Adm. McRaven Urges Graduates to Find Courage to Change the World

May 16, 2014

The following are the remarks by Naval Adm. William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, at the University-wide Commencement at The University of Texas at Austin on May 17:

President Powers, Provost Fenves, Deans, members of the faculty, family and friends and most importantly, the class of 2014.  Congratulations on your achievement.

It’s been almost 37 years to the day that I graduated from UT.

I remember a lot of things about that day.

I remember I had throbbing headache from a party the night before.  I remember I had a serious girlfriend, whom I later married—that’s important to remember by the way—and I remember that I was getting commissioned in the Navy that day.

But of all the things I remember, I don’t have a clue who the commencement speaker was that evening and I certainly don’t remember anything they said.

So…acknowledging that fact—if I can’t make this commencement speech memorable—I will at least try to make it short.

The University’s slogan is,

“What starts here changes the world.”

I have to admit—I kinda like it.

“What starts here changes the world.”

Tonight there are almost 8,000 students graduating from UT.

That great paragon of analytical rigor, Ask.Com says that the average American will meet 10,000 people in their life time.

That’s a lot of folks.

But, if every one of you changed the lives of just ten people—and each one of those folks changed the lives of another ten people—just ten—then in five generations—125 years—the class of 2014 will have changed the lives of 800 million people.

800 million people—think of it—over twice the population of the United States.  Go one more generation and you can change the entire population of the world—8 billion people.

If you think it’s hard to change the lives of ten people—change their lives forever—you’re wrong.

I saw it happen every day in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A young Army officer makes a decision to go left instead of right down a road in Baghdad and the ten soldiers in his squad are saved from close-in ambush.

In Kandahar province, Afghanistan, a non-commissioned officer from the Female Engagement Team senses something isn’t right and directs the infantry platoon away from a 500 pound IED, saving the lives of a dozen soldiers.

But, if you think about it, not only were these soldiers saved by the decisions of one person, but their children yet unborn—were also saved.  And their children’s children—were saved.

Generations were saved by one decision—by one person.

But changing the world can happen anywhere and anyone can do it.

So, what starts here can indeed change the world, but the question is…what will the world look like after you change it?

Well, I am confident that it will look much, much better, but if you will humor this old sailor for just a moment, I have a few suggestions that may help you on your way to a better a world.

And while these lessons were learned during my time in the military, I can assure you that it matters not whether you ever served a day in uniform.

It matters not your gender, your ethnic or religious background, your orientation, or your social status.

Our struggles in this world are similar and the lessons to overcome those struggles and to move forward—changing ourselves and the world around us—will apply equally to all.

I have been a Navy SEAL for 36 years.  But it all began when I left UT for Basic SEAL training in Coronado, California.

Basic SEAL training is six months of long torturous runs in the soft sand, midnight swims in the cold water off San Diego, obstacles courses, unending calisthenics, days without sleep and always being cold, wet and miserable.

It is six months of being constantly harassed by professionally trained warriors who seek to find the weak of mind and body and eliminate them from ever becoming a Navy SEAL.

But, the training also seeks to find those students who can lead in an environment of constant stress, chaos, failure and hardships.

To me basic SEAL training was a life time of challenges crammed into six months.

So, here are the ten lesson’s I learned from basic SEAL training that hopefully will be of value to you as you move forward in life.

Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Vietnam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed.

If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack—rack—that’s Navy talk for bed.

It was a simple task—mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection.  It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle hardened SEALs—but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.

If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day.  It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.

By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.

If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

During SEAL training the students are broken down into boat crews.  Each crew is seven students—three on each side of a small rubber boat and one coxswain to help guide the dingy.

Every day your boat crew forms up on the beach and is instructed to get through the surfzone and paddle several miles down the coast.

In the winter, the surf off San Diego can get to be 8 to 10 feet high and it is exceedingly difficult to paddle through the plunging surf unless everyone digs in.

Every paddle must be synchronized to the stroke count of the coxswain.  Everyone must exert equal effort or the boat will turn against the wave and be unceremoniously tossed back on the beach.

For the boat to make it to its destination, everyone must paddle.

You can’t change the world alone—you will need some help— and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the good will of strangers and a strong coxswain to guide them.

If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.

Over a few weeks of difficult training my SEAL class which started with 150 men was down to just 35.  There were now six boat crews of seven men each.

I was in the boat with the tall guys, but the best boat crew we had was made up of the the little guys—the munchkin crew we called them—no one was over about 5-foot five.

The munchkin boat crew had one American Indian, one African American, one Polish American, one Greek American, one Italian American, and two tough kids from the mid-west.

They out paddled, out-ran, and out swam all the other boat crews.

The big men in the other boat crews would always make good natured fun of the tiny little flippers the munchkins put on their tiny little feet prior to every swim.

But somehow these little guys, from every corner of the Nation and the world, always had the last laugh— swimming faster than everyone and reaching the shore long before the rest of us.

SEAL training was a great equalizer.  Nothing mattered 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, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.

Several times a week, the instructors would line up the class and do a uniform inspection.  It was exceptionally thorough.

Your hat had to be perfectly starched, your uniform immaculately pressed and your belt buckle shiny and void of any smudges.

But it seemed that no matter how much effort you put into starching your hat, or pressing your uniform or polishing your belt buckle—- it just wasn’t good enough.

The instructors would fine “something” wrong.

For failing the uniform inspection, the student had to run, fully clothed into the surfzone and then, wet from head to toe, roll around on the beach until every part of your body was covered with sand.

The effect was known as a “sugar cookie.” You stayed in that uniform the rest of the day—cold, wet and sandy.

There were many a student who just couldn’t accept the fact that all their effort was in vain.  That no matter how hard they tried to get the uniform right—it was unappreciated.

Those students didn’t make it through training.

Those students didn’t understand the purpose of the drill.  You were never going to succeed.  You were never going to have a perfect uniform.

Sometimes no matter how well you prepare or how well you perform you still end up as a sugar cookie.

It’s just the way life is sometimes.

If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.

Every day during training you were challenged with multiple physical events—long runs, long swims, obstacle courses, hours of calisthenics—something designed to test your mettle.

Every event had standards—times you had to meet.  If you failed to meet those standards your name was posted on a list and at the end of the day those on the list were invited to—a “circus.”

A circus was two hours of additional calisthenics—designed to wear you down, to break your spirit, to force you to quit.

No one wanted a circus.

A circus meant that for that day you didn’t measure up.  A circus meant more fatigue—and more fatigue meant that the following day would be more difficult—and more circuses were likely.

But at some time during SEAL training, everyone—everyone—made the circus list.

But an interesting thing happened to those who were constantly on the list.  Overtime those students-—who did two hours of extra calisthenics—got stronger and stronger.

The pain of the circuses built inner strength-built physical resiliency.

Life is filled with circuses.

You will fail.  You will likely fail often.  It will be painful.  It will be discouraging. At times it will test you to your very core.

But if you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.

At least twice a week, the trainees were required to run the obstacle course.  The obstacle course contained 25 obstacles including a 10-foot high wall, a 30-foot cargo net, and a barbed wire crawl to name a few.

But the most challenging obstacle was the slide for life.  It had a three level 30 foot tower at one end and a one level tower at the other.  In between was a 200-foot long rope.

You had to climb the three tiered tower and once at the top, you grabbed the rope, swung underneath the rope and pulled yourself hand over hand until you got to the other end.

The record for the obstacle course had stood for years when my class began training in 1977.

The record seemed unbeatable, until one day, a student decided to go down the slide for life—head first.

Instead of swinging his body underneath the rope and inching his way down, he bravely mounted the TOP of the rope and thrust himself forward.

It was a dangerous move—seemingly foolish, and fraught with risk.  Failure could mean injury and being dropped from the training.

