Admiral William H.McRaven says in his book, Make Your Bed, If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.
William Harry McRaven (born November 6, 1955) is a retired United States Navy four-star admiral who served as the ninth commander of the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) from August 8, 2011, to August 28, 2014. From 2015 to 2018, he was the chancellor of The University of Texas System.
He wrote the book, named Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World, that was published in 2017.
In this book, he wrote about 10 important lessons that he has learned in his thirty-seven years of service as a special unit of the Navy. He explained that if you use these tips in your life and care about them, you can change your life and become successful.
This book has 10 chapters and in each chapter, H.Mcraven explains a piece of advice based on his experiences and stories in the navy:
Start Your Day with a Task Completed
If you want to change the world … start off by making your bed.
Nothing can replace the strength and comfort of one’s faith, but sometimes the simple act of making your bed can give you the lift you need to start your day and provide you the satisfaction to end it right.
He says,” Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Vietnam veterans, would show up in my barracks room, and the first thing they would inspect was your bed. It was a simple task, mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection.”
Making your bed will reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right. And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed encourages you that tomorrow will be better.
You can’t go at it alone
If you want to change the world … find someone to help you paddle.
You cannot paddle the boat alone. Find someone to share your life with. Make as many friends as possible, and never forget that your success depends on others.
You can’t change the world alone—you will need some help—and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the goodwill of strangers, and a strong coxswain to guide them.
Only the size of your heart matters
If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.
The Navy 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.
Life’s not fair—drive on!
If you want to change the world … get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward. (If a Navy SEAL fails to follow basic requirements (such as making their bed perfectly), they’re instructed to roll around on the beach until they’re covered head to toe with wet sand—referred to as a “sugar cookie”).
The common people and the great men and women are all defined by how they deal with life’s unfairness:
Sometimes no matter how hard you try, no matter how good you are, you still end up as a sugar cookie. Don’t complain. Don’t blame it on your misfortune. Stand tall, look to the future, and drive on!
Failure can make you stronger
If you want to change the world … don’t be afraid of The Circus. (In Navy SEAL training, “The Circus” is another two hours of additional calisthenics, combined with non-stop harassment by SEAL combat veterans who want only the strong to survive the training.)
In life, you will face a lot of Circuses. You will pay for your failures. But, if you persevere, if you let those failures teach you and strengthen you, then you will be prepared to handle life’s toughest moments.
True leaders must learn from their failures, use the lessons to motivate themselves, and not be afraid to try again or make the next tough decision.
Sometimes no matter how well you prepare or how well you perform you still end up as a sugar cookie. It’s just the way life is sometimes.
You must dare greatly
If you want to change the world … slide down the obstacle head first.
Life is a struggle and the potential for failure is ever-present, but those who live in fear of failure, hardship, or embarrassment will never achieve their potential. Without pushing your limits, without occasionally sliding down the rope headfirst, without daring greatly, you will never know what is truly possible in your life.
Stand up to the bullies
If you want to change the world … don’t back down from the sharks.
In life, to achieve your goals, to complete the night swim, you will have to be men and women of great courage. That courage is within all of us. Dig deep, and you will find it in abundance.
There are a lot of sharks in the world. If you hope to complete the swim you will have to deal with them.
Rise to the occasion
If you want to change the world … be your very best in the darkest moments.
Advice from one of McRaven’s chief petty officers: “Tonight, you will have to be your very best. You must rise above your fears, your doubts, and your fatigue. No matter how dark it gets, you must complete the mission. This is what separates you from everyone else.”
At some point, we will all confront a dark moment in life. If not the passing of a loved one, then something else that crushes your spirit and leaves you wondering about your future. In that dark moment, reach deep inside yourself and be your very best.
Every SEAL knows that under the keel, at the darkest moment of the mission, is the time when you must be calm—composed—when all your tactical skills, your physical power, and all your inner strength must be brought to bear.
Give people hope
If you want to change the world … start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.
We will all find ourselves neck-deep in mud someday. That is the time to sing loudly, to smile broadly, to lift those around you, and give them hope that tomorrow will be a better day.
One person can change the world by giving people hope.
Never, ever quit!
If you want to change the world … don’t ever, ever ring the bell.
Of all the lessons McRaven learned in SEAL training, this was the most important. Never quit. It doesn’t sound particularly profound, but life constantly puts you in situations where quitting seems so much easier than continuing. Where the odds are so stacked against you that giving up seems the rational thing to do.
Life is full of difficult times. But someone out there always has it worse than you do. If you fill your days with pity, sorrow for the way you have been treated, bemoaning your lot in life, blaming your circumstances on someone or something else, then life will be long and hard. If, on the other hand, you refuse to give up on your dreams, stand tall and strong against the odds—then life will be what you make of it—and you can make it great. Never, ever, ring the bell!