Make your bed

James Mills > Blog > Make your bed

I am not sure how I first came across the video of Admiral William H. McRaven addressing the University of Texas at Austin Class of 2014, but I remember it immediately inspiring me to research more. One of the most inspiring parts of the video was when he suggests that the simple act of making your bed could enable you to change your life and maybe the world!

Change the World by Making Your Bed

Admiral William McRaven

I have included the full video below, which you can watch on YouTube and I hope that it inspires you as much as it has inspired me.

When I was younger my mum would always encourage me to make my bed in the morning. I never really understood why I should waste time and effort making my bed when, at the end of the day, I would just mess it up again anyway. Turns out my mum had a very valid point.

Admiral William McRaven suggests that the simplicity of straightening the covers and rearranging the pillows gives you a “sense of accomplishment.” 

The simplicity of straightening the covers and rearranging the pillows gives you a “sense of accomplishment.”

Admiral William McRaven

I love this concept and so started to make my bed every morning. I don’t just mean I straightening the covers a little, I go all out. I spend time making sure I plump the pillows, straightening the fitted sheet and pulling the duvet tight. I don’t get the ruler out, but I am close!

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.

Admiral William McRaven

I tend to go to the gym first thing in the morning, often leaving my wife still in bed. I’ve noticed that when I return from the gym, the bed is already made. Making the bed is a behavior my wife has now picked up on, which gives me even more of a sense of accomplishment than making the bed itself.

This minor task gives more reward than just starting the day right. After a hard day at work, when it’s time to go to bed, it feels so good to get into a well made bed.

I challenge you to try this and I would encourage you to watch the below video and read the book.

I went on to research more about Admiral William McRaven and found he had written a book called Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World. I immediately ordered the book and finished reading it the day I received it.

I would love to hear how you guys start your day.

Excerpt from speach

This is an excerpt from the video where he talks about the importance of starting the day by making your bed.

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 — 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.

Remarks by Naval Adm. William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, at the University-wide Commencement at The University of Texas at Austin on May 17

Watch the full speech

Buy the book from Amazon

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