Without hesitation—the student slid down the rope—perilously fast, instead of several minutes, it only took him half that time and by the end of the course he had broken the record.

If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.

During the land warfare phase of training, the students are flown out to San Clemente Island which lies off the coast of San Diego.

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.

As Navy SEALs one of our jobs is to conduct underwater attacks against enemy shipping.  We practiced this technique extensively during basic training.

The ship attack mission is where a pair of SEAL divers is dropped off outside an enemy harbor and then swims well over two miles—underwater—using nothing but a depth gauge and a compass to get to their target.

During the entire swim, even well below the surface there is some light that comes through.  It is comforting to know that there is open water above you.

But as you approach the ship, which is tied to a pier, the light begins to fade. The steel structure of the ship blocks the moonlight—it blocks the surrounding street lamps—it blocks all ambient light.

To be successful in your mission, you have to swim under the ship and find the keel—the centerline and the deepest part of the ship.

This is your objective.  But the keel is also the darkest part of the ship—where you cannot see your hand in front of your face, where the noise from the ship’s machinery is deafening and where it is easy to get disoriented and fail.

Every SEAL knows that under the keel, at the darkest moment of the mission—is the time when you must be calm, composed—when all your tactical skills, your physical power and all your inner strength must be brought to bear.

If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment.

The ninth week of training is referred to as “Hell Week.”  It is six days of no sleep, constant physical and mental harassment and—one special day at the Mud Flats—the Mud Flats are area between San Diego and Tijuana where the water runs off and creates the Tijuana slue’s—a swampy patch of terrain where the mud will engulf you.

It is on Wednesday of Hell Week that you paddle down to the mud flats and spend the next 15 hours trying to survive the freezing cold mud, the howling wind and the incessant pressure to quit from the instructors.

As the sun began to set that Wednesday evening, my training class, having committed some “egregious infraction of the rules” was ordered into the mud.

The mud consumed each man till there was nothing visible but our heads.  The instructors told us we could leave the mud if only five men would quit—just five men and we could get out of the oppressive cold.

Looking around the mud flat it was apparent that some students were about to give up.  It was still over eight hours till the sun came up—eight more hours of bone chilling cold.

The chattering teeth and shivering moans of the trainees were so loud it was hard to hear anything and then, one voice began to echo through the night—one voice raised in song.

The song was terribly out of tune, but sung with great enthusiasm.

One voice became two and two became three and before long everyone in the class was singing.

We knew that if one man could rise above the misery then others could as well.

The instructors threatened us with more time in the mud if we kept up the singing—but the singing persisted.

And somehow—the mud seemed a little warmer, the wind a little tamer and the dawn not so far away.

If I have learned anything in my time traveling the world, it is the power of hope.  The power of one person—Washington, Lincoln, King, Mandela and even a young girl from Pakistan—Malala—one person can change the world by giving people hope.

So, if you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.

Finally, 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 don’t ever, ever ring the bell.

To the graduating class of 2014, you are moments away from graduating.  Moments away from beginning your journey through life.  Moments away starting to change the world—for the better.

It will not be easy.

But, YOU are the class of 2014—the class that can affect the lives of 800 million people in the next century.

Start each day with a task completed.

Find someone to help you through life.

Respect everyone.

Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often, but if take you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up—if you do these things, then next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today and—what started here will indeed have changed the world—for the better.

Thank you very much.  Hook 'em horns.

For more information, contact: University Communications, Office of the President, 512 471 3151.

186 Comments to "Adm. McRaven Urges Graduates to Find Courage to Change the World"

1.  Jim Davidson said on May 18, 2014

Wonderful thoughts from a very impressive man. I'm proud to be the father of a 2014 graduate of UT & I wish for nothing more than for her to heed Adm. McRaven's words of encouragement. Thank you Adm. for all you do. God bless the USA...& hook um horns !!!

2.  Alex Pena said on May 18, 2014

Excellent speech. What Adm. McRaven has given all of us is a guide to live our lives the right way and advises everyone that it's the little things in life that matter. Thank you Adm. McRaven and thank you UT.

3.  Sheila said on May 18, 2014

Go 'horns!

4.  Elizabeth Rush said on May 18, 2014

This was the most moving, motivating commencement speech I've ever heard. Thank you, Adm. McRaven for making my daughter's graduation, and the 7 year anniversary of my commencement from my master's degree so memorable. My son is about to begin college, and you said everything I want him to live by... and all of us have agreed to never ring the bell.

5.  Robert schmidt said on May 18, 2014

Every young man should read this. It gives the basic ideas for life's challenges. I would love to have a video of this.

6.  Martin Y said on May 18, 2014

Thank you Admiral McRaven for your service and for making the time to present such a too-the-point commencement address. Life may be hard but it is simple. As the father of a graduate, I hope he heard your message as clearly as I did. I hope your ten points will help him change the world.

7.  Jeff Murray said on May 19, 2014

This speech was the most awesome, on-target, symbolic speech portraying real life challenges that I have ever heard! You could have heard a pin drop! Every student, parent, and faculty member was listening! Great Job!

8.  C. Uribe , Brownsville,Tx said on May 19, 2014

Impressive speech by Admiral McRaven ! As a parent of a 2014 graduate I am honored to have been able to listen to this motivating, moving speech. Thank you Admiral for your life's tips and for your service to this great nation ! Hook em !

9.  JD Davison said on May 19, 2014

One of the first things I told me son before he took off for college was, "Don't let college get in the way of your education." Every day is an opportunity to learn, to grow, to discover something new. The life-lessons that Admiral McRaven shared with us all on commencement eloquently put so much of what we all need to remember in focus.

In my son's four years at UT, I've seen him grow far beyond the physical sense. Thank you, UT for all you taught him both in and out of the classroom.

As an out-of-stater I'd like to say I'm proud to be a Texan by proxy (don't 4 years of tuition count, ha). The hospitality, the warmth of friendship, and the love to live life to the fullest is embodied in so many people he met there.

Adm. McRaven represents the better parts of us all. Thank you for your devotion and service to our country. You've established a very high bar to attain, but thanks for setting it.

10.  Pam Gaskin said on May 19, 2014

My husband and I watched the commencement on LHN. I am a 1969 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts. I have attended numerous commencements over the years but this address by Admiral McRaven was absolutely at the top of the charts. Thank you for your service and thank you for advice that I wish I had heard almost 50 years ago.

11.  Jim Fields said on May 19, 2014

As a UT grad and Naval officer commissioned through UT's ROTC program 25 years ago, it was with incredible pride I watched this speech on the Longhorn network. His words are for everyone and certainly not only those going into military service. I am biased but it was a speech I will not forget and I would imagine the folks sitting in front of him felt the same way. Adm McRaven is an example of the very best that our great university produces. Hook 'em!

12.  Bruce Levine said on May 19, 2014

It is my hope that Admiral McRaven has the opportunity to read these comments. First let me thank you for your service to our country. You are a true inspiration. My daughter was in the audience as a new graduate and without a doubt, your speech on May 17, were the words of a leader. To share your insights as a comparison to the S.E.A.L. program was indeed both thought provoking and inspirational. It was a sincere privilege to hear your passion and guidance to these new recruits-I am sure after listening to you-NO ONE WILL RING THE BELL!!!
Hook'em Horns.

13.  Carlos Canales said on May 19, 2014

I hope someone please put's his speech on youtube so I can show it to my high school students. Amazing speech. Very proud to watch my sister graduate form UT.

14.  Debra Rue said on May 20, 2014

As the mother of a UT newly graduated 2014 son and the wife of a UT Longhorn, I am proud to have witnessed the spellbinding address by Admiral McRaven. I am a Choral Music teacher who has participated in 25+ graduations and this one was super special. The entire evening was joyous and filled with hope - everyone was singing!

