7 life lessons from basic SEAL training:

Welcome to The Quiet Rich, a weekly newsletter with proven methods for a quiet mind + a rich life.

Today you’ll get 7 life lessons from a Navy SEAL. Scroll down to read my best takeaways from four-star Admiral William McRaven. 🔥

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Admiral McRaven gave one of the most legendary commencement speeches in 2014. Here’s the YouTube video of it. If you’ve never heard it, you’re in for a treat. (Start your morning with it tomorrow. Trust me.)

It was so good that he turned it into a best-selling book called, “Make Your Bed.”

Many of us (myself included) will never know firsthand what it’s like to test your limits to the utmost degree during basic Navy SEAL training.

But we can apply the principles of those who made it through.


1. “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”

Context: Every SEAL in training had their bed inspected each morning. It had to be perfect.

↳ Lesson: Accomplish a tiny win when you wake up. It will build momentum for many more tiny wins by the end of the day.

2. “If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.”

Context: When a SEAL boat crew attempted to cross a surf zone, everyone needed to paddle with equal effort.

↳ Lesson: You can’t change the world alone. Choose wisely which friends and mentors will help you reach your goals.

3. “If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.”

Context: The best crew in McRaven’s class were all shorter than 5’5”. They out-ran and out-swam everyone.

↳ Lesson: Nothing matters except one’s will to succeed. Not height, social status, education, or background.

4. “If you want to change the world, get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.”

Context: If your uniform wasn’t immaculately pressed, you had to run fully clothed in the ocean and then roll in sand (i.e., “sugar cookie”)

↳ Lesson: Despite your best efforts, you will sometimes fail. Try again tomorrow.

5. “If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.”

Context: A “circus” was 2 extra hours of calisthenics (i.e., punishment if you didn’t meet standards that day).

↳ Lesson: Use these setbacks to make you stronger. Every obstacle in life is actually building your inner strength and resiliency.

6. “If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.”

Context: SEAL students in the ocean were told— if a great white shark attacks, punch them in the snout.

↳ Lesson: There will always be threats to your success. Don’t let them deter you. Face them head-on, and they’ll disappear.

7. “If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment.”

Context: In order for SEAL students to complete their mission, they had to scuba dive in complete darkness.

↳ Lesson: The most dangerous moments are when you must be the most calm and composed. 


The 9th week of Navy SEAL basic training is fondly referred to as “Hell Week.” Getting through it requires unprecedented mental strength (and hope). And all you have to do to quit is ring the bell.

When you’re presented an easy out, don’t take it. The harder option is the fastest way to unlock your full potential.

Change your perspective on what’s in front of you. And the challenge in front of you will change.

Until next week,


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