10 Lessons to Change the World

It’s commencement time and that means lots of good speeches are coming out.  This is one of the best one’s I’ve heard so far.  It comes from Naval Admiral William McRaven, ninth commander of U.S.Special Operations Command, Navy Seal and University of Texas alum.  He gives us 10 lessons to change the world:

  1. Start each day with a task completed.  Ie, accomplish your small tasks well with consistency.
  2. You can’t change the world alone.  Find help from others.
  3. Measure a person by the size of their heart, not by the size of their flippers.  Respect everyone.
  4. No matter how well you prepare,  you’ll never be perfect.  You will fail often.
  5. You will likely fail often.  Don’t be afraid to fail.
  6. Great achievements will require taking risks.
  7. Don’t back down from threats in the world.
  8. Be your very best in your darkest moments.
  9. Stay optimistic.
  10. Don’t ever give up.

Great advice from a guy who knows a thing or two about how to make a difference.

H/t Henry Blodget

Cullen Roche

Cullen Roche

Mr. Roche is the Founder of Orcam Financial Group, LLC. Orcam is a financial services firm offering research, private advisory, institutional consulting and educational services. He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance and Understanding the Modern Monetary System.

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  • DanH

    Great man. Great speech.

  • wildebeest

    His words may be interesting or even wise but only words it are.
    I’ll skip his speech as I avoid people who have blood on their hands …

  • Alexis Smith

    What an inspiring speech. Thanks for sharing, Jacob!
    I also completely agree with those tips. We often hear them but we often forget them too.

  • justlearning

    And you can do that, to some degree, because people like him have done the dirty work for you. Also, have you done the research to prove that none of your investments are in companies with “blood on their hands”, or is one degree of separation enough to satisfy your moral outrage? Just sayin…

  • Skateman

    “And you can do that, to some degree, because people like him have done the dirty work for you.”

    Bah, America hasn’t been truly threatened since WWII. Everything after that has been empire building for multinational corporate expansion. We have enough nukes to destroy the planet. Nobody is going to mess with us and “take our freedom.” But you are right that many of the companies we invest in also have blood on their hands.

  • Mike

    Weakling

  • SS

    “Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives…You don’t want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty…we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use ‘em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I’d rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you’re entitled to!”

  • SS

    That’s BS. The world is filled with bad people and there’s no knowing what those bad people would be doing today were it not for the military might of the USA.

    People who insult our military disgust me. Especially people with no experience sitting behind computers. You have no idea.

  • Skateman

    “The world is filled with bad people and there’s no knowing what those bad people would be doing today were it not for the military might of the USA.”

    Please site examples where the military might of the USA (excluding our nukes, which kept The Soviet Union at bay through M.A.D.) has protected our freedom since WWII.

    People who give blind obeisance to the military disgust me. Like any other institution it is filled with both good and bad people. The civilians that provide the directives are also good and bad, and their motives are not always (if ever) pure. Only a naive fool would believe otherwise, but keep sipping the Cool-Aid. My best friend was a Ranger in Afghanistan and he would tell you the exact same thing.

  • justlearning

    “Like any other institution it is filled with both good and bad people. ”

    Absolutely true. Humans are humans and this is true of any institution, world-wide.

    I would argue, however, that the logic of “The U.S. has not been seriously threatened since WWII” is flawed (not your comment, but an earlier comment.) As you point out, M.A.D. worked at the macro level. At the micro level (where most conflicts really begin) the credible threat of a trained, ready military keeps many bad guys from doing what they would otherwise do. Only a naive fool would believe (not saying you do) that the strength of the U.S. military since WWII hasn’t provided the cover for us to not be concerned about attacks on what we have both in North America and world-wide.

    No one would argue that a police force is a requirement in a domestic society; by extension the military performs those same functions internationally. Perhaps George Orwell put it best when he said “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand
    ready to do violence on their behalf.”

  • SS

    How can we know what the world would look like if the US military were not patrolling our oceans and taking up posts throughout the world?

    How many little battles have fended off larger battles? How many shows of might have fended off any battle at all? The US military can end a war before it even begins simply by moving a battle ship into the right place. Just because there’s been peace in our day doesn’t mean that humans have become more peaceful.

  • Windchaser

    “How can we know what the world would look like if the US military were not patrolling our oceans and taking up posts throughout the world?”

    The problem here is non-falsifiability. You might as well ask a prehistoric tribe of people, “how do we know that the rain will still fall if we don’t do our rain dance?”

    There’s some truth to the idea that the world has been stabilized by US hegemony. There’s also some truth to the idea that it’s been *destabilized*, that we create the next generation’s problems when we install today’s dictators to support our interests.

    If we were cool, objective, impartial, and just, like a policeman is supposed to be, I’d have no problem with US hegemony. But as often as not, we’ve supported tyrants and dictators, instead of freedom.

  • Skateman

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    That said, the question of whether we have been seriously threatened since WWII is, I believe subjective. I don’t believe any country would risk an invasion given M.A.D. As such, the American homeland would always be safe. Concerning our interests/allies abroad, I concede that American military might could have a deterrent effect. However, when it comes to the actual use of our military, since WWII, I contend that virtually every conflict we’ve been in has been unnecessary and to some extent counterproductive.

  • Steve W

    Ten excellent lessons, for sure. Thanks for posting, Cullen.

    I would not have predicted the post starting a thread about the U.S. Military, blood on the Admiral’s hands, etc.

    Pragcap is always interesting, including the comments.

  • http://orcamgroup.com Cullen Roche

    You’re telling me! I’m just sitting back learning most of the time. :-)

  • justlearning

    “If we were cool, objective, impartial, and just, like a policeman is supposed to be, I’d have no problem with US hegemony. But as often as not, we’ve supported tyrants and dictators, instead of freedom.”

    Goes back to the “humans will be humans” comment earlier.

    Still, think about the fact that post WWII the U.S. has emerged as the dominant economic force in the world. That is due, in large part I think, to the stability that military strength has provided us. Markets crash and tumble at world upheavals, and our military strength – like it or not – provides a degree of stability that results in dollars in your pocket. We could play silly thought games and try to believe that we would have achieved the same level of economic success if we had no significant military power projection capability, but the reality of world history the past 60 years does not support that. Yes we’ve made political errors (remember, the military doesn’t commit itself – the Executive branch does that) over those years, but as has been the case throughout history, economic success for a nation has closely followed their military abilities

  • Skateman

    The question though is HOW we’ve projected our military power. I’m saying that for the most part M.A.D would have been enough. The other things we’ve done – supporting dictators, invading nations for no good reason – have been largely destabilizing and counterproductive. This is the “blood on our hands.”

    Military victories since WWII? What military victories? And blowing all your money on pointless military spending – while the core of your civilization rots – has been the death knell of many an empire.

  • http://www.safe-options-trading-income.com OptionsMike

    Fantastic and inspirational for everyone, not just graduates!