15.  Socrates Ibanez said on May 20, 2014

A very Powerful and Thought-provoking speech. Thank you Adm. McRaven for those inspiring words.

16.  Rick Niles said on May 20, 2014

I am sorry, but I am not impressed by this symphony of egregious platitudes.

17.  Eileen said on May 20, 2014


18.  Beth Gerdes said on May 20, 2014

Many thanks for such a moving commencement address, Admiral McRaven. Congratulations to the University of Texas Class of 2014! Hook 'Em, Horns!

19.  Christina Benavides said on May 20, 2014

I am the mother of a 2014 graduate. My family including my daughter, the grad, were absolutely impressed by Admiral McRaven's speech. I felt honored to hear it and am hoping that I can heed these words of advice. Thankful that I was able to hear those words and even more thankful my daughter was able to hear them before going out into the world to change it! Admiral McRaven thanks for your service! and Hook 'em!

20.  Amanda Lambert said on May 20, 2014

This is the commencement address I wish I had received. Thank you, sir, and hook 'em.
C/O 2003, UTNROTC alum

21.  Eric Krueger said on May 20, 2014

Admiral McRaven's commencement speech is spot on because all of us had failures and successes. I agree with his adage that all of us can change the world by reaching out to one person at a time. Don't ring the bell is a maxim to live. I'm a Navy veteran and proud of my service.Thank you Adm. McRaven for 36 years of service.
Don't ring the bell.

22.  William J. Harper, Jr. said on May 20, 2014

Thank you Admiral McRaven for the encouraging words and great advice for a better outlook on life. Like my father always tells me, "it's the little things that count, you have to roll with the punches, and if a man beats you thinking, he beats you living." Here again in your speech, these pieces of wisdom ring out loudly to me. Yesterday marked 4 years in the Navy for me and I am happy and greatly honored to be able to listen to your speech for words of encouragement. Thanks again.

23.  Robert Venema said on May 20, 2014

Admiral McRaven,
Sir - well said, excellent words for all to live by.
Bravo Zulu
Semper Fidelis,
Robert Venema
Major USMC (Ret.)

24.  Cliff Snyder said on May 20, 2014

My wife & I, with our third generation Longhorn daughter in all her regalia, heard your superb address this past Saturday. The lessons you noted have been passed through our family for at least three generations as well. You spoke words of humility, pride, persistence, passion and personal discipline that will continue to ring true for many generations to come. I thank you most humbly (now I have to get a Kleenex to wipe the tears).

25.  Vince Yauger said on May 20, 2014

Outstanding advice to Longhorns even this Class of '85 Aggie can appreciate! Thank you for your service and giving back to a great school (and employer)...

26.  Brondell said on May 20, 2014

When this speech turned toward the pointless and horrific events that occurred in Afghanistan as if they had any meaning to a productive private citizen, it reminded me of Walter Sobchek's classic speech having to do with his traumatic Vietnam experience.

27.  Elijah Chai said on May 20, 2014

This is incredibly wise, passionate, and heartwarming. The rest of the world, and humanity, is watching.

28.  Praween Gulati said on May 20, 2014

I am a father of a graduate 2014 . The message of Admiral McRaven is absolutely impressive and motivating not only for the graduates but for everyone .Its a pleasure and honour for me and my family who travelled from India to attend the commencement ceremony of our daughter to be here on this day and hear such an awesome speech .We are really greatful and thankful .TRUE , EVERYONE SHOULD START SINGING !!!!

29.  Donna Rode said on May 21, 2014

My son wasn't in this class, nor did he attend UT. He is currently serving in AK and his commander forwarded this to his turn, my son forwarded it to me. I too wish I had had the honor of hearing this speech 50 years ago - but, it hasn't come too late. I will never ring the bell. Thank you for your service, your dedication and you spirit Adm. McRaven.

30.  Lineth veilleux said on May 21, 2014

Thank you for your beautiful words! We need people like you talking to young people everyday instead of the garbage that TV programs show. Your words come from life living experience, not from cheap tv programs.
God bless every day of your life.
You are already changing many lives.

31.  Lester Williamson said on May 21, 2014

This is the best commencement speech that I have heard. I am going to print this out so that my four kids can read this. My boys have already graduated high school. and are beginning their careers. My daughter will be a senior in high school next year and plans on joining Navy after college to continue her medical training as she wants to be a doctor. She could really use Adm. McRaven's words of encouragement to help her when things get overwhelming in college.

32.  Dee Darrett said on May 21, 2014

One of the best speeches I have EVER read!! My son who is 16 in the Army JROTC at his high school has great dreams of someday commissioning into the Navy.
I am printing this speech out for him to sit down and really read it and take heed of the advice!

33.  Kent Boam said on May 21, 2014

Sir: What a commencement address I just read. Simply, outstanding. I am Retired from USAF and Viet Nam Veteran and want to thank you for your Service. Excellent.

34.  Keith Bell said on May 21, 2014

I'm a retired Air Force Colonel (and father of a Texas A&M student). I just found this speech on the net -- it's one of the best I've ever read and can't imagine how much better and impressive it would have been in person. Thanks, sir for your continuing service to the nation and, by your words, doing the first task of the day in helping theses grads make a difference in the lives of 800 million. Nice.

35.  Gen. Van Doubleday said on May 21, 2014

Message not lost on me...I joined the Marines at 18, a life saver, got an ROTC commission and eventually spent 5 years as an Air Force major general in the Pentagon. Its all there, take the admiral's advice, and just keep climbing...Van

36.  Michael Bridges said on May 21, 2014

Great speech with awesome life lessons. If Adm. McRaven happens to review, I'm just curious if anyone dropped out from those mud flats or did everyone make it through those 15 hours.
In any case, I'm sure it was very motivational for your fellow SEAL students.

37.  Greg Youmans said on May 21, 2014

Admiral McRaven, Thanks you for your service and for your inspirational and certainly heartfelt words of advice for young men and women as they set out to blaze their trail in life. I am a career Army retiree and recall vividly the life lessons that were driven home with calculated proficiency. Although I didn't realize it at the time, that all but "gentle coaching" changed my life an instilled within me the desire to leave things better than I found them. I am also the proud father of twin boys, one a relatively new Marine (takes after his mother, also a vet.) and the other in his third year at a local Christian College, both of whom inherited our tough love approach to life lessons. I also serve in youth organizations striving to instill in other youth those critical life lessons and will take the liberty to share your inspirational words as opportunities may permit. The ability to bring the vision to life, the power to change the world, is truly inherent within each and every one of us. However, choosing the safe path, rather than fully committing our talents and resources to the process of change, all too often gets in the way of realizing our dreams. Making a difference requires commitment, competence, candor and the courage to take personal risks. Above all else, dedication and perseverance to stay the course. The “big picture” never gets developed if we don’t have the courage to fully expose the film. Thanks again for the lesson.

38.  Rose Burkhart said on May 21, 2014

Those who would subjugate try manipulation to force us to "Ring the Bell". "Give up your beliefs and join ours and we will not harass you, will not torture you, will not maim your children." "Give up the hardship of independence, become a government dependent and you will never have to exert yourself." Admiral McRaven, you give every Earth mortal the formula for freedom, the formula to prosper, to develop potential talents, and the formula to be a good leader and an inspiring mentor. Thank you for the formula to have faith in yourself, to manifest hope into actions, and to respect your neighbor as you then can respect yourself.

39.  Chris Pietras said on May 21, 2014

Admiral - no doubt in my mind that long after they graduate, those now graduates and all of their family and friends, will remember your inspiring words. I wish I could say the same for me more than 30 years after I graduated.

Hoo Yah !

Chris Pietras
Captain, USN retired

40.  Vincent Sordello said on May 21, 2014

Absolutely amazing message delivered by a true patriot and American hero.

