Why you should make your bed

15 June 2019

In 2014 the University of Texas was lucky enough to have a very high profile speaker give the commencement address for their graduating class. Admiral William McRaven has enjoyed a very polished career in the US Military and it includes some very notable responsibilities. In his address, the Admiral outlines some simple steps to change the world, and his first point is to make your bed.

If you’re interested in hearing the full speech, you can watch it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxBQLFLei70

Admiral McRaven describes how in training to become a Navy SEAL, one of the things candidates must endure is room inspection, and that includes making your bed to a standard. In Damn Few by Rorke Denver, the logic behind this practise is revealed.

Special Operations house keepers

“We are not trying to create the world’s foremost force of special operations housekeepers” writes Denver. “We will not defeat global terrorism by out-vacuuming terrorists.” Denver goes on to explain that the reason that room inspections are so rigorously enforced is in order to impress upon the students a fundamental philosophy. Being successful in the SEAL community means going above and beyond the standard. The bare minimum allows you to get in the door to be evaluated, but by itself is inadequate. Success means sacrificing your own time and giving 100% when no one is watching. It starts with fully owning the responsibility of the footprint you leave on the world, then owning it for your team. It means putting in extra effort where others have fallen short. It involves contributing beyond what is “enough” to anything you benefit from. These are the practises that make the best in the world, the best in the world.

In a society with lightning fast internet, the skip the dishes app and a never ending supply of instagram models, we as human beings are so displaced from our center that we have become totally stripped of a need to feel responsible. How many times have you seen that meme on social media describing the hardest exercise in the world is simply putting your weights away?

 

A gym is a temple

Fitness is important to your overall health and well-being, that’s a fact. A gym is a place where you improve your fitness and therefore your overall health. By this definition, a gym should always be treated as a temple by all who use it. It should be treated as a sacred space that is revered and respected. Weights not put back, chalk left on the floor, equipment out of place should be considered unacceptable by all who use it. It should not be left to just the employees to fix. People should be holding themselves and each other accountable to contribute. I often tell my athletes that if you do something in life, why wouldn’t you model your approach after the very best?

Me vs. We

The truth is that we have not honoured our responsibility as human beings to each other. Modern technology has given us such a deluge of convenience that our egos have become overly inflated with expectation and entitlement. This causes us to feel no need to contribute to a collective need, only to our individual needs. We are living in a time where, energetically speaking, it is crucial that we learn to be the caretakers of each other. However this is not possible if we are unable to hold ourselves to a high standard. Strong individuals collectively make a strong society. So when we focus on our own convenience, we are only considering ourselves. But when we work at being stronger, sharper, fitter, smarter, faster, we benefit ourselves as well as those around us. A lot of people today are concerning themselves with social issues, and rightfully so. But I challenge those individuals to improve themselves in order to better contribute to a better society.

 

Start by making your bed

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