Life Lessons In Book Make Your Bed

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My mom always told me that starting your day by making your bed was the first step to bettering yourself. She said this because after completing one habit, you will continue to create more. See, it is proven that it takes 21 days to create a habit and 90 days to create a new lifestyle. In the book, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World by Adm. William McRaven, McRaven talks about how one little habit will change your outlook on conquering the world and completing many other things.

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McRaven was a graduate of the University of Texas and a Navy SEAL. The way he presented himself in the speech was that 37 years ago, he was like any other college student. He even remarked that at his own graduation he had a pounding headache from a party the night before. McRaven’s own graduation was when he was commissioned into the Navy. What stood out to me in the speech was the acknowledgement that if anything from the speech should be memorable it was how he lived out the University of Texas at Austin’s motto “What starts here changes the world” in his days being in the Navy. My favorite part of the speech was when he commanded that if every graduate would go try to change ten peoples lives with inspiration for change in their everyday choices, then those ten could do the same and then those ten, the lives of 8 million people would be making changes for the better of the world.

In the speech McRaven talks about the toughest times to ever endure. Sugar cookie, sharks, and swimming through ten foot waves in the dark; too name a few. He experienced these dreaded missions while he was training to be a Navy SEAL. To be a Navy SEAL his days were filled with “uniform inspections, long swims, longer runs, obstacle courses, and constant harassment from the SEAL instructors” (3). But, all of this helped him spark conversation and spread constant encouragement throughout the world. All of this connecting to the title of the book. The simple command to make your bed everyday. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. You’ll have completed the first and most important job of the day if you make your bed every morning. It will give you a little sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another job, another job, and a different job. By the end of the day, it will have turned one job completed into many tasks. The fact that little things matter in life will also be reinforced by making your bed. And when you are finished with your day you will come home to a made bed, the greatest satisfaction. When you can’t do that, how can you accomplish greater things?

The ten fundamental life lessons in the book consisted of his explanation of the name of the lesson, the training endured to accomplish this lesson and how it could and would affect one in their everyday life. Start off by making your bed. McRaven speaks on how making the bed was the first challenge to be conquered every day. The folds had to be in the right places, nothing could deterre from that. It was the simplest task they were taught to do correctly because everything must be in order as a SEAL. The training endured resulting a failed bed check were punishments like the dreaded sugar cookie. When McRaven got injured from a mission later in his time as a SEAL, he was bed ridden. Going from making a tremendous difference in enemies line to being stuck in a bed recovering from a massive accident, one would lose all self of identity. McRaven kept his identity by doing what was known to him, making his bed. Because no matter how one’s day is going, at least ones bed is made and welcoming. If you want to change the world… start off by making your bed. The next life lesson was “You can’t go it alone” which is about seven men working together to paddle a ten foot rubber boat to its final destination in the unpredictable ocean coastline. They were trained for this phase by having to carry the boat together as a group above their heads everywhere they went, through the barracks, where they ate, and down the coronado sand dunes. If one person slacked, they were all going to have to pick up the slack for him, this was an ultimate group effort that helped teach to depend on others and not to be selfish. If someone was hurt or sick, everyone in the group sacrificed for their well being. This taught the trainees that when the time came later on, they must return the help. One might apply this lesson in a less literal way. The whole lesson had the ultimate idea that you can’t go at it alone because you can’t change the world alone. You will need some help and to truly complete a task you will need help from others, and in society it should be expected that a helping hand would be offered in return. If you want to change the world… find someone to help you paddle. Next, only the size of your heart matters. In this training story McRaven speaks on the fact that the SEAL training squad was filled with men from every corner of the nation. This group was not only a diverse group, it was filled with the smallest trainees and they were judged for the tiny flippers they wore for the two mile swim in the ocean. These men were tiny but the were incredibly fast. They were judged for their size and ended up blowing everyone away in their swim. One could simply learn and compare the saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”. If you want to change the world… measure a person by the size of their heart. The most dreaded lesson that McRaven experienced was getting over being a sugar cookie. In SEAL training any slight mishap resulted in becoming a human sugar cookie. These mishaps included failed bed checks, non shiny uniforms, not completing the obstacle course, talking back, and not running or swimming fast enough. McRaven had no reason for becoming a sugar cookie but his instructor had the idea of “ life isn’t fair and the sooner you learn the better off you will be”. Most SEALs want to make themselves look like the most professional and strived to be the very best possible, so becoming a sugar cookie was the most soul defeating tasks. Becoming a sugar cookie includes taking a dip in the pacific ocean fully clothed head to toe in their uniform and then rolling around in the coronado sand dunes making sure not one bit of themselves are not covered in sand. One must go about their day with sand all over himself, uncomfortable and defeated. In life no matter how well things are going and no matter everything lining up correctly you will experience being defeated as a sugar cookie. Life is not fair but you must drive on. If you want to change the world… get over being a sugar cookie. The fifth lesson was that failure can make you stronger. After a long day of long swims, long runs, even longer swims, and a few obstacle courses a list is put up with names of trainees that did not meet the standard for the day. These trainees must endure another two hour obstacle course that breaks your already tired self more down then you will ever feel, called the circus. For the fatiqued McRaven, he experienced the circus back to back everyday for countless days. The interesting thing is that because he was doing this extra work, he was getting stronger day by day. Becoming one of the fastest swimmers in the group. If you want to change the world… don’t be afraid of The Circus, it can only get better from there. The next advice could be considerred reckless but it does not need to be read literally. One must dare greatly. When McRaven was training the obstacle course record had not been broken in over a decade. Someone in his training class decided it was time to dare greatly and go down the rope headfirst. One bad move and it was over for this SEAL. So be prepared to jump. If you want to change the world… slide down the obstacle headfirst.

The life lesson that stood out to me was the chapter seven, standing up to the bullies. He compares bullies to the sharks they could possibly endure while doing their night swim. These sharks could come out of the blue at the middle of the night and they are trained to fight them off. Just how bullies can randomly come out of the blue, in the dark. He confronts this lesson by rising to the occasion in every aspect of life. Bullies come when you least expect it and when one is weak. That is why you must rise up, be strong and never act defeated. Personally, my best friend started making constant remarks that I never realized how hurtful they were until I took a step back. Little by little these remarks started tearing me down. I soon began to realize the effect it made out of my life, the best friend turned bully, and I rose up, forgive, and move on as the bigger man. This chapter is relevant for any aged reader. From youth to adulthood one will experience the criticism and hatred that could bite like a shark, but one must rise to the occasion, rise out of the wave and conquer each day at a time.  

07 July 2022

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