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

Admiral William H. McRaven shares 10 lessons he’s learned during his 36 years as a Navy SEAL.  His commencement speech at The University of Texas at Austin seems particularly apropos while I’m out in Rockford for Spring Training with the Phantom Regiment.

If you enjoy TED talks, watch the video below.  One of my favorite parts is about 14mins in where he describes how Navy Seals train for underwater attacks against enemy shipping.  A pair of Seal divers are dropped outside an enemy harbor, and swim over 2 miles underwater to a designated target with only depth gauge and compass:

“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 gets to be easily disorienting – and you can fail.  Every Seal knows that under the keel, at that darkest moment of the mission, is the time where you need to be calm.  When you must be calm. When you must be composed.  When all your tactile skills, your physical power, and your inner strength must be brought to bear.
If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moments.”

Whew – so great, right?!
I admire how Admiral McRaven not only describes what you must do, but how you should think and feel.  I find the mental and emotional aspect to be just as, if not more, important than the “doing,” especially during our Spring Training.

The physical, mental, and emotional endurance required from the Phantom Regiment members as they practice ~10hrs a day for an entire month is tremendous.  Playing music and moving around the field at such a high level is already an incredible feat.  But to combine that with learning a great deal of information so quickly, injuries, feelings of being homesick, the gamut of emotional ups and downs, those feelings may become overwhelming and members must remind themselves to stay calm and be composed. They rely on each other for help, and must teach themselves how all their tactile skills, physical power, and inner strength must be brought to bear.

As for never “ringing the bell” – never give up…ever.  SO true for us, and everything else in life.

For the full video, watch here:



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