William H. McRaven

United States admiral

William Harry McRaven (born 6 November 1955) is a retired United States Navy admiral who last served as the ninth commander of the United States Special Operations Command from August 8, 2011, to August 28, 2014. Since January 2015, he has served as the chancellor of The University of Texas System.

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


  • It's been 37 years to the day since I graduated from UT.
  • If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed... If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. And by the end of the day, that one task completed, will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can't do the little things right, you'll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made, that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.
  • During Navy Seal training the students are all broken down into boat crews. Each crew is seven students — three on each side of a small rubber boat and one coxswain to help guide the dingy. Every day your boat crew forms up on the beach and is instructed to get through the surf zone and paddle several miles down the coast. In the winter, the surf off San Diego can get to be 8 to 10 feet high and it is exceedingly difficult to paddle through the plunging surf unless everyone digs in. Every paddle must be synchronized to the stroke count of the coxswain. Everyone must exert equal effort or the boat will turn against the wave and be unceremoniously dumped back on the beach. For the boat to make it to its destination, everyone must paddle. You can’t change the world alone — you will need some help — and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the goodwill of strangers and a strong coxswain to guide you. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.
  • If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the Circuses.
  • If you want to change the world measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.
  • If you want to change the world, sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.
  • If you want to change the world, don’t ever, ever ring the bell.
  • There is this great scene, that sometimes goes unnoticed. Clarence takes George to the graveyard, and there; there is a headstone of George’s younger brother, Terry. George notices that Terry died when he was just three years old, then George looks at Clarence, the second class wingless angel, and says that can’t be right. Harry not only lived past three years old, but he also saved an entire ship of being sunk by Kamikaze pilots, but reminds George, that because Paul was never born then, and he actually wasn’t there to save his younger brother from choking.
    • Chancellor McRaven speaking at the FBI Agents Association’s G-Man Honors Event - October 28, 2015, in Washington, D.C.
  • As Americans, we should be frightened — deeply afraid for the future of the nation. When good men and women can’t speak the truth, when facts are inconvenient, when integrity and character no longer matter, when presidential ego and self-preservation are more important than national security — then there is nothing left to stop the triumph of evil.
    • McRaven wrote in a February 20 editorial in the Washington Post about the dismissal by the president of the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, for having briefed congressional intelligence committee members about emerging evidence of foreign efforts to interfere in the 2020 presidential election.[1]

Open letter to US President Donald Trump (2018)Edit

Open letter to US President Donald Trump, published in "Revoke my security clearance, too, Mr. President" The Washington Post (16 August 2018)
  • Dear Mr. President:
    Former CIA director John Brennan, whose security clearance you revoked on Wednesday, is one of the finest public servants I have ever known. Few Americans have done more to protect this country than John. He is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don’t know him.
    Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.
  • A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow. A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself.
    Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities. Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.
  • If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken.

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