Change the World by Making Your Bed
Recently, I came across the following video, which shows Admiral William McRaven giving a commencement speech at the University of Texas. Among many other things, he explains why it is so important to make your bed every morning and to keep this routine.
1. Our Smallest Actions Can Make a Big Difference
This video went viral, but why? I think there are two reasons: Firstly, because of his explanation how small things turn into big things. If we can’t do the little things right, how are we supposed to master the big things? This idea is not new. There is a passage in the Bible where Jesus tells us in the Parable of the Shrewd Manager:
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Luke 16:10 NIV
So, the first point about daily routine we need to keep in mind is the following: Even if we don’t think it is true, our smallest actions matter and can make a big difference. Be aware of this in your day to day actions. Every conversation, every message, every decision about food, exercise, clothes, work, money, relationships – it all matters. Don’t ever think something your are doing cannot have an impact. I think we can agree that making your bed in the morning is from now on totally worth it. Give it a go. Be proud of every little task you accomplish. It will lead you to bigger things one day. Trust the process.
2. What You Do Every Day Matters More Than What You Do Once In a While
Secondly, I think the video has been so popular because a large number of people do not really look after their daily routine any more. They don’t see the importance in daily commitment and small steps. If you want to be able to stand your ground and fight the sharks (as explained in the video), you need to be ambitious and ready to accomplish your daily tasks. We may not have to face SEAL training or Hell Week, but we each have our own battles to fight and our own goals to reach. Daily routine is a key point to get there.
As Gretchen Rubin revealed as one of her Secrets of Adulthood: “What you do once every day matters more than what you do once in a while”. Click here to read her full article. This is so true and gets neglected so often. We all seem to prepare more for once in a while occasions, including our purchases, than for things we do every day. How many things do we often buy for certain occasions such as family get togethers and they only happen once a year? How often do we buy a new fancy dress we may need one day, but don’t replace our old running shoes we wear daily? Ask yourself: What is the cost per wear or use? If you do something daily and you are committed to it, isn’t it justified then to spend a bit more on it? But this is not just about money.
It is about how often we do things that we are passionate about. About how we divide our precious time. You are not a regular exerciser if you go to the gym for two hours every several weeks – even if you wish you were. If that is who you want to be, you need to make time for it in your daily routine. Whether we talk about exercising and eating habits, TV shows, reading, other hobbies or simply about the way we treat each other: What and whom we surround ourselves with daily will shape who we become in the future and which goals we will achieve. It is incredibly important. This leads to my third point.
3. What You Feed Your Mind With Is Who You Are
Do you zap through different TV shows at night, often just watching trash TV because nothing else is on? Do you scroll through your phone during family time, e.g. at dinner? What kind of books do you read? Which online sites do you browse? What movies do you watch? Do you go outdoors much?
It sounds simple, and it is. The things you see, hear, feel, eat and the people you spend your time with become who you are. They shape you. Continuously. That is why wee need to choose wisely. Are you surrounded by some people who constantly get your mood down? Do the things you watch and read help you grow, progress and learn? I get that we sometimes just need to relax, but why not relax with something we enjoy and can learn from instead of watching dumb famous people on TV? I think you get my point.
So today I want to encourage you to watch your daily routine closely, question yourself about it and ask yourself: Does this particular action reflect who I am? Who I want to be? Remember: Every small action matters. If you were watching yourself, would you like the person you are looking at? Does he/she seem productive to you? Driven? If not, ask yourself why these actions are part of your daily routine. If you feel like they don’t belong there anymore, don’t be afraid to change them or replace them. As long as you still make your bed in the morning 🙂