41.  Jeremy said on May 22, 2014

Saw a link of this on Facebook. Even for a foreigner who's been through military training in another country, the same things apply. Thank you. Make your bed. Awesome.

42.  Sara Morgan said on May 22, 2014

I am 74 yrs old and your words have resonated with me since I heard them. What excellent advice! I forwarded you speech to all my love ones and told them to Make their Beds! It creates order and accomplishment. Thank you for making my day (year?)

43.  Tom Gaster said on May 22, 2014

I went to The University of Florida, so I'm not a UT grad.

However, I'm glad to see that the UT class of 2014 had this guy deliver a great commencement speech - which is what those kids deserve. Very motivational in many ways.

Unlike the politically motivated BS that some public officials espoused in very recent commencement speeches.

Hook 'em 'horns.

44.  Joane Cole said on May 22, 2014

This was an EXCELLENT SPEECH!!!!

45.  Joanne Hessenauer said on May 22, 2014

My dream & prayer would be that every student &
graduate in these United States of America could hear these inspiring words. They could change America back to what is was meant to be. Lift it up to where it should be today & tomorrow and forever. Thank you Sir.

46.  Victor Smith said on May 22, 2014

Please send Video tape of speaker.

47.  Jodi Dines said on May 22, 2014

We need a President of the United States of America with the wisdom, values and motivation of an Admiral McRaven. Dear God, please send us this person!

48.  sherry jackson said on May 22, 2014

Thank you Admiral McCraven!!! There is just one thing I would like to add to "make your bed"... The first step is to get out of bed!! something that too many of our young people today seem to have great difficulty with. Yes, I'm talking to you "Helicopter Moms & Dads".

49.  FRANK said on May 22, 2014


50.  Jack Neary said on May 22, 2014

USArmy 64/ words are enough to acknowledge all you have meant to our country....your role in the military has set the tone for all to follow...if only our elected leaders could stand so University of Texas...well these times you also set benchmark for others, Rutgers etal to emulate...Thank You

51.  Bob Brigham said on May 22, 2014

God Bless you Admiral McRaven, and the US Navy. Wow, what an inspirational speech. At 55 I doubt the Seals want me, but after hearing your speech, I’m going to be the best damned geriatric I can be. I was almost ready to ring the bell, and thanks to you I now know I can still change some small part of our world as long as I keep trying. You didn’t just help grads today, you helped this old man too. Godspeed…

52.  Joe K. said on May 22, 2014

That's waht a commencement speech should sound like !
Semper Fi !

53.  Bill Bisson said on May 22, 2014

An impressive and uplifting speech. I doubt there are any graduates who will not remember his words.

54.  Arbie D.Woolsey said on May 22, 2014

Just finished a review of General Macarthur speech to West point and this speech by Adrimnal McRaven had the same effect and great respect for this leader who represents the America I love Arbie D.Woolsey RM3
USS Dennis J Buckley DDR-808 1957 to 1961

55.  Sandra Scholl said on May 22, 2014

This was very uplifting. I wish it could be played at every HIGH SCHOOLGRADUATION.

56.  Diane Brosius said on May 22, 2014

Great speech.

57.  Kathleen Dougherty said on May 22, 2014

That was one FANTASTIC speech! Proud of our MILITARY!
That speech should be on EVERY CHANNEL in the U.S.!!!

58.  Joe Alvarez said on May 22, 2014


59.  C. Godby said on May 22, 2014

Admiral, well said. A must see for all, and a code for all to live by. GOD Bless you, and all of our men and women in the U.S. military. Very inspiring. Thank you.

60.  Tom Doorley said on May 22, 2014

Even late in my career the charge not to "ring the bell" stands as good advice. I do not intend to. Thank you Adm. Mcraven

61.  Linda McGuinness said on May 22, 2014

I am speechless, humbled and motivated to be the best I can be everyday. I am sending this message on to a young man who us joining the Marines after graduating himself today. I hope he will be inspired Nduring his training. Thank you.

62.  DIXIE LEE BURNS said on May 22, 2014


63.  Judy Bale said on May 22, 2014

I was so moved by his speech what a truly great man offering so much wisdom of life lessons viewed from the eyes of a Navy Seal, thank you so much it was beautiful.

64.  gary mitchell said on May 22, 2014

Admiral, when I was much younger, my math teacher taught me that 5 time 7 equals 35. There should have only been 5 boat crews left in your training class. When did Hell Week start in the ninth week of training? It used to be in the 5th week. Time for you to get wet, Sir.
Thank you for your service to our country.
FTG3 Mitchell

65.  Johnny Shockley said on May 22, 2014

I just happened across your speech this evening and have to say it should truly be a required instructional asset to every 7 th grader as well every graduating senior in the future for it's inspirational content.
I too had the opportunity to be influenced early in life by two remarkable veterans.
Although I to chose not to pursue a military career I had the great opportunity to receive crucial life long guidance from these two individuals and have been endlessly rewarded in my life as well as my business career as a result of their guidance.
I realized early in life that there was absolutely nothing I could not do if I truly wanted it and as a result I have excelled at so much of what I have challenged!!
The first of these individuals was my dad who served in the Navy in Korea; he never accepted anything less than the very best from his son!
The second was Command Sgt Mg Horace Pearl. He started the JROTC in Griffin GA and I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to trained for three SOLID years under his guidance. He accepted nothing less than 101 % from all of us those three years. Just so happens that he too was a Highly Decorated War Veteran-- served with the 505 G company World War II--82 nd Airborne--6 Combat Jumps during WWII and Korea--awarded 4 Purple Hearts--Silver Star--3 Bronze
stars--and his combat unit received 2 Presidential Unit Citations during WW II. ( I might also add that my closest friend in High School who also trained under SGT MG Pearl now commands Fort Drum in New York --Major General Stephen Townsend.)
You as well as those before you have truly have shared a gift that these students hopefully will never forget.
Thank You Admiral McRaven for this lifelong gift! I will forever be grateful !

66.  Lt.Col. Moncie L. Daniels, Ret said on May 22, 2014

This is the kind of leadership that can only come from one who has faced the enemy and has been victorious! Our nation needs more of these and fewer "community organizers"! Amen, Admiral - God bless you, and God bless America!

67.  Jon G. Troup said on May 22, 2014

Adm. McRaven, thank you for your tremendously motivational message to the graduates of UT. Some of your nature, foundation, spirit, and patriotism needs to be available to all men and women, especially young people. Too many times they are so easily discouraged and too frequently it is because they don't know how to handle life's many hurdles. Thank you for your devotion and commitment to the United States of America. I am a retired secondary Social Studies Teacher and most of my teaching came from novels, documentaries, essays, and textbooks, trying to cover the different focus points from all possible angles. I hope in my 36+ years to have made just a small fraction of the great influence you obviously have left on the minds of the young men and women under your influence and leadership. Thank you Sir,
God Bless...

68.  Barbra said on May 22, 2014

I'm a daughter of a retired Army Colonel. I remember as a 5 yr old to make my bed military style, it seemed to frustrate me that my father was always so strict about doing it correctly, However to this day the first thing I do is make my bed. Thank you dad for your love and service to this Country! Thank you Admiral McRaven:)

69.  Pam Jannise said on May 22, 2014

To #16 Rick Niles: You sir, have rung the bell. Admiral McRaven, Thank You.

70.  RHThornley said on May 22, 2014

A tear, followed by another. Strong words. Beautifully spoken. A path bathed in the light of wisdom. Thank you.

71.  Kathy Lagnese said on May 22, 2014

as the daughter of a Longhorn and a mother to a Navy LT.- THIS is what a commencement speech should be! All the people who protest speakers that they might not necessarily agree with need to listen and maybe learn something from those who believe in hard work! God Bless Texas! and God Bless the United States of America!

