By Charles Jardine
In the last edition of the Troubadour, I addressed the first five of Adm. McRaven’s lessons for life. I hope that in at least on way they were able to help you realize something in your life that needs some work, as well as the motivation to get to working on it.
Continuing on this train of though we will look at the last five lessons he gives us, with the hope that we can gain something from it and help us on this Lenten journey to improve ourselves.
The sixth lesson is that sometimes you have to take risks. Similar to one of the most famous sports quotes, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” said by Wayne Gretzky; you have to take a risk to accomplish something.
McRaven in his speech gives the example of one navy seal who went down the obstacle course slide headfirst to catch the rope at a more advantageous position and allowed him to beat the course record, but if he failed, he would have fallen and sustained great injury.
In our lives, there comes the decision of if it’s worth it. Michael Jordan in his flu game and Kobe Bryant playing on his torn Achilles, both told reporters later that when something is worth it, the risk is worth taking.
Lesson seven stems from the SEALs’ long swims in shark infested waters. McRaven remembers being told “if a shark starts circling you, punch it,” and continue on. His message here is that there will always be a shark out there, a fear deep down that shakes us to our bones. Yet this fear needs to be faced.
As disciples in Christ, we are not called to cower in fear. The Apostles upon being sent out surely were scared, they are on their own and don’t have Jesus leading them everywhere anymore, but they went out and made disciples of all nations despite this fear.
The eighth lesson is that you must be your best in your darkest moments. In our faith lives we know this well, we know God will test us and we are called to answer and persevere through it, but it is not always that simple.
In “Batman: The Dark Knight Rises,” Bruce Wayne gets sent to the pit, which can be described as a dark place. There is no escape unless you are willing to become a new person and push yourself to the limits and climb out. The darkest times are not only meant to test us, but to transform us into a better version of ourselves, which is a task we must accept and take head on.
Lesson nine is about the power of hope. McRaven says, “If I have learned anything in my time traveling the world, it is the power of hope. The power of one person—Washington, Lincoln, King, Mandela and even a young girl from Pakistan, Malala—one person can change the world by giving people hope.”
He recalls a story of when in training for the SEALs they were neck deep in freezing mud, and if only two people quit, or they lasted through the night then they would be able to get out. Freezing, tired and exhausted the SEALs started singing and sung through the night, and by dawn, no man had quit.
Hope has no limits. Billy Hope the main character in the boxing movie “Southpaw,” is described as “if he’s still standing there’s still hope.” Speaking on his ability to knock out boxers in the movie, this can be seen in our life if we’re still standing, fighting and trying to persevere there will be hope, but we have to work for it.
Lesson 10, possibly the most important lesson of all, intertwined into all the previous nine is don’t quit. McRaven sums it up well saying, “In SEAL training there is a bell. A brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see. All you have to do to quit—is ring the bell. Ring the bell and you no longer have to wake up at 5 o’clock. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the freezing cold swims. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the PT—and you no longer have to endure the hardships of training. Just ring the bell. If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.”
If nothing else, I hope this brings inspiration to your day. Take these messages to heart and listen to their wisdom. Above all else keep persevering, make goals for yourself and work your hardest; If it comes from God then through God you will accomplish it, but don’t forget the work that will be needed to get there.