Admiral William McRaven, Life Lessons from a Navy SEAL

Published on14 NOV 2014

Admiral William McRaven, former commander of the United States Special Operations Command, discusses leadership, geopolitics and veterans affairs.

On the perception of Navy SEALs: “There is this myth out there that [Navy SEALs] are these incredible supermen. I hate to burst that myth, but I think we’re just good at what we do. We take a lot of time to train and prepare. Like anybody in any profession, if you spend the time and effort to be good at what you do, you’re going to create that myth around you in a good way.”

On US involvement in international affairs: "We’ve got to decide as a nation, ‘Is it important for us to care about events that happen halfway around the world?’ My opinion is that it is important, because you can ignore them, but they will come back and [affect] you sooner or later."

On dealing with extremist groups: “You have to take a business analogy and lay that framework over the top of the military problem. A lot of what we’ve tried to do in the military is ask, ‘How do you cut off the funding [of extremist groups]?’ But at the same time you have to ask, ‘Is my product better than your product?’ Is the [central government] better than what the [extremist group] is providing to the country’s local population? If you can’t make that case, then you’re going to lose.”

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