The 10 Commandments for Changing the World

Wise Words from Admiral William H. McRaven

“What starts here, changes the world” is the slogan of the University of Texas. It was featured in the commencement speech by Admiral William H. McRaven. He believes that it doesn’t take much to change the world. It only requires one person to change the lives of 10 other people, who will, in turn, pay it forward. The recurring effect of one decision taken by a single individual can impact and change the lives of generations.

Here are McRaven’s 10 commandments for changing the world, inspired by his time served in the Navy.

The 10 Commandments for Changing the World

1. Make Your Bed in the Morning

Hooray! You’ve already accomplished something. This gives you the pride and motivation to keep going for the rest of the day. If we fail to accomplish the little things in life, it’s much harder to get to the big things. And even if you have a bad day, at night you can slip into a comfortable well-made bed, giving you the rest and rejuvenation to try again the next day.

2. Find Someone to Help You Paddle

We need the help of friends, colleagues, and strangers because you can’t change the world all by yourself.

3. Measure Someone by the Size of their Heart, not the Size of Their Flippers

Don’t judge someone by their education, social status, or background. What matters is a person’s will to succeed.

4. Get Over Being Perfect

Nothing will ever be good enough. There is no such thing as a perfectly starched uniform. Just keep moving forward.

5. Do Not be Afraid of Circuses

In training, “a circus was two hours of additional callisthenics designed to wear you down, to break your spirit, to force you to quit.” We will often fail in life. It will be painful and discouraging, but it will build your inner strength.

6. Slide Down Obstacles Head First

We must take chances and risks, even if it seems foolish and dangerous. Come up with new strategies and techniques that no one has thought of or implemented.

7. Never Back Down from Sharks

There are a lot of sharks out there, but in order not to be eaten by them and complete the swim, you must be grounded and not give in.

8. Never Back Down from Sharks

When your tactical skills, physical power, and inner strength have failed you, you need and must be calm, and composed.

9. Believe in Hope and the Power of One Person

One person giving others hope can keep heads above the mud. With the power of all united, the mud will seem a little warmer and the wind a little tamer. But it all starts with hope and one voice — that’s leadership.

10. Don’t Ever Give Up

If you do these things, the following generation will live in a better world than the one we have today. But you must start.


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Darnell Toth
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