Make Your Bed Like a Navy Seal: 10 Lessons from Admiral William H. McRaven

Make Your Bed

Make Your Bed Like a Navy Seal: 10 Lessons from Admiral William H. McRaven

Make your bed

The way you start your day sets the tone for the rest of your day. To make your bed may seem like a simple task, but it has the power to set you on the path to success. In his popular book, “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe Even the World,” by Admiral William H. McRaven shares ten valuable lessons he learned during his time as a Navy SEAL.

One of the most important lessons he shares is the importance of making your bed every morning.

In this post, we’ll explore the reasons why making your bed is so important and what we can learn from Admiral McRaven’s experience. Whether you’re a student, a busy professional, or simply someone who wants to start their day on the right foot, you’ll find inspiration and practical advice in this post.

Introduction to Admiral William H. McRaven and his legacy

Admiral William H. McRaven is a retired United States Navy Admiral who served his country for 37 years. He is a renowned Navy SEAL and is best known for commanding the mission that led to the death of Osama bin Laden. McRaven has also served as the chancellor of the University of Texas System and is a highly respected public speaker and author.

In his book, “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe Even the World,” Admiral McRaven emphasizes the importance of small daily tasks and how they can have a profound impact on personal and professional success. Through his experiences as a Navy SEAL, he shares ten lessons that are applicable to all aspects of life, from making your bed in the morning to leading a team in combat.

McRaven’s legacy is one of leadership, courage, and perseverance. His book has inspired people all over the world to take control of their lives and make a difference, no matter how small the task at hand may seem.

Lesson #1: Start Your Day with a Task Completed

Admiral William H. McRaven, the author of the book “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe Even the World”, believes in the power of starting your day with a task completed. According to him, making your bed every morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.

When you wake up and make your bed, you are accomplishing a task right off the bat. This small win can set the tone for the rest of your day, making you feel productive and motivated to tackle the rest of your tasks. It also gives you a sense of control and order, which can help reduce stress and anxiety.

Starting your day with a completed task doesn’t have to stop at making your bed. You could also start your day by doing a quick workout, completing a small work task, or even just taking a few minutes to tidy up your workspace.

The key is to start your day with a sense of accomplishment and momentum.

By starting your day with a task completed, you are setting yourself up for success. You are building positive habits and developing a mindset of productivity and achievement.

So, take Admiral McRaven’s advice and make your bed every morning. You might be surprised at how much it can change your life.

Lesson #2: You Can’t Do It Alone

In his book, Admiral William H. McRaven emphasizes the importance of teamwork and the need to rely on others to achieve success. He explains that no one can do everything alone and that even the most talented individuals need the support and assistance of others to accomplish their goals.

This principle is especially important in the context of the military, where the success of a mission often depends on the ability of a team to work together effectively. However, it is just as relevant in other areas of life, including business, relationships, and personal development.

To apply this lesson, you must first recognize that you need help and support from others. This may involve reaching out to mentors, seeking advice from colleagues, or collaborating with others on a project.

It also means being willing to offer your own support and assistance to others when they need it. By working together and relying on the strengths and abilities of others, you can achieve more than you ever could alone.

Lesson #3: Only the Size of Your Heart Matters

Admiral William H. McRaven, a retired United States Navy admiral, famously gave a commencement speech at the University of Texas at Austin in 2014, where he shared 10 lessons he learned during his navy SEAL training. One of the most powerful lessons he shared was that only the size of your heart matters.

McRaven explained that during his SEAL training, he witnessed physically strong trainees fail while others who were less physically fit passed. The difference was not in their physical abilities but in their hearts. Those who had a strong heart were able to push themselves to the limit and overcome any obstacle, while those who didn’t have the same level of heart, failed to make it through.

This lesson is not just relevant to Navy SEAL training, but to life in general.

It’s a reminder that having a strong heart, a never-give-up attitude, and a willingness to push yourself beyond your limits are what truly matter when it comes to achieving success in any field.

It’s also a reminder that physical strength alone is not enough to achieve your goals. You need to have mental and emotional strength as well, and the determination to keep going even when things get tough. By focusing on cultivating a strong heart, you can develop the resilience and grit you need to overcome any obstacle and achieve your dreams.

