Transcript for Admiral William McRaven on His Next Mission
It's commencement time when so many speakers are looking for just the right advice for graduates. This morning we shine our Sunday spotlight on admiral William Mcraven's surprising speech last year that went viral and is still resonating today. Reporter: He's had one of the most remarkable military careers in recent history. Taking on some of the toughest special operations missions, including the raid to take out the world's top terrorist. Thank you. Reporter: So imagine the response when this was the simple advice admiral William Mcraven offered graduates last year at the university of Texas. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. Reporter: The speech became a youtube sensation. If you can't do the little things right, you'll never be able to do the big things right. 3 million hits, did you ever imagine? No. Reporter: Mcraven, while unfailingly humble, is often mentioned in the same breath as some of the greatest American military leaders, Mcarthur and Eisenhower. I was very fortunate as the understanding and appreciation for special operations became greater and greater at the national level that I rode this wave to where I ended up. I certainly would not put myself in the league with those other great leaders. It was a movie that inspired a young Mcraven to join the S.E.A.L.S. I watched the movie "The green beret" with John Wayne. It's a classic. Take the platoon down! Reporter: But he told us he has never watched the Hollywood blockbuster, "Zero dark 30" that immortalized his accomplishments. Sir, the agency expert gave visual confirmation. You will forever be known as the man who planned the Osama bin laden raid. I'm proud and honored to have been a part of it. But as I have told other folks, we had 11 other missions going on that night in Afghanistan. This is what we do. Reporter: In fact, Mcraven never imagined he would have anything to do with bringing down bin laden after a nearly fatal parachuting accident left him bedridden with a shattered pelvis. For a Navy S.E.A.L. To be in bed and somewhat hobbled, that had to be tough. It was because I thought at the time that my opportunity for commanding troops and being able to do something about the events of 9/11, I really thought my time was passed. Reporter: Instead, Mcraven was summoned to the white house and on to lead those special operations forces. Now he is taking on his next leadership challenge, heading back to where he gave that commencement speech, as chancellor of the university of Texas system, overseeing some 214,000 students and another 90,000 faculty and staff, a small army in itself. I've been careful about using the terms but I look at the students, they're kind of my troops. My responsibility is to them. Reporter: He is a popular choice for chancellor, but Mcraven has already made a political splash since arriving in Texas, taking unpopular stances on hot button campus issues. You oppose concealed carry on campus. I'm a big second amendment guy. I've got nine weapons, six swords and two tomahawks but my responsibility is to ensure that I'm providing the safest environment in which students can learn. Reporter: The new job is a complicated one, but he remains grounded in the simple truths he shared with his students. Face down the bullies, lift up the down troden and never ever give up. If you do these things, the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today. In Texas nobody comes up to me and says you're the guy that led the bin laden raid but they come up all the time and say you're the guy that gave the commencement speech. I'm happy to have that be my legacy. And forget the bin laden. And forget the rest of it. Our thanks to admiral Mcraven. That's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "World news tonight." And to all the moms out there, happy mother's day.h us.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.