If You Want To Change The World, Start Off By Making Your Bed

Naval Admiral William H. McRaven, a navy seal, gave the commencement address to a group of 8000 graduating students at his alma mata, and of the 10 life lessons he shared that he had learned from basic training, this was #1. “IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD, START OFF BY MAKING YOUR BED”.  Here’s why it is important to him, and at the end , I will share why it is important to me. Hopefully you will see the value in it as well.

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.

If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack—rack—that’s Navy talk for bed.

It was a simple task—mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle hardened SEALs—but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.

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. Making your bed will also 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 gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

So, if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

Growing up, I always had to make my bed and I guess as a rebellious act, I rarely made it in my 20’s and then never truly got in the habit of every single day, except in the last month. Since May 1, I have been doing it everyday without fail and it is incredible the difference it has made in the way I feel and how it has activated a part of my brain to get moving in the mornings. It is also incredibly cool to climb into a bed that you have to turn the sheets back as though you are closing the day with finesse and purpose.

xo, jan