Lesson #4: Life’s Not Fair—Drive On!

One of the most important lessons that Admiral William H. McRaven shares in his book “Make Your Bed” is that life is not fair. He points out that we all face challenges and obstacles in life, and sometimes things don’t go as planned. The key is to keep moving forward and not let these challenges hold us back.

This lesson is especially relevant for those who aspire to become a Navy SEAL, as the selection process is incredibly tough and the training is grueling. The SEALs are trained to be resilient and to keep pushing forward, no matter how difficult things may be.

The same principle applies in our personal and professional lives. When we face setbacks, we need to adopt a “drive on” mentality and keep moving forward. This means not dwelling on the past or getting bogged down by our failures.

Instead, we need to focus on what we can control and take steps to move in the right direction.

Adopting this mindset can help us overcome challenges and achieve our goals, no matter how difficult they may seem. By embracing the “life’s not fair—drive on” mentality, we can become more resilient, focused, and determined to succeed.

Lesson #5: Failure Can Make You Stronger

One of the most important lessons that Admiral McRaven learned during his Navy SEAL training is that failure can make you stronger. Contrary to popular belief, failure is not the end of the road. It is a stepping stone towards success.

Failure teaches you valuable lessons that you would not have learned otherwise. It shows you what doesn’t work and helps you to refine your approach until you find what does work.

In the Navy SEALs, failure can be a matter of life and death. A mistake can cost the lives of your teammates or yourself. However, rather than being discouraged by failure, SEALs are trained to use it to their advantage. They learn from their mistakes, adjust their approach, and try again until they succeed.

This lesson is applicable in all areas of life, not just in military training. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a student, or a professional, you will encounter failures on your journey towards success.

The key is to use those failures as opportunities to learn and grow.

Don’t let failures break you. Instead, let them make you stronger. Remember, success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.

Lesson #6: You Must Dare Greatly

In Lesson #6 of Admiral William H. McRaven’s book “Make Your Bed Like a Navy Seal,” he emphasizes the importance of daring greatly in achieving success. He explains that in order to achieve great things, one must be willing to take risks and step outside of their comfort zone.

This means pushing past fear and doubt, and taking action towards your goals even when it feels uncomfortable or uncertain.

Admiral McRaven shares his own experiences of daring greatly throughout his career, from jumping out of airplanes to leading missions as a Navy SEAL.

He stresses that failure is inevitable, but it’s how you respond to failure that defines your success. By daring greatly and taking risks, you open yourself up to new opportunities and experiences, and ultimately, you will grow and learn from those experiences.

This lesson is applicable not just in military life, but in business and personal life as well.

Taking calculated risks and daring greatly can lead to innovation, growth, and ultimately, success.

By stepping outside of our comfort zones and pushing past fear, we can achieve great things and become the best versions of ourselves.

Lesson #7: Stand Up to the Bully

In his book “Make Your Bed,” Admiral William H. McRaven shares a valuable lesson about standing up to bullies. He recounts how during his SEAL training, he had a fellow trainee who was constantly bullied by their instructor. The trainee was constantly belittled, insulted, and even physically punished for no reason. This went on for weeks until one day, the trainee had enough and stood up to the bully.

While it may seem terrifying to stand up to a bully, Admiral McRaven’s lesson is that it’s essential to do so. In his experience, once the trainee stood up to the bully, the instructor never bothered him again. This lesson is applicable not only in military training but also in our daily lives.

Often, people who bully others are doing so because they feel powerful and in control. By standing up to them, you are taking away their power and showing them that their behavior is unacceptable. This is not to say that standing up to a bully will always result in an immediate change in their behavior, but it’s a step in the right direction towards ending bullying.

Admiral McRaven’s lesson is a reminder that we should never tolerate bullying in any form. Whether it’s in the workplace, school, or personal relationships, standing up to bullies shows strength and courage and is an important step towards creating a safer and more respectful environment for everyone.

Lesson #8: Rise to the Occasion

Admiral William H. McRaven, a retired United States Navy admiral, is known for his inspirational speeches and his book, “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe Even the World.”

One of the key lessons McRaven teaches is to “rise to the occasion.” In other words, when faced with a challenge or difficult task, do not back down or give up. Instead, step up and rise to the challenge.