72.  william van wormer said on May 22, 2014

I felt that speech was very inspiring for the graduates. All the training and breaking down the recruit and building him to be a navy seal is important, because every thing has a purpose in life and in battle. One thing I didn't read in your speech is the importance of your faith in God in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

73.  James Philpott said on May 22, 2014

What a special guy, and one of the best ever grad speeches! Makes one want to have a Constitutional Amendment that you cannot be a President and Commander in Chief unless having served in the US military with honor!

74.  Karen Lloyd said on May 22, 2014

Thank you for such a wonderful and inspiring speech! I was brought to tears. Thank you also for your service and for being a great role model for our young graduates today.

75.  Chuck Yarling said on May 22, 2014

Thank you, Admiral McRaven, for such an inspiring commencement address to the graduating Class of 2014 at THE University of Texas.

I graduated from UT with degrees in 1968 and 1976. I became a practicing engineer for 25 years and a math school teacher for nine years. As I look back on these two careers, I found I was able to relate to only a couple of your recommendations to "change the world". I wish I the courage to have done more of them.

However, I am now able to give the students I tutor a link to your speech and give them their opportunity do "change the world". I have no doubt that they will do so.

This Vietnam Veteran salutes you for your service and thanks you for such a memorable speech.

Hook 'Em Horns, Admiral.

76.  Ed Anderson said on May 22, 2014

Thank you to UT for having a real leader speak. Thank you Adm. McRaven for letting the class of 2014 know what it means to cross that finish line. Like running a marathon, you never ever ever give up even it you have to crawl across that line.

77.  Larry Braun said on May 23, 2014

Having listened to Adm. McRaven's speech on youtube, and being mesmerized by every word that he had to say, I can only hope and pray that someday, this nation will be led by a person of equal character.

78.  Gitts said on May 23, 2014

Came across this on Facebook, Inspirational and a must share!

79.  Sonja Yeager said on May 23, 2014

This awesome and inspiring message touched my heart and made me realize that even at 77 I can continue to make a positive difference in this world by doing what's right because it's the right thing to do. Yes, indeed, give and receive help, encouragement and hope along the way to your destination and keep your eye on God who is the Coxswain. Thank you for this life-changing message.

80.  Don Miller said on May 23, 2014

UT my thanks for educating this man, and the transcript

This speech needs to be replayed for the arriving freshman class, and refreshed for the graduates.

Wish you could have had this influence earlier in my life, but it will be for my younger family tree. Made me proud to be a Navy brat, and more understanding of Commander Dewayne Miller's influence in my life. A respectful salutes to you both.

81.  Marlene Beaudin said on May 23, 2014

I am in awe of the strength of NAVY SEALS I am proud to be an American, I am thankful to have been born into a family that is military[UNCLES ,brother,and cousins] and proud of our country..WONDERFUL SPEECH AND WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT TO ALL NEVER RING THE BELL!!!

82.  sandra underhill said on May 23, 2014

I have nine grandchildren and am framing this speech for each child. Thank you so very much.

83.  Gean Heidmann said on May 23, 2014

Sir, being part of the answer, not part of the problem in this life is what your words inspire; thank you!
We need this wisdom from our leaders but instead get just the opposite influence, starting with our President.
Adm. McRaven, you have challenged and inspired us to live our lives with purpose and courage and not mediocrity. May God bless our effort to do so.

84.  Jeff Joyce said on May 23, 2014

This is the kind of person we need in leadership positions for our country rather than the politicians that fill Washington, from both parties. Changing the world doesn't happen with legislation, it happens with the intentional, purposeful actions of individuals. Don't ever ring the bell!

85.  Billy Joe Cate said on May 23, 2014

Admiral McRaven I thought that was a great inspiring speech so full of truths.
I write power phrases to help
inspire others. i believe each one has a hint of wisdom in it. I am a retired U S Navy Chief. This why I admire
people like yourself who have set the example and reaching out to all those collage graduates letting them know what to expect and plan for.
This One Of My Power Phrases;
A great team leader focuses on the team's goal.
I believe this is a principle on which winners are sold.

86.  paul hughes said on May 23, 2014

Terrific. Every college in the country should hear this speech. I have 2 sons in the Army one of whom is in Special Operations. I am so proud of them. God bless America and Admiral McRavin for these inspirational words

87.  John Clark said on May 23, 2014

Thank you, Admiral, and thank you, UT, for choosing this outstanding man to deliver a message every new grad should be privileged to hear. Any chance you might be available for high public office, Admiral? We, the people, should be so fortunate.

88.  billkeenan said on May 23, 2014

Courage/ commitment/ concentration/ cooperation/ conditioning/ these C's lead to SEALS

89.  Peter levin said on May 23, 2014

If only 20 percent of these kids follow his advice the world would be a better place....outstanding.

90.  jg spanyer said on May 23, 2014

I served in the USAF and have a very good Marine friend who almost bought the farm in View Nam and I can tell you that even the Marines respect every Navy Seal.

91.  Sig Machi said on May 23, 2014

All the heartfelt emotions and American traditional spirit and ethic has been said by the admiral and endorsed by the legions of Americans who have now either hear or read this commencement adress.

Bravo and salute. Like the vision that Constinine had in an overwhelmingly out manned battle...the vision of "In hoc signo vinces!" (In this sign we shall conquer!") Time to retake the American Ethic....and NEVER RING THE BELL!

92.  Sig Machi said on May 23, 2014

All the heartfelt emotions and American traditional spirit and ethic has been said by the admiral and endorsed by the legions of Americans who have now either hear or read this commencement address.

Bravo and salute. Like the vision that Constinine had in an overwhelmingly out manned battle...the vision of "In hoc signo vinces!" (In this sign we shall conquer!") Time to retake the American Ethic....and NEVER RING THE BELL!

93.  b. scott smith said on May 23, 2014

I coach young men at a high school and Tennessee and I want to thank the Admiral for the moving speech to the graduating class of 2014. Everyday I look for things to inspire me but the players under my care. Awesome speech that is correct in every sense. On this weekend it is so vitally important to keep in mind the dedicated men and women of all the armed forces. Please always know that your sacrifices have never been in vain and your actions keeping us safe are always a source of hope for not only the people of the united states but people everywhere.

94.  Tom Curtis said on May 23, 2014

I am 77 yrs. what a testimony you are to what man can receive from our lord . Fear is not part of your life .God bless you.

95.  Albert Menard said on May 23, 2014

Your country needs you more than ever providing the leadership we so desperately need. Please consider helping us to get straightened out.
Thank you so much for your service.

96.  George McCanse said on May 24, 2014

Almost every day I walked by the Tower and read 'You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.' My question then was 'What is truth?' Thank you Adm. McRaven for sharing these important life principles - they work. Thank you to those who placed the words on the Tower to stress the importance of knowing Truth. Thank you for the May 22 comment above from William van Warmer that provides great context, for more information read John 8:31-32. Reading the rest of John helps too. Thank you God for showing us truth and making it possible to live it. Thank you UT. Go Horns!

97.  Mindy wertheimer said on May 24, 2014

What a powerful, empowering speech!! Never give up!! Thank you Admiral for this gift to our graduates and to their parents as well!! You are. True American Hero!!

98.  Rita Hohmann said on May 24, 2014

As a former Wave (1959-1962) and married to a former Navy UDT Frogman/SEAL (1953-1957), I was so impressed with his speech, especially starting with "making your bed". It recalled the Boot Camp days when it did start with inspection starting with bed, locker and your personal self. Being in the Navy gave me a training for whatever came up in life. GO NAVY!!

99.  TJR hall said on May 24, 2014

Encouraging "Life Lessons" from Admiral McRaven.

To my son currently a Navy Seal who chose to change the World by not 'Ringing that Bell'. God bless you and your team. Luv mom.

