Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life By Admiral William H. McRaven
Ever wonder how professional athletes or actors make their performance seem so easy compared to novices? The answer lies in that they have perfected the little things. Admiral William H. McRaven gave the commencement speech at The University of Texas Austin that went viral on YouTube. As a Navy SEAL he learned that success in life is ultimately decided by having discipline and focusing on the details. Each morning in seal boot camp McRaven had to make his bed which seems relatively trivial when you are being constantly harassed and lacking sleep during the toughest military training in the world. However, making your bed enforces the belief that starting your day with a win makes you feel proud and ready to deal with the rest of the challenges for the day.
McRaven also tells a great story of when he was in the throes of Hell week. With endless hazing and virtually no sleep the cadets were stuck spending their evening covered in cold mud. All seemed hopeless as the quitters kept pilling up and dusk had just began taking over the southern California sky. Suddenly one man began to sing. Confused cadets couldn’t decipher what they were hearing as the off-key cadet kept singing. Soon one joined in and another. Suddenly the mud felt less cool and the night not so long. Life, work and other responsibilities will get tough and things will not go your way. That’s life. However, during those times it is even more important to lean on close friends and family. Overall, this book is an inspiring read with quick digestible chapters.
Key takeaway: One takeaway from this book that I practice in my day to day is McRaven’s attitude towards failure. When a SEAL fails training for the day they were forced to do extra calisthenics after hours which was dubbed the Circus. The funny takeaway was that those who did not give up and completed the extra Circus workouts came back stronger due to the extra training. When the going gets tough, dig in a little bit more.
Quote of the book: “Life is a struggle and the potential for failure is ever present, but those who live in fear of failure, or 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.”
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