Retired Adm McRaven Explains How He Learned To Never Give Up

Leadership
Then-U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, speaks to members of Special Operations Task Force-South East in Camp McCloskey, Logar province, Afghanistan, Nov. 28, 2013.
U.S. Army photo


Retired Adm. William McRaven, author of "Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life... And Maybe The World," explains what he learned during Navy SEAL training that helped him never give up and quit. Following is a transcript of the video.

Adm. McRaven: We used to have a saying in SEAL training, "Take it one evolution at a time." Meaning don't look six months down the road. Don't ask yourself or don't look and say, "My gosh, I've got more swims and more runs and more PTs." If you do that, that event horizon becomes a little too far and I think it can be frightening. If all you do is try to do the very best you can at that very moment, you take it one step at a time and then six months goes by and you took it one evolution at a time and you made it. 

It is easy to quit in SEAL training. All you have to do is ring the bell three times and you're out. You don't have to talk to anybody. You don't have to do anything. You ring the bell, you take your helmet off, you put it down, and that's it. And you find that in tough times, there's always kind of a way out and that's quitting. That's just deciding you're not going to tackle this problem — you're going to let the problem or the situation win.

And so the one thing I'm always asked is, "How do you get through SEAL training?" I had a young man who was going off to SEAL training about a year ago and he was a phenomenal athlete. I had lunch with him and he said, "Well, do I need to run more?" I said, "No, I don't think so." He said, "Do I need to swim more?" I said, "Nope." "Do I need to lift more?" and he said "What is the key to going through SEAL training?" I said, "It's simple — you just don't quit." 

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