100.  Bertrand Dussert said on May 24, 2014

This speech needs to be played for every young person in the US. The Navy SEALs absolutely rock, and their top leader is nothing short of exceptional. Absolutely one of the best commencement speeches of all time.

101.  Ann said on May 24, 2014

What an amazingly inspiring speech... thank you for the words of wisdom to our next generation of leaders!

Ann, UT BBA, 1977

102.  Sheila said on May 24, 2014

McRaven with his brass hat, chest full of medals, should have been "uninvited" The speech was juvenile.

103.  Darwin Bowser said on May 24, 2014

Many thanks admiral, It takes leaders of men like you and all who served to assure all Americans that they will enjoy the freedoms they richly deserve.
Darwin Bowser
Chief petty officer
Us Navy Retired

104.  Wayne said on May 24, 2014

Someone said "It's the little things in life..." Some of those little things are actually the biggest things. Thank you Admiral McRaven for your message to all of us.

105.  Debra Seamans said on May 24, 2014

Admiral McRaven:
Thank you for sharing and serving our country. I am a registered nurse and oversee 75 health care workers - plan to share the lessons with everyone. If only one other person applies these along the way, something will change for the better. It has reminded me to focus on the important things myself. You have my respect and appreciation.

106.  Jim Knott said on May 24, 2014

My God! It is so good to have an adult in the room. Fantastic! So many in DC could gain from this!

107.  Marcus McHugh said on May 25, 2014

In short a very inspirational speech on how to succeed in life and be a good person. Good advise does not get much better than this. I immediately emailed the speech to my three daughters, one of whom is a graduate from the University of Texas Austin. Outstanding job Admiral!

108.  Kevin "Pops" Foley said on May 25, 2014

Very motivating speech ADM McRaven I’m a class of 2014 graduate from Roger Williams University RI. Everything the Admiral said can hold truth in the life’s of anyone. As I ponder on my Army career which began in 1979 the tasks I had to complete seemed trite at times but, I still do some of them today like shine my shoes or make sure my clothes are pressed and starched. Even at 54 years old and some of those simple tasks I learned got me to where I am today thank you Admiral McRaven you are a true leader...

109.  YanShuai said on May 25, 2014

Thank you, sir, for such an inspiring speech and great advice for life !!!

110.  Pat said on May 25, 2014

Go Navy! Go UT!

111.  Michael Hansen said on May 25, 2014

I saw it first in Saturday WSJ. The last time I remembered seeing something that came out of Texas get 3/4 page, prime real estate on the opinion pages - well, was never.

I had to read the speech. As I was reading it, I was overwhelmed with the thought, "This is the best thing I've read in a year."

I cut it out, took it home, and I read it out loud to my wife, 16 YO daughter and 13/11/9 YO sons. During the reading, I had to stop a few times to stay somewhat composed. I knew reading it to my family was important.

I've sent it to college pals attending a 25th reunion by email, I've discussed it a kid baseball events, and I stopped a neighbor on the street to say - "Hey, you gotta go read Adm. McRaven's UT speech."

Thank you for your service and good example.

UT JD/MBA 1995

112.  Ray B. Castillo, Jr. said on May 26, 2014

All is well by the grace of our LORD GOD!

113.  Bob Hall said on May 26, 2014

The best graduation speech I've heard or read. Mine was 58 years ago by OH Senator John Bricker via telephone with pings every 10 seconds. Don't remember a word of it.
This gentleman was an Ensign trainee under a now close friend of mine, here in Florida. He states this man was the best person who ever served under him and he still follows Adm. McRaven's career to this day.
I have sent this to each of my grandsons to read and follow.

114.  Dev C. Knox said on May 26, 2014

To all who have served. Thank you.
As the son of a SEAL, I can appreciate the heartfelt speech. My father was in UDT and was in Seal Team II for 30 years. Those were the most challenging years of my life. My father was a warrior of our nation. Something I can never measure up to. I would always call him on Memorial Day and thank him for his service. My father, Devereaux Chester Knox, "BULL KNOX" passed away in 2010 so I can never thank him EVER again. SO for those in the military or not! We can change the world one action at a time. For those serving our country. Thank you for your service.

115.  Rudy Stefancik, M.D. BA with honors Microbiology '78; MD UTMB at Galveston '82 said on May 26, 2014

#72 Mr. Philpot, you just disqualified Thomas Jefferson!

I watched this speech live and my prayers were answered that this speech would go viral online. It is also published in its entirety on page A11 of the 5/24/14 Wall Street Journal.

116.  Sheila Jaeger said on May 26, 2014

Tough, insightful, and concise accounting of extremely valuable lessons that were certainly not learned kindergarten. Thanks so much for sharing.

117.  Gail Rupprecht said on May 26, 2014

The timeless principles of Admiral McRaven's speech, each one of them, is found in the Bible. For example: (Matthew 16:24-26). Out of the twelve disciples, only Judas "rang the bell".

118.  Catherine Dilley said on May 27, 2014

Wise words from a true patriot! Thank you for your words of wisdom, and your service to our country.

119.  Ellen Lux said on May 27, 2014

As a proud mom of a UT 2014 graduate and fellow veteran - Thank you for your speech! The power of achieving goals through adversity is what has made this country great! Thanks for the inspirational words!

120.  Janie Choate said on May 27, 2014

He could change "our" world by running for President of the USA in 2014. He would never ring the bell. The Washington" community organizers" are emitting a deafening roar today ..... chaos of bells ringing.
Let's push forward for an Independent Party.

121.  Anna Sioles said on May 27, 2014

Of course I am crying. The Navy Seals have always been my Absolute Heroes.....Thank You for a magnificent speech and for your incredible service!! Please run for Pres. to save America! We need men of good character!

122.  Michele said on May 27, 2014

Every graduate in grade school, high school, and college in the US should watch this speech.


PS. #16 Rick Niles - we are not impressed by YOUR comments. Ring your bell - you are done.

123.  Ashok Bhansali said on May 27, 2014

Adm. McRaven, Felicitations and many Kudos on such a wonderfully inspirational speech,

The graduates should consider themselves very fortunate to have received such great advice and learning at this crucial stage in their lives, when that are moving forward to make their mark, in the world!!

Personally for me, the timing was Perfect!! I was about to Ring the Bell, since I have been looking of work in the Canadian Pharma Industry, for the last 6 months after 33 years of varied experience in many Marketing positions in International companies.

Your message has saved me from the Bell and taught me to not lose heart so easily!!

So here I go, fully charged, back into the fray!!

Thank You and God Bless You!!!

124.  Marc said on May 27, 2014

I am not a graduate from UT, BUT MY CHILDREN DID. very encouraging speech I hope all of the graduates take heed and follow through. I was in the Army and went into combat in Korea and also Vietnam. I salute the Admiral because his words were the ones that made me succeed and stayed safe and healthy.

125.  jerry sauder said on May 27, 2014

Thank you sir! Great man and great speech. Lessons on life for sure.

126.  ro said on May 27, 2014


127.  Tom Booth said on May 27, 2014

Admiral McCraven, thank you so much for your attempt at reminding us what made America strong, independent and to always face the seemingly impossible only to walk away successful in our endeavor to remain the best nation in the world. From a proud Former Marine 61 to 65 Semper Fi my brother.

128.  Carolyn Smutko said on May 27, 2014

Adm. McRaven is a sterling example of what "Made in the USA" really means. His message of integrity, courage and commitment is timeless. Thank you for the reminder that we are still a nation of life-changing, honorable, selfless and fiercely patriotic individuals. Thank you for motivating our new graduates to carry on the legacy of growing heroes made of humility, compassion and respect for justice. I am part of a family with three generations of military service to this country. Those life lessons have kept each generation grounded and dedicated to doing the right things for the right reasons. With respect and gratitude...

