Do you make your bed in the morning?
Me? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Usually, kinda. Like… pull the comforter up so that Bette, our dear older-lady-cat, has a soft place to land. To the untrained eye, it looks okay. But wiser minds know that there’s a ball of sheets under there.
And, so his book begins.
It’s all about the “little things” (that aren’t such little things at all) that can “Change your life and maybe the world.”
No small task there!
But hey, McRaven was a Navy SEAL in a career that spanned over 35 years. These days, he’s a professor of National Security, LBJ School of Public Affairs, the University of Texas, along with being a NY Times bestselling author and public speaker. (Link)
No slouch is he! <<< Says Yoda!
This little book of his is no slouch either. It’s the kind of thing you might give to a person who has served in the military or simply wants the “Bottom Line”. No flowery language or poetic license is needed. But it is VERY WELL written! And really, why wouldn’t it be? It was originally a commencement speech for the UofT at Austin on their commencement day. The University’s motto is, “What starts here changes the world,” and McRaven begins with that premise and moves on to share the 10 Principles he learned during his Navy SEAL days.
As you might have guessed, I have shared the video below. But for folks like me, who want to read what he said at my own pace and get a little more context, the book is a must!
Here are the chapter headings, which will give you an idea of where he’s headed…
- Start Your Day with a Task Completed (ahem, like, uh, making your bed).
- You Can’t Go It Alone
- Only the Size of Your Heart Matters
- Life’s Not Fair – Drive On!
- Failure Can Make You Stronger
- You Must Dare Greatly
- Stand Up to the Bullies
- Rise to the Occasion
- Give People Hope
- Never, Ever Quit!
If you’re like me, you’re looking at this list and thinking… yeah… um… nothing new here. And really, there’s not!
Except… it’s from another perspective.
As you know, I almost never delve deeply into the books I review because I want you to buy, or borrow and read them yourselves.
However, I do want to touch on one of the chapters.
You see, JUST TODAY… my husband brought home a gift for me. Ignore my wrinkly, veiny hand, please.
It says, “Rise Against Bullying” on a rainbow. It is to support the LGBTQ+ community. I’m 100% for it!
So, as you can see, bullying has been on my mind. One chapter in this little book talks about it.
In four short pages, the Admiral speaks of literal sharks in the oceans and the ones we meet in human skin all over the world. In his case, it is Sadam Hussein, the former president of Iraq.
Yes, of course, he would talk about the kind of bullies that can and do KILL.
He KNOWS what is possible.
But how does it translate to everyday bullies?
Not well, in my opinion.
It’s one thing to be a Navy SEAL and face the kind of dangers that most of us will never know.
It’s quite another to face people like that mean lady I talked to yesterday while you try to save the relationship for the sake of your job.
Or am I wrong?
Is a bully a bully a bully? No matter where they come from? And should we stand up to them?
McRaven says, at the end of this chapter, “Bullies are all the same. […] They thrive on fear and intimidation. They gain their strength through the mind and faint of heart. […] They will circle to see if their prey is struggling.”
Oh boy! Ain’t it the truth?
He goes on to say that we ALL have the kind of courage that is needed to stand up to the bullies.
I’m still not sure I agree. Or that it’s safe or prudent to do so.
What I DO know is that it is the ONLY way to fight bullies. <<< But, I think I’ll leave it to the folks who do it best. Me? I just want to hide in a hole.
Still, this book is very good. You’ll have just to be the judge.