Human Performance: A Practical Guide To Changing The World

I'm not quite sure speeches of any kind get much bigger that this one delivered by Naval Admiral William H. McRaven at The University of Texas on May 17, 2014. It's a real, real shame that only 4.4 million people have had the privilege to watch this thus far. And it's my mission to ensure this man and this speech get the recognition they deserve. If you're ever in doubt, ever feel as though you can't go on - get this on. 


(Image NY Times)


Here are the take away points: 

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

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


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


3. If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.

“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.”


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

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

*For failing the uniform inspection, the student [in Basic SEAL training] 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. 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.


5. If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.

“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.”


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


7. If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.

“There are a lot of sharks in the world. If you hope to complete the swim you will have to deal with them.”


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

“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.”


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

“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.”


10. If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.

“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.”

Human Performance: Taking Ownership With Jocko Willink

If you watch just one TED talk this year - it should be this one. 

My god..Jocko leaves everything on that damn stage - and I applause him for it! As an ex Navy Seal Commander and now author and leadership consultant, he lives and breaths his message of ownership in life and business. I found this talk fascinating to watch, because in years gone by, war hero's would have only been able to share their learning on leadership, teamwork and pride with a very small circle. Their sphere of influence was small and practice sharing was generally kept within the military world. But now we see military methodologies being brought into the public domain via guys like Jocko and Four-star general Stanley McChrystal. It's great to see and I wonder what sort of influence it will have on generations coming through.

Having just watched this - I would, if I had the power, play this video to all kids in school under 18 as well as to all the businesses into the city - as a reminder that their current fears aren't as bad as they think and that next time they need to step up in any shape or form, great leaders galvanise their team by taking ownership. Enjoy!