129.  JIM YOUNG said on May 27, 2014


130.  Debbie Cox said on May 27, 2014

I was so inspired and will forward this to everyone I know. We need more people like you!

131.  Ralph Wilox said on May 27, 2014

Dear Sir
THANK YOU FOR ONE OF THE BEST SPEECHES EVER! My nephew graduated from the Naval Academy
this past Friday. He was excepted straight out of high school 4 years ago. I first saw a bit of your speech on The Five on Fox and had to wait until my sister and brother in law( Vietnam Navy Vet) returned home to direct her to your "Standards to live by" speech.
I heartily agree with a previous comment about the President of this great country should have a superior military background to be Commander in Chief. Sometimes it seems the inmates are running the asylum. GOD speed to you and yours! I could not get to the hospital when my father was fading,but the night before he told to just keep putting one foot in front of the and you can do anything you want. DON'T EVER RING THE BELL!! THANK YOU Admiral McRaven!

132.  J Naff said on May 27, 2014

I am currently deployed with the Marines. Morale has been down lately and people are becoming complacent. I made some of my Marines watch this speech and I have to say I think it gave them some much needed motivation. Thank you for posting this so that the rest of the world can learn from this great American. Ooh-rah!

133.  John said on May 28, 2014

An inspiring, motivating and memorable speech full of practical tips for life. Admiral McRaven - YOU ROCK !!!

134.  Edmond T McCrane said on May 28, 2014

Great speech I am from a military family and have lost
family in WW II and Vietnam this should be played in every college and university in the country but the liberals are not patriotic enough to do it God Bless America

135.  Don in Northern Idaho said on May 29, 2014

I read his speech and the next day I was confronted with a physically challenging activity. In spite of a walking disability I continued forward while repeating "don't ring the bell". I had reached a point where the physical discomfort had become almost intolerable, but somehow I seemed to reach above the pain and even picked up the stride. No residual negative effects afterwords. As a graduate of Upper State Michigan College (USMC) I salute those that have the power and courage to prevail.

136.  Paul D. Nones said on May 29, 2014

As a 1956 UT Plan II graduate, a 1962 UT Law graduate, a UTNROTC Force Recon Marine officer, I stand and salute you Admiral. I thank you for your dedicated service to this country and for the dedicated leadership you provide to not only Seals, but to all of the men and women from every branch of service under your command. The principles you set out in your speech are applicable to every person within the reach of your voice, if only they have the wisdom to hear and the courage to live them. I too don't remember my graduation speaker or what he said, but I am assured that no graduate who heard your address will ever forget it. God bless you and all those you lead. Semper Fidelis in Christ.

137.  wayne king said on May 29, 2014

i wish i had heard this message 52 years ago,and maybe he needs to talk to the freshman of every class instead of the seniors .what a great inspiration ,i hope i can continue to use this as my career is ending.after 37 years as a statefarm agent and running this busines.i failed in englsh at auburn univ., and some other classes but now i have written a book....LAKE OF DREAMS BY WAYNE KING AND A SONG .I DID ALWAYS MAKE UP MY BED AND I STILL DO.AT AGE 72 I STILL FEEL INSPIRED WHEN I SEE THINGS LIKE THIS.THANKS FOR YOUR SPEECH....HEY STUDENTS TAKE HIS WORDS AND SPREAD THE NEWS,,,,GO FOR THE TOP,THE BOTTOM IS MUDDY.

138.  Harrie Caldwell said on May 29, 2014

I am halfway through the book, entitled Lone Survivor, so your speech was especially meaningful. I applaud your accomplishments, your service and your advice to the young people graduating from UT.

139.  Norma Crask said on May 29, 2014

I am 78 years old, never in the military, but had two brothers in WWII, one in Korean conflict. I am in constant AWE of our military. Respect and admire them all (The Seals) in particular with every fiber of my aging body. Wish the govt. in D.C. had just an ounce of their HONOR. Thank You Admiral McRaven

140.  Laura said on May 29, 2014

Loved the speech so much that I am showing this speech to all my graduating seniors in high school!

141.  noel rodriguez said on May 29, 2014

absolutely incredible. intelligent. honorable. captivating. inspiring.....

142.  Mrs. Fran Otten said on May 29, 2014

To Shiela #101. If you think this speech was "juvenile", all I can say is, "It takes one to know one." This man is brilliant, feeling, dedicated and patriotic, and certainly not juvenile. My hat off to you Admiral McRaven. God Bless you.

143.  Shobha Uppuluri said on May 30, 2014

My daughter graduated from UT and she is a juvenile case manager working with troubled youth in Houston. We worry about her every day for her safety and financial comfort. I feel comfortable today more than ever after hearing to this speech.

Thanks Again for an inspiring speech.

144.  Richard Norman said on May 30, 2014

Admiral McRaven is both brilliant and inspiring. I had the opportunity to brief him once.... I found him to be humble, highly intelligence, quick mind and focused. Personally I found him to be inspiring. He cares about making the world a better place. He cares about people. He cares about freedom. This latest address is a testament to his abilities.
Thank you Sir. It is a privelage to have met you and to have served along side.

btw, for those who dont know, he wrote the book on SpecOps theory. He is "the professor".

145.  Mal Tackett said on May 30, 2014

Great Speech and outstanding advice. I met some of your Seal Personnel in Viet Nam and also at CI School in Coronado. I would be in the chow line, wearing my pea coat and see the Seals come in from their early morning boat ride and swim. They were soaking wet and had to be freezing. I was freezing while dry and wearing my coat. Their Run during Hell Week was the most inspiring thing I think I have ever seen.. Run Until You drop.. Retired CPO USN

146.  Mistyn Block said on May 30, 2014

Outstanding. A call to fortitude, courage in the face of pain or adversity--a Cardinal Greek virtue.

147.  Bone 0311 said on May 31, 2014

Admiral McRaven;
Well done Sir, thank you for sharing hard earned insights that are applicable at all levels. Here's to never ringing the bell and making a difference.
Thank you for your service...
Semper Fi

148.  Thomas F. Myers said on May 31, 2014

Where can a DVD of Adm. McRaven's commencement address to the Class of 2014 be purchased. He was the most outstanding speaker at a Commencement I have ever heard. He was clear, concise and not only spoke from the heart, but from life's experiences. WOW!

149.  Jim Mileson said on June 1, 2014

We are 76-year old grandparents of a Navy SEAL who are so pleased that he wanted to serve. We all garner inspiration from whomever and whatever we choose. The graduation address certainly applies to all facets of life whether military or civilian. Words we can undoubtedly use always.Go NAVY!!!


150.  CAPT (sel) Peter Lawless, USN said on June 1, 2014

My wife and I moved our daughter into her apartment near the UT Campus just days after Admiral McRaven's commencement speech (she begins graduate school in early June). While moving her in, my brother called me about the speech. The three of us watched via Youtube. Admiral McRaven's powerful speech nearly brought us to tears. Great rules to live by. Proud that my daughter chose The University of Texas at Austin! Hook'em Horns!

151.  tony fragetti - USArmy 70-72 said on June 1, 2014

Adm. McRaven - Well said sir! and thank you for your service!! Congrats to the 8000 and Go Horns.

152.  Michele said on June 1, 2014

hope this inspires you to never ring the bell love mama bear

153.  salvatore dipace jr. said on June 1, 2014

wow-awe inspiring. this message is being sent through out the nypd.thanks!

154.  Paul White said on June 1, 2014

outstanding speech a great lesson to live by.Adm. McRaven has my vote for the next president of the United States , God bless america

155.  Paul Selivan said on June 1, 2014

The little things and completing and small tasks, such as making your bed. It's starts when your young.

