I hope you are fully recovered now and enjoying some early summer sunshine. After a thoroughly wet and chilly spring, the days are finally beginning to warm up here – happily, because it’s graduation season!
This is the time when commencement speakers share their advice with all those graduates about to embark on new adventures. One of my favorite addresses was given a few years ago by Admiral William H. McRaven – you might know of it. In it he shares some life-lessons he learned from Navy SEAL training, and while I’m not exactly the military type (!) I think it’s well worth listening to because much of what he says speaks to what our blog is all about: If you want to change the world, start with a small and simple act.
Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Vietnam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed. If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack.
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. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.
And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made — and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.
So, if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
Admiral William H. McRaven, Commencement Address,
University of Texas at Austin, 2014
Wise words for us all – especially for my own graduate-to-be!