Life Lesson 1
If You Want To Change the world
start off by making your bed
“Why do I have to make my bed? I’m just going to mess it up again anyway.”
If you’re a parent, you’ve heard this whine a thousand times. Here, at last, is the answer.
Every morning in SEAL basic training, the students are expected to make their beds perfectly, or they fail inspection. The ritual seemed a little ridiculous to a young McRaven, but he soon understood why.
“If you make your bed every morning,” he explains, “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. … 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.”
What this life lesson means to us
Diligence is an invisible virtue. When we look at people who are successful, we don’t see the hours they spent training, practicing and perfecting their skills. We only perceive their seemingly effortless success. And all the while, modern culture demands ways to get things done more quickly, more easily and with ever-decreasing effort.
Life Lesson Number 1 reminds us that we need to approach even the smallest tasks with diligence and pride. We have to learn the habit of doing things right the first time, because in life, there are no do-overs. And it reminds us that yes, it really is important to make your bed. Even if you’re going to mess it up again anyway.