Admiral William H. McRaven is one of my very few living American heroes.
We’ve created Notes on three of his great books.
We started with Make Your Bed—a short, brilliant, inspiring manual all about “Little Things That Can Change Your Life... And Maybe the World” that was inspired by the commencement address he gave at the University of Texas at Austin that went viral.
Then we featured his autobiography, Sea Stories, which is all about the wisdom he gained from his nearly four decades in special operations.
When I saw the title to his newest book, I KNEW I had to read it and I KNEW I’d love it.
It’s called The Hero Code.
It’s a super-quick reading, incredibly inspiring look at “Lessons Learned from Lives Well Lived” in which Admiral McRaven walks us through the lives of everyday heroes who showed up and gave us all they had. I highly recommend it. (Get a copy here.)
McRaven tells us: “I came to realize that there is a hero in all of us. There is an innate code that has been there since the birth of mankind. It is written in our DNA. It is what drove the great expansion of humanity out of Africa. It summoned the explorers to cross the deserts and the seas. It helped create the great faiths. It emboldened the early scientists and philosophers. It nurtured the ill and infirm. It spoke truth to masses. It brought order to chaos and hope to the desperate. This code is not a cipher, or a cryptograph, or a puzzle to be solved. It is a moral code, an internal code of conduct that drives the human race to explore, to nurture, to comfort, to inspire, and to laugh so that societies can flourish.”
The Hero Code.
Admiral McRaven tells us that it is a moral code and, in the book, walks us through ten of the core virtues that make up the code as he shares the story of an everyday hero who embodied that particular virtue.
Each virtue has its own commitment.
Here they are.
“I will always strive to be COURAGEOUS; to take one step forward as I confront my fears.
I will work to be HUMBLE; to recognize the limits of my intellect, my understanding, and my power.
I will learn to SACRIFICE by giving a little of my time, my talent, and my treasure to those in need.
I will be a person of INTEGRITY; every decision I make and every action I take will be moral, legal, and ethical.
I will be kind and COMPASSIONATE to at least one person every single day and expect nothing in return.
I will never give up on matters that are important to me, my family, my country, my faith. I will PERSEVERE.
Whatever job I am given, whatever DUTY I am bound by, I will do it to the best of my ability.
I will use my unique talents to inspire others and give them HOPE that tomorrow will be a better day.
I will use HUMOR to comfort others, and never be afraid to laugh at myself.
No matter how great or small the offense against me, I will FORGIVE. I will be the victor, not the victim.”
The Hero Code has ten core virtues: Courage. Humility. Sacrifice. Integrity. Compassion. Perseverance. Duty. Hope. Humor. Forgiveness.
How are YOU doing with each?
Anything jump out that might be working really well for you?
How about anything that might need a little (or a lot!) of work from you?
Here’s to living in integrity with our highest values, Hero.
But, as always, TODAY.
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