I make the bed every morning. It’s been a habit of mine most of my life. Somehow in the middle of the chaos and clutter of my life, that made bed stands in hopeful defiance.
Admiral William H. McRaven a highly decorated Navy Seal, retired in 2014 from a 37-year military career. He oversaw Operation Neptune Spear – the military operation that culminated in the death of Osama bin Laden. In the year of his retirement, he was commencement speaker at the graduation ceremony of University of Texas – Austin. Photo Credit: Pinterest
As he encouraged the young graduates, he told of 10 lessons in his SEAL basic training. Beginning with “Make Your Bed”, they follow in brief (you can watch the video of his speech or read more detailed highlights here).
10 Life Lessons to Change Your World
1. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
2. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.
3. If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.
4. If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.
5. If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.
6. If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.
7. If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.
8. If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment.
9. If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.
10. If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.
Adm. McRaven closed the commencement speech with the following challenge:
“Start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often . . . but if you take some risks, step up when the times are the toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up….if you do these things, the next generation, and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today, and what started here will indeed have changed the world for the better.” – Navy Adm. William McRaven
Commencement speeches are meant to be inspiring, and this definitely hit the mark. What actually stayed with me the most was the formation of habits as key to changing the world – making your bed, building community, enduring with hope, never quitting.
Maybe making your bed isn’t the one small task completed that makes for the foundation of the many larger tasks of your day. Whatever your particular routines or habits, they are worth considering for the weight of importance they might have in your life…with the possibility, even, of changing a world.
What habit or routine gets you started well each day? How do Adm. McRaven’s 10 Lessons of Basic SEAL training resonate? Maybe “changing the world” is too big a goal for a Monday morning, but whatever the goal, where do we begin to take aim?
Photo Credit: Fast Company