156.  Bernard Burawski, Chief Yeoman, USN (Ret.) said on June 1, 2014

Great graduation speech. I just listened to the video and read the transcript. He is right about most of these commencement speeches being forgettable, as very few of them are memorable. This one was different. Obviously he has followed these principles throughout his life and it shows.

157.  mft39anton said on June 1, 2014

Really liked those words about respect and heart. I believe that training absolutely necessary for a young man to start out on a life path.

158.  Luis said on June 1, 2014

Excellent, the young people needs so much so much helpful of us of us the adults..... a guidance every time, each day, the young people is the most important that the world has to change the world, the young people are our arrows to win the war against the miserable conditions that the world life today in some places.

159.  c w yablonski said on June 2, 2014

The best so far

160.  Tom Curtin said on June 2, 2014

Like Admiral McRaven, I to, did not remember who gave the commencement address. Thirty years later when Peter Drucker died is when I remembered he gave the address. By then it was too late to figure out what he said. Thank goodness for the internet so all of you can remember Admiral McRaven. Make your bed!

161.  philip urio said on June 2, 2014

Very Good lessons.If everybody now will start to do that then we can change the world to be good place to stay.No more wars, violence and killings like now.
Good, keep it up.

162.  SEBAHIZI Jules said on June 3, 2014

I read the speech which I must confess is the first ever heard in my life. Inspiring, constructive, innovative and furthermore building confidence and trust in today and tomorrow's generations. This speech will remain for generation and generations until.........incredible Man.

163.  subramani hariharan said on June 3, 2014

Such a powerful at the same time very relevant talk for today. Some time I wonder are we really imparting relevant education to our wards. But yet there are many students realize the fact that they are the lucky ones to have made it to the University. So they work hard and do justice to the rare opportunity afforded to them. The World will always be a better place so long as each one of us realize our responsibility yo the society.

164.  Kimberlee said on June 3, 2014

I have watched this 4 or 5 times. I have a son in A school in Great Lakes, IL and one son who just graduated from high school and headed to college. I sent it to them both. Wonderful! I guess my son in the Navy is making his bed!

165.  Lewis Mashburn said on June 4, 2014

Well said Sir!

166.  Walter G. Gutowski said on June 4, 2014

Thank you Admiral McRaven, fantastic speech! I wish you would run for President.

167.  jose van kaathoven said on June 5, 2014

God Bless America

168.  Rear Admiral Shirantha Udawatte, SL Navy said on June 5, 2014

Great speech Admiral, amongst the best I ever heard. Your "10 points to make the world a better place" as declared at UT is a great thought. My sincere wish is to see its success by joining more and more to those 8000 graduated in UT to achieve before 5 generations time line. Also it reminds me few coincidence during the time I met some of your special forces community when at the US Naval War College (class of 2005) and visited the Special Forces Hqt, it's training sites of hell week etc......, and also your success at Abotabad in Pakistan few days after our course (ndc 2010) visit over there. In SriLanka, similarly the "10 points strategy " made our way forward to win over the LTTE Terrorism to make country a better place for our citizens. So your 10 points certainly're made use our way to come over the wrong opinions being created by the rest of the terrorists ran away in /after May2009!. My sincere wish to see both to become success from the essence in your great commencements speech at the TU, USA.

169.  Rear Admiral Shirantha Udawatte, SLN said on June 5, 2014

It's a great speech Admiral, wish to see more and more joining your way forward with the 8000 graduates listened to the comencement speech.

170.  Rear Admiral DS Udawatte, SLN(rt) said on June 6, 2014

Its a great speech Admiral, to make all to think alike and realize irrespective of their social or even any barrier to join hands to make the world a better place.
More importantly, now I can make my daughters to understand the purpose of the simplest task they essentially do every morning and to ring the bell in way forward. So the best commencement speech ever heard!!

171.  Folajimi Ogundele said on June 7, 2014

I will wake up every morning and list out the points in this a loud and convincing voice.

172.  John Truscott said on June 7, 2014

This is absolutely brilliant; never ever say can't until it is proven to be completely impossible.

173.  Joyce Fast said on June 8, 2014

To Admiral McRaven; Spoken like a true veteran of life.Hurrah!

174.  Vicki said on June 8, 2014

I shared this with my eleven year old daughter, and she listened to every word. We frequently use some of the phrases. Teachers should be reading this to their students. Thank you for your service and sharing such an incredible speech.

175.  Dr.N.Shanmuga Vadivoo said on June 8, 2014

Loved the speech ! Your incredible speech has inspired my Son ( a budding engineering graduate )so much that he started to make his bed for the past one week :)
Thank you soooooooo much :)

176.  Adetutu said on June 10, 2014

This is an awesome speech, a word to motivate you for the task ahead. God bless you, God bless America and God bless Nigeria. love you Sir. Your are a blessing to the world.

177.  Mark Oliver said on June 11, 2014

God bless you and all of the men & women of our Armed Services. Extremely refreshing to read such relevant character traits that each of us should aspire towards, particularly those young men & women who have invested so much time & effort to bettering themselves by earning their degree. Go Navy!

178.  John D> Ford said on June 11, 2014

As a 68 year old grandfather, veteran, and '68 graduate of Auburn University, your speech has reminded me of the importance of continuing to make a difference in the lives of others, by bringing hope back into their lives. It has been said, that "hope can be ignited by a spark of encouragement". You, Adm. McRaven, have encouraged me to never stop encouraging others. Thank you for all you have done for our great nation, and may God continue to bless you and your family!

179.  Richard L. Matheny said on June 12, 2014


180.  John said on June 12, 2014

Rick Niles (comment #16) says he was not impressed. Wonder what he would have said at this commencement.

181.  Maria Olaciregui said on June 13, 2014

An excellent speech, inspiring, motivating. Wooow, I can contribute to change the World!!.Thank you for remember us that we can do it. God bless you and your family.

182.  Patricia guthery said on June 14, 2014


183.  Wilma McKinney said on June 14, 2014


184.  William Makena said on June 14, 2014

My son inspired by the speech, his reaction '' lot of sense dad lot of sense man''

185.  susan L. Cook said on June 14, 2014

Admiral McRaven, Thank you for your service to our country, through all these years. May I ask you one more obligation that you might accept? Sir I would ask that you use the same standards that you set for yourself 36 years ago as a young seal trainee, and once again step forward and consider serving your country through the becoming of a Congressman, or more importantly to place yourself in a place that I can guarantee you the votes of nearly every serviceman and woman throughout our lives, whether Navy Seals Marines Army Air Force And Coast guard. You SIR have the Stuff that has been needed in our country for over 65 years. That is the ability to know HONOR and STAND face forward into it's Sometimes frightening FACE, without backing down from the job that needs to be done. The intestinal fortitude that you already had those 36 years ago before you entered Buds training, because somehow I know that you had what was needed even then and you would not dishonor yourself, your team, nor family and most of all your Country. Sir we need that same sense of duty and honor that you've shown through your career as a SEAL, but now we need you to bring our country out of the worse mess that we've been in for a long time. You are the one who can accomplish this task and I ask you to consider running for president of OUR UNITED STATES, as you sir are the real thing, OUR FOREFATHERS who WROTE OUR DECLARATION OF INDEPENDANCE had always hoped would be there in the times ahead when we needed a strong MORAL COMPASS, and the sense of HONOR AND BRAVERY, AND DIGNITY THAT YOU MOST SURELY HAVE HAD and SHOWN THROUGH YOUR CAREER IN OUR ARMED FORCES. Please consider this duty once more to stand up and save these UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Thank You and GOD BLESS THE USA.

186.  Toni Duesing said on June 15, 2014

I hope that someone will put this speech on a teleprompter for Obama to read....better the video foe him EVERY day...maybe something will stick! I know Obama would not ring the bell, he would get someone to do it for him! God bless Adm. McRaven and the US Navy....