Dan Crenshaw, seven lessons to live by

High School Graduation Speech Everyone Should Watch

This is a bit off-topic for a flood blog, but it may give inspiration to those who have been devastated by flooding and are fighting to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Congressman Dan Crenshaw, a Navy Seal who lost an eye in Afghanistan, has posted a powerful 9-minute speech on YouTube that everyone should listen to. Even though he’s addressing graduating high school seniors, it’s a powerful reminder to older people of the core values that make us strong as individuals and a nation.

U.S. Representative Dan Crenshaw and some words of wisdom to live by.

Crenshaw begins by asking a simple question: Will we be up to the task of meeting the challenges that life throws at us?

Seven Lessons to Live By

He then discusses seven principles that prepare you to deal with the inevitable curve balls that life throws at you. I summarize them below:

  1. Gain perspective. No matter what the challenge, others have had it harder.
  2. Choose your heroes wisely. Emulate the people who have inspired you. Use them as your roadmap to success.
  3. Shame is good. Not shaming others. But shame in the sense of holding yourself accountable to the person you want to be.
  4. Forget about Plan B. This doesn’t mean you can’t change direction. Quitting means settling on a version of yourself that you know could be better.
  5. Live with a sense of duty. Even when there may be no reward for doing the right thing, there’s no excuse not to do it.
  6. Be still. Emotional reactions to hardships chip away at your ability to persevere. So, stay calm.
  7. Embrace hardship. Find new ways to challenge yourself. Seek out hardship. It will make you better prepared to deal with those curve balls. Own your own destiny. Don’t let someone else dictate it for you.

An Ethos to Emulate

Crenshaw ends his speech with an allusion to the Navy Seal ethos. It’s not clear whether he’s quoting or adapting the Seal ethos at this point. But he sure is inspiring. Crenshaw ends with:

“I will not quit in face of danger or pain or self-doubt. I will not justify the easier path before me. I decide that all my actions, not just some, matter. Every small task is a contribution toward a higher purpose. Every day is undertaken with a sense of duty to become better than I was yesterday, even in the smallest of ways.”

“I seek out hardship. I do not run from pain, but embrace it. Because I derive strength from my suffering. I confront the inevitable trials of life with a smile. I plan to keep my head and be still when chaos overwhelms me. I will tell the story of my failures and hardships as a victor, not a victim.

“I will be grateful. Millions who have gone before me have suffered too much, fought too hard, and been blessed with far too little for me to squander this life. So I won’t.

“My purpose will be to protect and uphold the spirit of my great country, knowing that the values and freedoms we hold dear have been paid for with blood and can only be preserved by a strong people. So, I will do my part. I will live my life with fortitude.”

Words of wisdom. For everyone. Not just graduates.

Please take ten minutes to watch Congressman Crenshaw’s video with family and friends – before Memorial Day.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/21/2023

2091 Days since Hurricane Harvey