Admiral McRaven’s commencement speech is perhaps one of the best commencement speeches we have ever heard. It is on point and offers some fantastic life and business lessons.

McRaven — a former commander of the US Special Operations Command, who organized the raid that killed Osama bin Laden — stressed the importance of making your bed every morning, taking on obstacles headfirst, and realizing that it’s OK to be a “sugar cookie.”

As McRaven describes in his speech, a “sugar cookie” was a someone who failed uniform inspection during SEAL training, and was ordered to run fully clothed into the ocean and then roll around on the beach until every part of their body was covered with sand.

“Sometimes no matter how well you prepare or how well you perform you still end up as a sugar cookie,” McRaven said. “It’s just the way life is sometimes.”

In another lesson from his speech, McRaven stressed how everyone will likely fail at some point, and how to learn from those failures.

The former Navy admiral described how SEALs would sometimes be ordered to do “circuses” — “two hours of additional calisthenics—designed to wear you down, to break your spirit, to force you to quit.”

However, McRaven said, “The pain of the circuses built inner strength-built physical resiliency.”

McRaven’s personal stories from his many years as a Navy SEAL supported all of these lessons.

“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,” McRaven told students. “It matters not your gender, your ethnic or religious background, your orientation, or your social status.”

Watch the inspiring talk below:

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Brent Lindeque
About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and man in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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