A couple of years back, I heard a commencement speech by US Navy Admiral William McRaven, and it completely changed my life.
At the time, I was a recent college graduate that just started my full-time job. I was young, impressionable, and in search of ways to get ahead in life. The simple, shockingly effective life-hack has stuck with me ever since.
“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.”
When I heard the speech, I immediately started making my bed, whether I wanted to or not.
“What excuse do you have Devin?”, I asked myself.
“You should already be making your bed.”
While I haven’t seen overnight success as a result, on days that I make my bed, I’m more confident, efficient, and get more done. And for a task I should be doing anyway, that’s pretty darn good.
As Admiral McRaven said, accomplishing this small task in the morning gives me a sense of accomplishment and creates momentum to build on for the rest of the day. Within minutes of waking up, I’ve completed something productive and am ready for the next challenge. It’s a simple, effective life-hack that gave new meaning to something my parents tried teaching me when I was a little boy.
For some reason, my parents’ advice didn’t stick back then. But Admiral McRaven's speech connected with me on a much deeper level.
His advice spoke to my desire to be better, do more, and change the world. And he gave me hope that a small task like making my bed will help me do just that.
If you want to hear the full speech, here it is: