Quote Of The Day 04/04/2020

SATURDAY, 04/04/2020:


‘I raise my voice not so that i can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.’

– Malala Yousafzai

Quote Of The Day 02/04/2020

THURSDAY, 02/04/2020:


‘Washing ones’ hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.’

– Paulo Freire

Top Talks (#5): 10 Life Lessons from Basic SEAL Training – Admiral William H. McRaven

Welcome to week five of ‘Top Talks’ – a segment where I do a show-and-tell of my favourite speeches, talks or lectures.

Hello there!

Welcome to week five of ‘Top Talks’ – a segment where I do a show-and-tell of my favourite speeches, talks or lectures.

I am a strong believer in continuous improvement – which to me, means finding and listening to people who have an array of different values, beliefs and ideas, and sharing them with others!



McRaven is a retired Navy SEAL for the United States. Among his long list of accolades, he has served as Commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), Commander of Special Operations Europe (SOCEUR), and Director of NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre (NSCC).

McRaven also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a Master’s Degree from the Naval Postgraduate School and is openly critical of the Trump Administration (for those who care).

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_H._McRaven

10 Life Lessons from Basic SEAL Training – Admiral William H. McRaven

What I got out of this ‘Top Talk’:

This ‘Top Talk’ is not necessarily new – McRaven gave this speech in his 2014 Commencement Address to the students of the University of Texas (which is when I first heard it). However, it has always stuck with me as I’ve made my way through my University and young adult life. McRaven gives his 10 Life Lessons from his SEAL training:

  1. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed
  2. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle
  3. If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers
  4. If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward
  5. If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses
  6. If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first
  7. If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks
  8. If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment
  9. If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud
  10. If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell (to quit)

Although all of them are worth their weight in gold, I always liked number one and three the best:

Photography of Bedroom


This particular life lesson is especially notable (McRaven even published a book based around it). The idea is:

‘If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day.’

Your brain releases a hit of dopamine (a neurotransmitter responsible for generating feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction and happiness) every time you complete a task, meaning you will feel good and want to complete the next one.

By the end of the day, that one task head lead to many others, big and small.

Making your bed each morning is a reminder that the small things matter and are always worth doing. McRaven also reminds us that if we do have a crappy day, at least we will come home to a nicely made bed!


… or the size of anything else, for that matter – be it bank account, friend group or other.

McRaven speaks about the ‘Munchkin Crew’ – a crew of SEALS that were all under five-foot-five; but the best crew of the lot.

The other crews would lightheartedly make fun of the ‘Munchkins’, because their flippers were a smaller size than the rest. But no matter what, the Munchkins always made it to shore faster than all the other crews.

McRaven said SEAL training was a great equalizer:

‘Nothing mattered but your will to succeed. Not your color, not your ethnic background, not your education and not your social status.’

Pair of Black Flippers

McRaven’s main message throughout his speech is one of empowerment, and of the profound impact one person can have on the world and on others. One decision can have an incredible impact on those around us – meaning it is vitally important we make decisions that are embedded in integrity, compassion and strength. We need to band together, rather than let our differences keep us apart and be strong even when it seems we should give up.

There are a lot of sharks in the world. If you hope to complete the swim you will have to deal with them.


How Embracing Your Mental Illness Can Empower You.

‘The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.’
– Mark Twain

Mental Illness is a struggle that affects many people and can take many different forms.

Mental Illness can be lonely and debilitating, forcing us to withdraw socially and try to hide our condition from the world. One of the hardest things for those who are suffering from Mental Health Issues to do, is to accept their condition in the first place.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with being introverted, or enjoying time to ourselves, but it becomes a bigger issue when that becomes the norm. Balancing those qualities and still having (and maintaining) meaningful connections with those around us can sometimes be hard – especially when we choose not to accept our reality.

Many of us choose to suffer in the dark, rather than admit to anyone they are struggling, or are ‘different’ or ‘sick’. This shouldn’t have to happen.

There is far more beauty, strength and power in accepting and embracing our flaws.

‘The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.’

Mark Twain

Here are a few ways to learn how to embrace our struggles and turn them into something we can use in order to grow in our journey:

Get Diagnosed & Refer To Your Condition By Name.

Being diagnosed can often bring about shame or confusion in many people, as well as feelings of guilt or anger. ‘Why me?’ is something that people ask over and over again.

But as scary as being diagnosed is, it can be incredibly useful as well.

You can’t defeat something if you don’t know what it is you’re fighting. But knowing what you’re dealing with is the first step to finding a solution – a way to fight back.

If you’ve been diagnosed with Depression – call it by its name. Bi-Polar? Name it. Anxiety? Own it. If you name something, you own it. If you own it, you choose how much power it has over you.

If you choose to name your condition, you also help others put a name and face to the condition – making it far easier to relate to and empathize with – thus reducing the stigma attached to it.

Educate Yourself.

If you want to educate others, you start by educating yourself. If you want to be empowered and influential, the best thing you can do is learn as much as you can about the topic you want people to understand.

Having stories, facts and figures at our fingertips can prove incredibly important when we are trying to get our point across to someone. And learning just how many other people out there are in similar circumstances to us can propel us forward and give us hope and confidence.

Sidney Hook put it like this:

‘Everyone who remembers his own education remembers teachers, not methods and techniques. The teacher is the heart of the educational system.’

If we can learn about ourselves, and truly know ourselves, it can create an energy within and a fire that can’t be extinguished. Being able to feel good about ourselves starts from within.

Respect Your Mental Illness.

If you want to own your diagnosis, you need to learn how it works.

If you want to tame a beast, you need to know how to make it feel respected.

Some forces demand a certain amount of respect – they are powerful and damaging, but beautiful too – like fire.

The same thing goes for our Mental Health. If we want to own our diagnoses, we need to respect that there are going to be days that are better than others. And that’s okay.

Never minimize your condition. It simply is what it is, and that sometimes means adjusting ourselves accordingly.

For some, that means taking extra self-care steps. For others, it’s removing ourselves from a toxic situation.

Paying attention to ourselves and our conditions is critical when it comes to empowerment and feeling ‘in-control’.

Implement Self-Care Measures That Work For You.

Self-Care is meaningless if you aren’t focusing on yourself. Self-Care looks different for everyone – and that’s totally fine. What works for one, may not work for another.

The challenge is finding what does work best for us as individuals. There’s no point joining your friend for Yoga if you absolutely can’t stand getting sweaty and bending yourself into a knot. It may work for your friend, but not you.

For some of us, Self-Care is as simple as taking some time out for an afternoon nap. For others, it’s hitting the gym, or a nice hot bath.

Spend some time thinking about the last time you truly felt relaxed, and work from there. If you know how to manage the bad days, you will find yourself feeling much better and more in-control over our situation and condition.

And Lastly…

Embracing who you are is vital on all of our journeys – not just people with Mental Illnesses. Being able to accept who you are, flaws and all, is hard sometimes (even for the best of us). So don’t give up, and remember you are never alone.

If you’re feeling like you need to talk to someone, there are plenty of places you can reach out:



Black Dog Institute

Kids Helpline

MensLine Australia

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

Q Life (LGBTI+ Specific)


Headspace: 1800 650 890

Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800

MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978

QLife: 1800 184 527

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