Make Your Bed.
Change the World.
Dear Readers,
This week’s newsletter offers effective tips for teaching oneself and one's children about the importance of small change.

How important are chores and every day tasks for kids, let alone adults?
I’ve written a lot about how small shifts can affect big change – in education, in parenting, and in friendships. A new book Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World approaches this topic from a slightly different perspective and is a pretty convincing case for making those tiny changes that can transform everything!

In 2014, Admiral William H. McRaven, a retired Navy Seal and commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, spoke at the commencement ceremony of the University of Texas. McRaven, who oversaw the operation that killed Osama Bin Laden, spoke about the ways that the graduates could change the world. The speech was so inspirational and picked up by so many news sources, McRaven decided to formalize it and flesh it out into a book. That book, entitled Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World is the product of that speech.

In his speech, he mentions nine small things that you can do to change your life and the world.

  • Start off by making your bed. And, this isn’t just about throwing your blankets on the bed. Instead, have a system and stick to it. McRaven mentions that when they captured Saddam Hussein and he was sleeping in his cell, he never once made his bed, signaling to McRaven Saddam’s ultimate downfall. On a lighter note, starting off right with the little things will help you create order when you get to the bigger things.
  • Find someone to help you paddle. Your friends and colleagues are going to be the ones who support you through the good and the bad. They can also guide you when you go off track. Maybe sure you have those friends and colleagues and that you do the same for them.
  • Measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers. When McRaven was in basic training in the Navy SEALs, he saw a skinny, short frizzy haired young man who he was sure was in the wrong place. How could he survive just basic training? With guts and heart! That skinny, short, frizzy haired man turned out to be accepted in the FBI’s first Hostage Rescue Team.
  • Get used to be a sugar cookie. In Navy SEAL training if the recruits failed uniform inspection, McRaven explains, “you had to run, fully clothed into the surfzone and then, wet from head to toe, roll around on the beach until every part of your body was covered with sand. The effect was known as a ‘sugar cookie.’ You stayed in that uniform the rest of the day — cold, wet and sandy.” Accept what you can change and embrace it!
  • Don’t be afraid of the circus. If you failed to meet a standard in a training exercise in basic training, you were invited to a “circus,” which was two hours of extra exercise designed to wear you down. We are always going to fail at some point and there might be a circus at the end waiting to wear us down. Don’t be afraid of them, keep pushing.
  • Sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first. This goes along with being unafraid. Sometimes, you just have to dive in, otherwise you will never make it.
  • Don’t back down from the sharks. If there are enemies and predators, don’t back down. Instead, punch back. Actually, McRaven argues to punch them right in the snout.
  • Start signing when you’re up to your neck in mud. Hope is a great inspirer and a great way to overcome obstacles. Making light of the terrible situation you are in can ultimately help you and the others around you get out of it.
  • Don’t ever, ever ring the bell. McRaven explains, “In SEAL training there is a bell. A brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see. All you have to do to quit—is ring the bell. Ring the bell and you no longer have to wake up at 5 o’clock. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the freezing cold swims. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the PT—and you no longer have to endure the hardships of training. Just ring the bell. If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.”
Do you want to take small steps and change your world? Take a few tips from Admiral William H. McRaven. At the very least, you can start with making your bed in the morning.