This is a valuable lesson that applies not only in military situations but also in everyday life. When faced with a difficult project at work or a personal challenge, it can be tempting to give up or avoid the task altogether.

However, if we rise to the occasion and tackle the challenge head-on, we can often surprise ourselves with what we are capable of achieving.

McRaven’s message is clear: we are all capable of achieving great things if we rise to the occasion and never give up.

So the next time you are faced with a difficult task, remember to channel your inner Navy Seal and rise to the occasion.

Lesson #9: Give People Hope

Lesson #9 from Admiral William H. McRaven’s “Make Your Bed” is to give people hope. This is a powerful lesson that can have a profound impact on people’s lives. As McRaven notes, “Hope is the most powerful force in the universe.”

When we give people hope, we give them the strength and motivation to keep going, to keep fighting, and to never give up.

As a leader, it’s important to give your team hope, especially during difficult times. This can be done in many ways – through words of encouragement, through setting achievable goals, or by simply being a positive role model.

By giving people hope, you inspire them to be their best selves and to contribute to something greater than themselves.

But giving people hope is not just important in the workplace – it’s important in every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s a friend going through a tough time, a family member facing a difficult diagnosis, or a community dealing with a crisis, hope can make all the difference.

By offering a kind word, a listening ear, or a helping hand, we can give people hope and help them to see that there is a way forward.

In conclusion, giving people hope is a powerful tool that can change lives.

By embodying this lesson from Admiral McRaven, we can inspire others to be their best selves and to never give up, no matter how difficult the road ahead may be.


Lesson #10: Never, Ever Quit!

Lesson #10 from Admiral William H. McRaven is one of the most important lessons he shares. He says, “never, ever quit!” Life can be tough, and when you are faced with difficult situations, it can be tempting to give up. But quitting is not an option for Navy Seals, and it shouldn’t be for you either.

When you encounter obstacles, you should push through and keep going. Failure is a part of life, and it is important to learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward. Giving up may seem like the easy way out, but it will only lead to regret and missed opportunities.

One way to keep yourself motivated is by setting goals and working towards them each day. Whether it’s a big project at work or a personal goal, breaking it down into smaller, manageable tasks can help you stay on track and build momentum.

Another way to stay motivated is to surround yourself with positive people who encourage and support you. Having a good support system can make all the difference when you are feeling discouraged or overwhelmed.

Remember, success is not always easy, but it is worth the effort. If you never, ever quit, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

Make your bed

Conclusion and advice on how to apply these lessons to your daily life.

In conclusion, the lessons we can learn from Admiral William H. McRaven’s speech can be applied to our daily lives in many ways. By setting small goals and achieving them, we can build momentum and accomplish bigger things. By taking responsibility for our mistakes, we can learn from them and grow. By persevering through tough times, we can become stronger and more resilient.

To apply these lessons to our daily lives, we need to start by setting achievable goals for ourselves. These could be as simple as making our bed every morning, going for a walk every day, or reading for 30 minutes before bed each night. By achieving these goals, we build confidence in ourselves and our abilities.

Next, we need to take responsibility for our mistakes. This means admitting when we’ve done something wrong and taking steps to make things right. By doing so, we can learn from our mistakes and avoid making the same ones in the future.

Finally, we need to persevere through tough times. This means keeping a positive attitude and not giving up when things get difficult. By doing so, we can become stronger and more resilient, and ultimately achieve our goals.

By applying these lessons to our daily lives, we can become more disciplined, more focused, and more successful. So whether you’re a Navy Seal, a student, or a stay-at-home parent, take these lessons to heart and start making your bed like a Navy Seal today!

I hope you enjoyed reading about the 10 lessons from Admiral William H. McRaven on how to make your bed like a Navy Seal. It’s incredible how a simple task like making your bed can have such a significant impact on the rest of your day.

I hope that you found these lessons valuable and that you can apply them to other areas of your life as well.

Remember, it’s the small things that often make the biggest difference. So, go ahead, make your bed, and start your day off on the right foot!

Marlene Waetzoldt

Recommended Reading:

How To Own Your Mornings And Elevate Your Life

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma

The Four Interior Empires – Mindset, Heartset, Healthset, and Soulset


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