10 pieces of advice for changing the world. A snippet:
During the land warfare phase of training, the students are flown out to San Clemente Island which lies off the coast of San Diego.Advertisement
The waters off San Clemente are a breeding ground for the great white sharks. To pass SEAL training there are a series of long swims that must be completed. One—is the night swim.
Before the swim the instructors joyfully brief the trainees on all the species of sharks that inhabit the waters off San Clemente.
They assure you, however, that no student has ever been eaten by a shark—at least not recently.
But, you are also taught that if a shark begins to circle your position—stand your ground. Do not swim away. Do not act afraid.
And if the shark, hungry for a midnight snack, darts towards you—then summons up all your strength and punch him in the snout and he will turn and swim away.
There are a lot of sharks in the world. If you hope to complete the swim you will have to deal with them.
So, If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.
I wish every student in college and in high school (and perhaps even younger) would watch or read this address. In fact, it's filled with wisdom for men and women of all ages and all professions.
I encourage you to read or watch the entire speech. Real Clear Politics has the transcript here and you can also watch the address on YouTube. Enjoy.